What if the software tools used (like GIS) do not meet accessibility guidelines?
There are some products that are not accessible and, wherever possible, it is suggested to replace them with accessible versions. GIS (Geographic Information System) is currently not an accessible product and the National Access Board has acknowledged the fact that it has become a universal tool and it's not accessible, but accepts it need and use. ESRI, a developer of GIS software, is currently working on the development of an accessible version.
What are some examples of visually appealing web sites that also meet accessibility guidelines?
I want my site to use enhanced graphics and visually stimulating features. How can I do this and still make it accessible?
Making your site accessible does not rule out the use of enhanced graphics and stimulating features. Using CSS (cascading style sheets) a website can include significant graphic interest while still maintaining accessibility standards.
Do I have to comply with the accessibility standard if I know the intended audience for the site does not include people with disabilities?
In most cases it is less costly to address the accessibility issues during initial development. As it cannot be known for certain that an individual with a disability will never access a web site it is best to address the compliance issues. Doing so may provide a simple means of compliance or development. There are some products that are not accessible and, wherever possible, it is suggested to replace them with accessible versions. GIS (Geographic Information System) is currently not an accessible product and the National Access Board has acknowledged the fact that it has become a universal tool and it's not accessible, but accepts its need and use. ESRI, a developer of GIS software, is currently working on the development of an accessible version.
How much will it cost to make my site accessible?
It depends on what changes are needed to the current site to achieve compliance. ITD will first determine the status of your site by doing an accessibility compliance check on your site using an accessibility tool such as Compliance Sheriff to determine the web site level of compliance. An estimate is then prepared based on the changes required. Dependent on the compliance information obtained from our testing, an estimate may be prepared for either an upgrade to the site keeping generally the same design or for a redesign of the site. Occasionally a re-design is the lower estimate due to the extensive work necessary to upgrade the existing html code.
Can ITD help me get this done, and how do I get it started?
Yes, we can help. ITD can work with your department to bring your current site to a level of compliance through an upgrade or a re-design. For assistance, your agency IT coordinator may use ITD's online Work Management System (WMS) to submit a "Software Dev/GIS/PM/QA" service request.
What do we need to do to get the site compliant?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 has three levels of compliance: Level I, Level II, and Level III. North Dakota State Government compliance requirement is level II. All priority I and II errors need to be resolved.
Can ITD check our site for accessibility and whom should I contact?
ITD uses HiSoftware's Compliance Sheriff and other tools. You can submit an online work request asking for an accessibility check of your agency site. More information about requesting accessibility testing is available on ITD's Compliance Sheriff FAQ.
How to determine if our site is ADA accessible?
There are several software validation tools that you may use to check the accessibility of a web site. ITD is currently using Compliance Sheriff by HiSoftware, a comprehensive web testing tool designed to help identify barriers to accessibility and encourage compliance with existing accessibility guidelines. HiSoftware's free tool, CynthiaSays, is also available. This free tool may be used to check individual pages of a site. To check the entire site at once, more complex tools must be purchased.
The results of the Compliance Sheriff tool are not intended for the inexperienced web developer. The interpreter will need strong HTML skills.
The web accessibility requirement is established by federal ADA and Section 508 law (Titles I & II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of Title IV of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (PL 105-220) and North Dakota Human Rights statute (NDCC § 14-02.4 (1999)) also defines as discriminatory any action that prevents individuals with disabilities from access to benefits enjoyed by any person. To reduce the risk of legal action against the state or a state agency, the state created a policy that set June 30, 2003 as the date for all existing state agency sites to be brought into compliance. See ITD's Standards and Guidelines for more information.