Web Accessibility at bv02
“Accessibility” is a concept and modern-day standard wherein all users should be able to access a website or mobile application’s content regardless of any disability they may have or the method by which they access the site or app. As part of our commitment to the community, and our legal obligations to comply with the Accessibility for Ontario with Disabilities Act (AODA), bv02 is dedicated to ensuring that our website and other digital channels are as accessible as possible. We follow best practice guidelines, as well as specific standards laid out in AODA and by the international community via the W3C Initiative, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
1. Accessibility Standards and Guidelines Definitions
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
WCAG 2.0 is an international industry standard that was developed in order to provide the web industry with a set of guidelines to follow for all web projects. Following these guidelines will help make web content accessible to a wider range of users with disabilities including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these conditions.
Websites that are created and maintained to comply with WCAG 2.0 guidelines make it easier for users, who require assistive devices such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, to access the content. WCAG 2.0 guidelines are often included in, or the basis for, web content portions of accessibility laws around the world including Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
More information about WCAG 2.0 can be found on their official website.
Accessibility for Ontario with Disabilities Act (AODA)
AODA is a law that was introduced in Ontario in 2005 which lays the framework for the development of mandatory accessibility standards across the province, in all areas of daily life. The accessibility standards cover five areas: customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and design of public spaces.
Websites and their content fall under “Information and communications.” Depending on the size and type of the organization, the government has set out deadlines for compliance for web content. Some organizations were required to start complying to WCAG 2.0 Level A guidelines by January 1, 2012. The end goal is for all websites and content to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines by 2021.
More information about AODA can be found on the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment website.
2. bv02 Accessibility Compliance
bv02 is committed to meeting our obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). For our company-owned websites this means conforming with Section 14 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards.
Section 14 states: “Designated public sector organizations and large organizations shall make their internet websites and web content conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, initially at Level A and increasing to Level AA.”
- January 1, 2014 for Level A
- January 1, 2021 for Level AA
The standard is now in force and applies to anything that was published on a website on or after January 1, 2012, including PDF files and web-based applications that an organization controls directly or through a contractual relationship that allows for modification of the product.
From a template perspective:
The bv02 website template is fully compliant with both Level A and Level AA. The key components of having an accessible website include:
- Presentation: does not rely on a single sensory characteristic (i.e. no Flash animation).
- Text: content is organized using <p> tags and a <title> tag that describes the topic/purpose.
- Colours: colours are easily distinguished, as is contrast ratio.
- Zooming: quality is not lost when resized to 200%.
- Keystroke functionality: the user needs to be able to easily navigate the site using keyboard strokes.
- Navigation menus and Functional components: repeating functions (i.e. navigation, search) that are on multiple pages appear in the same order.
From a content perspective:
Any new content bv02 has created meets AODA content standards. The key components of having accessible website content include:
- Non text: All non-text content has a text alternative.
- Lists: Lists, groups of links, or other listable items are listed using <ol>, <ul>, or <dl>.
- Paste from plain text: Web content can be perceived easily when reading top to bottom in the source code.
- Images: Text is used to convey information rather than images of text if it is at all possible.
- Links: All links describe its purpose accurately by itself or within the context of the links.
- Headings: Headings are used properly in a hierarchical fashion, and describe the topic accurately.
- Plain language: Paragraphs and sentences are short and written in plain, concise language.
3. Accessibility Tools and References
The following are just a few references that provide background information on Accessibility guidelines, as well as some tools for making your website more accessible.
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
- W3C Accessibility
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (choose Level AA Success Criteria)
- Creating accessible PDF’s (WebAIM site)
- Creating accessible Word files (Microsoft site)
- Creating accessible PowerPoint files (Microsoft site)
- Creating accessible Excel files (Microsoft site)
- Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project
- Edit YouTube captions (YouTube help site)
- Accessibility tools (see sidebar area)
- Government of Ontario’s AODA Accessibility Compliance Wizard (Government of Ontario site)
- Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WebAIM site)
- Accessibility for Web writers from 4Syllables
- Why Your Links Should Never Say “Click Here”
- Low Vision Simulator (NoCoffee app)