Electronic and IT Accessibility Standards
Both the US Section 508 Standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) provide criteria towards making electronic and information technology (EIT) more accessible. Districts and colleges are encouraged to use these accessibility standards in developing board policies and administrative procedures.
At this time, the Section 508 standards are undergoing a “refresh” to update and harmonize these standards with other internationally accepted criteria. As part of this “refresh”, it is recommended to use the WCAG 2.0, Level AA criteria in place of the Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22) standards.
Section 508 Standards
The Section 508 Standards applies to electronic and information technology procured by the Federal government. California has adopted the accessibility requirements of the Section 508 Standards via California Government Code 11135.
The Section 508 standards identify technology requirements for six different types of electronic and information technology:
- Software Applications and Operating Systems (1194.21)
- Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications (1194.22)
- Telecommunications Products (1194.23)
- Video and Multimedia Products (1194.24)
- Self Contained, Closed Products (1194.25)
- Desktop and Portable Computers (1194.26)
WCAG 2.0 provides information on how to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. The WCAG 2.0 documentation is organized around four principles for Web accessibility, called POUR:
These four principles provide the framework for guidelines, success criteria, and sufficient and advisory techniques. These additional informational components work in concert to provide guidance and direction for ensuring Web content is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Three levels of conformance identify the extent by which Web content may be accessible - A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). Colleges should adhere to the AA level - WCAG 2.0, AA - for their college or district web standards.