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Thread: Web-AIM standards draft


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From: Paul Bohman
Date: Wed, Mar 22 2000 12:58AM
Subject: Web-AIM standards draft
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We have been revising the accessibility standards at Web-AIM and we would
like your input. The proposed Web-AIM standard is included in this email for
your convenience, but I will first give some background:
The original standards were going to be included in Utah State University's
Web page requirements, and were unofficially approved for that purpose, but
then the U.S.U. webmaster quit, which put the process on hold. This has
given us some extra time to look over our proposed standard and make some
The Web-AIM standard relies heavily on the W3C accessibility guidelines (see
www.w3.org/wai), with a few features added which are somewhat more specific
to educational settings. The Web-AIM standard does not seek to replace the
W3C guidelines. Instead, it seeks to specify which ones should be required
as a standard of accessibility, with the added asccountability at the
You will notice that we have not spelled out each of the W3C guidelines.
What I have included here is the abbreviated version of the standards. We
will draft a complete version based upon the abbreviated one, as soon as we
are sure that we are satisfied that the abbreviated version accurately
represents our intentions.
The standard itself is one sentence. After this there are definitions of the
terms in that sentence to clarify its interpretation.
I have a couple more comments, but I will put them at the end of this
message. Some of you may prefer to read the standard on the Web page itself.
If so, go to http://www.webaim.org/standards. So, without further
introduction, here is our proposed standard:
for Web Accessibility and Universality:
A proposed standard for postsecondary education settings

The Standard:
In order for a Web site to be Web-AIM approved, all of its Web content must
be accessible to individuals with or without disabilities.

No part or function of the Web content shall be excluded from being
accessible to individuals with disabilities unless there is a compelling and
legally justifiable reason to do so.
Web content:
All of the information, resources, courses, and functionality of the
institution's Web site(s) shall be accessible. This includes any Web
"pages", and scripted or programmed content such as online registration
programs, tutorials, email access, etc.
1. Individuals with disabilities must be able to access Web content either
with standard technologies or with appropriate assistive technologies.
2. The Web content itself must be directly accessible to individuals with
disabilities, rather than available only in alternative formats, such as
paper, Braille, audio tapes, etc., unless there is a compelling and legally
justifiable reason to do otherwise.
3. Content must adhere to the 14 accessibility guidelines described by the
Web Accessibility Initiative (W.A.I.) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
such that the pages meet ALL Priority 1 and Priority 2 checkpoints as well
as the following Priority 3 checkpoints: 4.2, 4.3, 5.5, 9.4, 13.6, 13.10,
and 14.3.
4. Web-based instruction should allow for different learning styles and/or
disabilities by utilizing more than one instructional approach and/or mode
of presentation (e.g. text with graphics, audio or video) whenever
possible-especially if direct student-instructor interaction is minimal.
5. All Web-based instructional content, including any necessary
accommodations, should be made available to students with disabilities at
the same time that the content is made available to students without
Individuals with disabilities:
This includes individuals with impaired vision, hearing, voice, cognition,
or musculoneural functions (e.g. seizures, impaired dexterity in the hands,
limbs, and/or other parts of the body).
That's the end of the abbreviated version of our proposed standard. We will
spell out more details in the complete version, but I think it is useful to
have the brief version for simplicity's sake.
Something to keep in mind when giving feedback: all institutions receiving
federal funds will be required by the Rehabilitation Act to comply with the
Priority 1 and 2 of the W3C recommendations. We have added a few of the
Priority 3 items that we thought were important and/or easy to implement.
The feedback that would be most valuable to us right now is with numbers 1,
2, 4, and 5 of in our definition of "accessible," but feel free to comment
on any or all of it.
For those of you at Utah State University, remember that this draft is the
precursor to the requirements that the university will enforce, so now is
THE TIME to give your input.
Paul Bohman