What is Web Accessibility?
An accessible Web site is one that is usable by all people, without regard to the way in which the user accesses the site. This goes beyond the realm of disability alone: an accessible Web site is usable by any browser, by any technology, and by any user. In terms of accessibility to persons with disabilities, this means the Web site must be accessible to all people, and much more than vision disabilities must be considered.
Accessible Design Features
Text sizes are relative so the user has the ability to increase or decrease all text sizes according to individual preferences or needs:
IE users: select View > Text Size
Netscape users: select View > Text Zoom
Firefox users: select View > Text Size
Opera users: select View > Zoom
All informational images use <ALT> text (text equivalents). Images used for design and/or layout are called from the style sheets or contain a null <ALT> attribute, helping to ensure maximum efficiency for those using screen readers and/or those who have images disabled or are using text browsers.
A "Skip Navigation" link is located at the beginning of each page to enable those using screen readers or text browsers to skip navigation and jump directly to each page's content.
HTML headings are used properly, enabling users to more easily identify how content is organized on each page. A consistent approach to headings and layout makes the site accessible to users with learning or cognitive disabilities, and correct use of HTML heading tags makes navigation easy for users employing screen readers.
All form controls are properly labeled to ensure compatibility with assistive devices. Additionally, controls and navigation links are designed to be usable by those with motor disabilities or difficulty using a mouse: controls are large, and spaced far from each other, and links are always separated by non-linking text.
Advanced CSS completely separates content from design, and images are kept to a minimum. This has several benefits including: faster page load, efficient Web site maintenance, and compatibility with assistive devices such as screen readers.
An alternative style sheet for printer friendly pages is available for all files. Select File > Print Preview.
All pages are 100% XHTML compliant. By abiding by current published standards for web development, the site maximizes its compatibility with assistive technologies, and well as backwards compatibility with older devices or browsers.
Colour and Contrast
We have tried to use combinations of colours that provide sufficient contrast between foreground and background across the sites. If any color poses a problem, please let us know.
To change foreground and background colours on the Web page:
IE users, select Tools >Internet Options >General dialog page, and the colours button. Check the dialog boxes to set individual preferences.
Netscape users, select ALT + E for Edit, then the UP Arrow or "E" for Preferences. Press Enter, then SHIFT+ TAB for Preferences Navigation, then use the UP Arrow once for colours and twice for fonts. Within the colours and fonts selection boxes, press Tab to navigate among the choices, and use the Space Bar to select them. Press Enter to save your choices.
Firefox users, select Tools >Options, >Content, and the colours button. Check the dialog boxes to set individual preferences.
The information in the charts below will help you navigate through our Web pages without a mouse.
Caution: Some selections may not work with every Internet browser. For example, if you use Netscape 4.08, we know you can't use the arrow key to select radio buttons.
IF you want to... THEN select...
Move forward from link to link or to controls Tab
Move backward from link to link or to controls Shift + Tab
Select buttons Space Bar
Navigate and select Radio Buttons Arrow
Select/deselect boxes Spacebar
Move from box to box Tab
Open a List Box ALT + Down arrow
Read the prior screen CTRL + Page Up
Read the next screen CTRL + Page Down
Go to the top of the page CTRL + Home
Go to the bottom of the page CTRL + End
Close the current window (in Internet Explorer) CTRL + W
Refresh the screen F5
Go back a page ALT + Left Arrow
Go forward a page ALT + Right Arrow
Navigate to & select the text in the address combo box ALT + D
Accessibility of Adobe PDF Files
Adobe provides online conversion tools to help visually disabled users read PDF documents. They convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text, which can then be read by a number of common screen reader programs.
Visit the Adobe Web site for more information on how to make .pdf files more accessible to people with disabilities.