Our state websites are a key communication tool with our residents and are more often than not, the first place residents will go for government information. Just as accessible ramps are required for persons in wheelchairs, but also make it easier for parents with strollers access to a local office, websites that are accessible allow easier access to every citizen to connect to state government, no matter what their reason.
California’s AB 434 requires departments by July 1, 2019 to post on their website a certification on their state entity website’s accessibility. All state entity websites have been expected to meet the latest federal Accessibility Guidelines — AB 434 does not change that.
State entities, and any contractors working for them, are responsible for ensuring that their state entity’s public websites are accessible to the general public. State entities are to align with Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA Standards in addition to the requirements of Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d).
The following tools and resources will provide departments with the ability to start and keep making government websites accessible to all.
- Web Accessibility Policy 2018 Includes Technology Letter (TL), SAM 4833, Template Certificate Form
- Toolkit Includes assessment forms, tools and tips for testing, creating content, and other resources from Department of Rehabilitation and more.
- WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standards
- Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d)
- Assembly Bill – AB 434
State websites must meet both the web accessibility standards in California Government Code 11135, which adopted the Section 508 Technical Standards (SubPart B) issued by the United States Access Board, and the Priority 1 and 2 level checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0 “AA” Conformance Level) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In addition, federal courts have already begun to enforce WCAG 2.0 standards. It is highly recommended that state agencies adhere to WCAG 2.0 AA Guidelines and Success Criteria well to avoid legal ramifications, not only for the web but also for web applications, software, and documents. WCAG 2.0 Accessibility is organized under 4 principles:
Perceivable: Provide text alternatives for non-text content. Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia. Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning. Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
Operable: Make all functionality available from a keyboard. Give users enough time to read and use content. Do not use content that causes seizures. Help users navigate and find content.
Understandable: Make text readable and understandable. Make content appear and operate in predictable ways Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
Robust: Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools These additions increase the level of accessibility and empowerment to your audience to create fully accessible websites and documents for the enjoyment of all. State Agency Web page developers, designers, programmers, and content providers must become familiar with the standards and guidelines for achieving universal Web accessibility and must apply these principles.