What is Accessibility and why should we care?
A quick review from our previous post mentions that Accessibility is the usability of a product, service, environment, of facility by people with the widest range of capabilities.
In 2008, the Australian Government has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which specifically recognizes access to information, communication and services is a human right.
If we look on into the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992, it states that Australian Government agencies are required to ensure information and services are provided in a non-discriminatory accessible manner. This means that people with disabilities should have the same fundamental rights to access information and services as others in the community.
Requirement and Timeline
In November 2009, the Online and Communication Council (OCC) adopted Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) version 2.0, which is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for Accessibility, requiring:
All Australian state and territory government websites to conform to the guideline to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A by December 2012.
All Australian Government, Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), agencies to conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard by December 2014.
Agencies must seek approval form the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) to opt-out from this arrangement, as detailed in the NTS, if they are not able to conform to WCAG 2.0 within the approved timeframe or at required conformance level.
For reporting, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), within Finance, will provide advice to agencies on the reporting requirements as appropriate and agencies are required to report to Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board (SIGB) and OCC regularly, through Finance, on their progress to WCAG 2.0 conformance in line with the National Transition Strategy (NTS).
An agency must satisfy all 5 conformance requirements in order for their Web page to conform to WCAG2.0 standard.
- One of the following Conformance Level is met.
- Level A – is the minimum level of conformance. Satisfies all Level A or a conforming alternate version is provided.
- Level AA – satisfies all Level A conformance requirements and Level AA Success Criteria or Level AA conforming alternate version is provided.
- Level AAA – satisfies all Level A and Level AA conformance requirements and Level AAA Success Criteria or Level AAA conforming alternate version is provided.
- Full Page Conformance
- Complete Process
- Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies