This page is design to inform you about Accessibility, and provide you with the tools and resources you may need.
Below, you will find an overview of what the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is and the main areas of the Website Content and Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) - requirements of an accessible website.
In the menu located on the right (or at the bottom if on a mobile device), you can find information on Training (through Learning & Development Programs & Services) and useful links to further your understanding on Accessibility.
In 2005 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law. The purpose of this Act is to ensure that we continuously work toward the goal of complete accessibility for everyone by 2025.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a law that sets out a process for developing and enforcing accessibility standards.1 The AODA ensures that all Ontarians have fair and equitable access to programs and services and to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities. Under the Information and Communication section of the act there are requirements that websites must meet to be considered AODA compliant.
The AODA Website Content and Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) explains how companies can achieve a website that is accessible to all, regardless of any physical disability they may have.2 The main areas of WCAG include the following:2
- Text Alternatives: for non-text sections, provide alternatives such as larger font, simpler language, symbols or audio descriptions.
- Time-based Media: if you have video content, provide audio-only versions. For audio commentary, provide a text back-up.
- Adaptable: ensure the website adapts to the user’s capabilities. This can be achieved by presenting the information in a simpler layout while retaining the same content and structure.
- Distinguishable: don’t use a font size lower than 14 points and provide good contrast between the text and background for easier reading. Avoid fancy fonts that might make reading difficult, and make links and controls highly visible.
- Keyboard Accessible: your website must be operable using a keyboard alone. This is very important for users with reduced motor skills who struggle to manoeuvre a mouse accurately.
- Enough Time: rotating banners and images may look nice but can be problematic for those with reading disabilities. Allow users to delay the time on this feature, or turn it off completely by simply clicking a button.
- Seizures: any flashy element that can cause seizures is not allowed. If you want flashing areas, make them small and ensure the flash frequency is less than three per second. Your visitors need to be safe on your site.
- Navigable: the navigation of your website should be logical and simple. Make links stand out and reduce the number on any one page to ensure the user doesn’t feel lost in a maze. They need to intuitively find their way to the information they are seeking.
- Readable: use common and easily understood language. Avoid foreign phrases or complicated paragraphs. Break up chunks of text with bullet points and underlined headers. Avoid placing text over patterned backgrounds which makes it much harder to read.
- Predictable: your website should behave predictably. Always keep your navigation bar in the same place and if a link will open a new window, users should be notified in advance.
- Input Assistance: when a user needs to complete a form, make it simple for them. Provide guidance on how to complete each section. If a field is completed incorrectly give feedback and inform the user how to correct the error.
- Compatibility: your website must be compatible with assistive technology equipment, such as screen readers and assistive software which might be used by people with disabilities.
With the University's new website using the Drupal operating system, many of these requirements are made easy for users updating pages or personal sites within the main site, as there are limitations with font style/size, colours,etc. If you do require any assistance from the web and graphics team to ensure that your page/personal internal site is AODA compliant, email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would be more than happy to help you out.
1. "About Accessibility Laws", published: June 3, 2015 - updated: October 19, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/page/about-accessibility-laws/
2. "The Impact of AODA on your website", retrieved: January 8, 2017, https://www.newdesigngroup.ca/website-design/impact-aoda-website/