Website Accessibility

We as a campus want to build a more inclusive online experience by making access easier. To that end, we follow several guidelines regarding web accessibility and accessibility policy, law, compliance, benefits and resources.

Policy and Law

Purdue's official policy for electronic communication, which includes websites, states that all websites must be in compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 with a minimum Level AA conformity. According to a ruling by the United States Access Board, all entities that sell to or receive funding from a federal agency must also be in compliance with WCAG 2.0. This requirement went into effect January 18, 2018.

Compliance and Accessibility

It is important to note that there is a distinction between compliance with the law and accessibility.

The rules lay out a minimum standard of compliance. A commitment to accessibility improves the web experience for all users.

For example, say a person is typing a document using an application that allows printing but doesn't allow for saving progress. That would mean the person must complete their work in one sitting, which renders the software usable but inconvenient. It offers a poor experience.

We don't want to create a document application that doesn't save, and we don't want to create a website that is difficult to use for any visitor.

Benefits

Improved accessibility helps people with impairments by:

  • Allowing them equal access to information on the website.
  • Allowing them to participate in and contribute to online discussions.

Any accessibility improvement, however, benefits all website users, not only those with impairments. Examples of improved accessibility that helps all web visitors include:

  • Providing structured content, including clearly-marked headings and labels.
  • Providing text instead of images of text can decrease page load times.
  • Improving readability by increasing contrast between text and backgrounds.
  • Organizing data in tables and charts using good descriptions and labels.
  • Including video transcripts to make content useful even in environments where sound may be an issue.
  • Users who inconsistently use a computer, and therefore a mouse and/or keyboard, benefit from having larger, clickable elements.

Resources

There are resources for learning about accessibility and evaluating existing content. These include: