LibPress Accessibility Module

This module is intended to help LibPress site managers both create accessible new content for their sites as well as help them remediate existing content.

Introduction to B.C.’s accessibility plan

The Government of British Columbia is working towards being an inclusive province. There are over 926,000 people with disability in B.C. In June 2021, the Accessible B.C. Act became law. It provides a framework to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility. The new law is an important step to make B.C. a more accessible province.

Read more about BC’s accessibility plan and the Accessible BC Act.

LibPress is preparing for the Act by ensuring our systems adhere to the defined standards, as well as developing resources to support LibPress site managers.

Approaching accessibility

Usability is a design term that describes the ease of interaction on a website; sometimes this may be used interchangeably with Universal Design. However, approaches to digital content design have developed to include accessibility–or the ease of every interaction for someone with a disability; this might be called Inclusive Design. The current model is an Equity-Focused Design: creating and designing content so everyone has access to the information.

To begin, consider the diversity among your audiences:

  • a variety of literacy levels and comprehension
  • issues pertaining to age (such as font choices, or mobility issues)
  • race (inclusivity and representation in photos)
  • culture (use of western-developed icon and imagery that are not broadly understood in other cultures)

Learn about different disabilities.

The pages in this module will help you with guidelines, tips, and links to further resources to help site managers and library staff create accessible digital content to ensure that everyone can access the information.

Assistive Technologies

Next, consider examples of Assistive Technologies that are used by your audiences to navigate the content on your website:

  • Colour modification
  • Voice controlled switches
  • Screen readers
  • Puff tools for mobility
  • Alternative text sources or “alt text” – a text-based interface that also allows for low band-width usage.

Learn about the different assistive technologies library staff, and patrons use.

Understand the different assistive technologies that exist and how they work with web content and code:

  • Code includes HTML5 (hypertext markup language) standards that describe semantic markup language that allows for navigational information with reader assistive technology. Library staff creating content should have an awareness of this level of code.
  • Application of CSS (cascading stylesheets) is also necessary, for those persons where a reader is not an interface and display improves the reading experience. LibPress development is responsible for this level of design.

Achieving Digital Accessibility

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What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to full access to digital content, which enables all people to participate regardless of disability. Digital accessibility is more than just the assistive technology people use to access digital content. It’s about the content itself.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) was developed y the World Wide Web Consortium W3C process, in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally. The goal is to  provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the international needs of individuals, organizations, and governments. Even though WCAG is a voluntary guideline, it has been embedded into many legislations making it a required standard.

The WCAG documentation explains how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • Natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • Code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, etc.

Understanding the Four Principles of Accessibility

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Quick Reference

Perceivable: the information is presented to users in ways that they can perceive it. The standards in this section include guidelines such as:

  • Provide captions for prerecorded and live audio content (videos, podcasts, etc.) (WCAG 1.2.2 and 1.2.4)
  • Don’t use colour alone to convey meaning (WCAG 1.4.1)
  • Images of text are only used when absolutely necessary (or for decoration only) (WCAG 1.4.9)

Operable: the interface and navigation of digital content are operable for all. This section includes standards such as:

  • Users should be able to navigate to all content using only their keyboard (WCAG 2.1.1)
  • Do not include time limits on/in your digital technologies (WCAG 2.2.3)
  • Your website does not have anything that flashes more than three times quickly (WCAG 2.3.2)
  • Each of your web pages has unique and descriptive titles (WCAG 2.4.2)

Understandable: ensure that the content and functions of your site are understandable by all users. This includes:

  • Identify any unusual words, such as jargon and idioms, in your site that users may not be familiar with (in the text, linking to a definition, etc.) (WCAG 3.1.3)
  • Consistently identify items that have the same functionality on your site (for example, your search function is labelled consistently across your site) (WCAG 3.2.4)
  • Provide instructions for content that users can interact with (like a web form) (WCAG 3.3.2)

Robust: your site must be robust enough that different users and technologies (like assistive technologies) can understand it. This section includes:

  • Create your website using well-structured HTML (for example, correct start/end tags and they are nested correctly) (WCAG 4.1.1)

More resources

LibPress notes

  • This module will refer to issues related to general usability, in addition to accessibility concerns.
  • The principle Understandable will be covered under the section: Content Creation
  • The principles Operable and Robust will generally be covered under the section: Designing the Page with Code
  • The principle Perceivable will be covered under the section: Accessible Images and Alt Text.
  • WCAG 2.1 AA, the recommended level of accessibility guideline adherence for government organizations, includes many elements that are at the web development level, and this will be handled by the LibPress Web Developer.