Policy | About |
Status Reports | Meetings |
Listserv | Resources |
Tools | Tutorials
| Forms | News
| Search | Site Map
Universal Website Accessibility Policy for State Websites - Version
Please note that this policy was revised in July of 2000 - the current
version can be found here: http://www.cmac.state.ct.us/access/policies/accesspolicy40.html
Policy | Design Guidelines | Checklist
| Additional References
It is the policy of the State of Connecticut to ensure that people with
hearing, visual and other disabilities have equal access to public information
that is available on the Internet and the World Wide Web. It is the direct
responsibility of the agency and its web page developers to become familiar with
the guidelines for achieving universal accessibility and to apply these
principles in designing and creating any official State of Connecticut Website.
According to 1992 statistics from the Bureau of the Census, there are 9.7
million people in the United States who have difficulty seeing the words and
letters in ordinary newsprint, equal to 5.0% of the total population. Another
10.9 million people, or nearly 6% of the total population, have difficulty
hearing what is said in an ordinary conversation with another person. In 1995,
Connecticut had an estimated 35,000 legally blind persons and twice that number
who are visually impaired. Additionally, there are estimated to be 25,000
profoundly deaf and 175,000 hearing impaired persons in Connecticut.
The use of the guidelines below will ensure that websites created by the
State of Connecticut are developed to serve the largest possible audience.
Following these guidelines will also provide an added benefit to those users
with text-based browsers, slow(er) modem connections and/or no multi-media
capabilities on their computer.
This policy provides a set of established guidelines adopted by the ConneCT
Management Advisory Committee (CMAC), a checklist of design considerations
and additional references. The checklist provides a quick reference for numerous
design issues. Additional references are provided for those who wish to gain a
broader understanding of disability and accessibility issues.
The ConneCT Management Advisory Committee (CMAC) has adopted the "Design
of HTML Pages to Increase their Accessibility to Users with Disabilities"
as the primary guideline to meet the objectives of the Universal Accessibility
for State Websites policy. These published guidelines are maintained online by
professionals employed in the area of assistive and adaptive technology at the
University of Wisconsin's Trace
Research and Development Center. The guidelines are located on the World
Wide Web at Universal Resource Locator address:
This dynamic reference will provide Connecticutís website developers with
access to current design issues and the recommended solutions of experts as the
technology continues to change.
Paper copies of the guidelines may be requested from the following address:
Trace Research and Development Center
S-151 Waisman Center
1500 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 263-1156
The development of these guidelines is sponsored by the National Institute
for Disability Related Research (NIDRR), Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitation Services (OSERS), U.S. Department of Education and in cooperation
with the NCSA Mosaic Access Project.
Top of Page
Checklist of Design Considerations (Checklist
Revised: January, 1997)
The following list has been compiled from various sources. The purpose of
this list is to provide a summary of the types of issues to consider when
creating and designing accessible HTML pages.
- Maintain a standard page layout throughout the site.
- Avoid the unnecessary use of icons, graphics and photographs.
- Use plain backgrounds and simple layouts to improve the readability of
- Provide a text-only index of your site.
- Include textual as well as graphical navigation aids.
- Do not abbreviate dates; e.g., use December 1, 1996 rather than 12/1/96.
- Test your web pages with a variety of web browsers; including graphical
browsers with the images turned off and a text based browser, if possible.
- Avoid/Limit the use of HTML tags or extensions which are supported by only
- Check images at different resolutions and color depths.
- Hyperlinks to downloadable files should include a text description that
includes the file size and file type.
- Consider the development of a text-only version of the document or site to
facilitate access not only by people with visual impairments, but users of
non-graphical browsers or slow Internet connections.
- End all sentences, headers, list items, etc. with a period or other
- Avoid/Limit using side by side presentation of text, e.g., columns and
tables; Consider using preformatted text which is available in all versions
of HTML and can be displayed with all type of browsers.
- Provide alternate versions of forms; Alternatives might include a simple
list or paragraph of what is needed to submit a form entry and then provide
a link to a mailto: feature or simply an appropriate e-mail address to send
- Minimize the number of hyperlinks that appear in a single line of text -
one hyperlink is best; consider using vertical lists for links
- Avoid/Limit the use of bitmap images of text.
- Consider beginning lists with a descriptive identifier and the number of
items so the users will have an idea of what the list represents and the
total length of the list. Using numbers instead of bullets will also help
the user to remember items that interest them.
- Provide meaningful and descriptive text for hyperlinks, donít use short
hand, e.g. "click here". (Screen readers can search specifically
for linked text, "click here" provides no indication of where the
link will take them.) If documents are provided in a specialized format
(e.g. PDF, etc.) provide the equivalent text in ASCII or HTML format.
Graphics and Images
- Keep the number of colors in your images to a minimum.
- Minimize the file size and number of images you display on any one page.
- Design your background image at the lowest color depth and resolution you
- Ensure that text can always be clearly read at any location against the
- Avoid/Limit using image maps; provide an alternate text-based method of
selecting options when image maps are used, e.g., separate HTML page or menu
- Use the [ALT] option within image tags to provide associated text for all
images, pictures and graphical bullets.
- Consider using described images: provide a hyperlink (the capital letter D
is being used at various sites) to a short paragraph describing the image.
- If image files are used for graphical bullets in place of standard HTML,
it is best to use a bullet character like an asterisk " * " or
"o" in the ALT = text field of the <IMG> tag (rather than
describing the bullet as: "This is a small purple square").
- Provide text transcriptions of all video clips.
- If possible include captions or text tracts with a description or sounds
of the movie.
- Provide descriptive passages about speakers and events being shown through
- Give a written description of any critical information that is contained
in audio files contained on your website.
- If you link to an audio file, inform the user of the audio file format and
file size in kilobytes.
Top of Page
The following are provided as references for Universal Website Accessibility
Designing Accessible HTML Pages
Alternative Access Systems
- Access.Adobe.Com is a tool that
allows blind and visually impaired users to read any document in Adobe PDF
format. The tool converts PDF documents into simple HTML or ASCII text which
can then be read by a number of common screen reading programs that
synthesize the HTML as audible speech.
- HTML to ICADD (International Committee for Accessible Document Design)
Transformation Service sponsored by the University of California at Los
- University of Toronto's Adaptive
Technology Resource Centre provides several product listings such as
Screen Reader, Voice Recognition System, Alternative Keyboard System, Screen
Magnification, and Refreshable Braille Display.