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Web Accessibility

On September 30, 1999, the New York State Office for Technology, issued Technology Policy 99-3, Universal Accessibility for NYS Web Sites. The policy requires all New York State agencies, which includes FIT, to provide universally accessible Web sites to enable persons with disabilities to access the sites, especially those with visual disabilities who use screen readers to navigate the web.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that U.S. programs and services be accessible to individuals with disabilities. A†1996 Department of Justice ruling†makes it clear that ADA accessibility requirements apply to internet resources.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility removes barriers to electronic information and technology. Accessibility focuses on all users, including those who use assistive technology, such as screen readers. Web Accessibility is making sure a pageís code is written in a way to be as clear as possible to someone who may be listening to the page rather than reading it.

Web Accessibility also addresses other challenges, such as audio captioning for those with hearing disabilities.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops and maintains the protocols used on the web to insure interoperability to promote universal access. The†W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has proposed guidelines for all web authors.

FIT's Commitment to Web Accessibility

The Web Communications team works diligently to ensure the ADA accessibility of the FIT website. The site is programmed in such a way that utilizes CSS and style sheets which allow for separation of text from presentation so that the text can be reformatted for different devices including screen readers. The site uses Flash very minimally and only for non-essential/decorative content. The content management system prompts content creators to supply text equivalents to non-text elements such as pictures and graphics. The college is working to provide text alternatives to video content.

Some Best Practices for FIT Web Editors

  • Label all images with alt tags
  • Use consistent navigation
  • Choose colors and contrast wisely
  • Label form fields
  • Donít rely on Javascript, Flash, or interactive content
  • Use PDF files wisely (donít make them too large)
  • Caption video and transcribe audio
  • Make link text descriptive so that it can be understood out of context
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