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Universal Web Site Accessibility Policy for State Web Sites -
Policy | Design Guidelines | Checklist
| Additional References
It is the policy of the State of Connecticut that information and services on
Connecticut State Government Web Sites are/be designed to be accessible to
people with disabilities. It is the 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 the latest statistics available 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 people who were legally blind, and
twice that number who were visually impaired. Additionally, there are estimated
to be 25,000 people who are profoundly deaf and 175,000 people who are hard of
hearing in Connecticut.
The use of the guidelines below will ensure that web sites created by the
State of Connecticut are developed to serve the largest possible audience.
Compliance with these guidelines provides an added benefit to those users with
text-based browsers, low-end processors, slow modem connections and/or no
multi-media capabilities on their computer. It also allows for access to
Connecticut web sites by new technologies, such as WebTV, internet phones, and
personal organizers with internet connectivity.
This policy provides a set of established guidelines adopted by the the State
of Connecticut and a checklist of design requirements
which provides a quick reference for numerous design issues. Additional
references can be found on the State of Connecticut Accessibility Web Site at http://www.cmac.state.ct.us/access/resources.html.
The ConneCT Management Advisory Committee (CMAC) has adopted the Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 W3C
Recommendation 5-May-1999 (WCAG) as the primary guideline to meet the
objectives of the Universal Accessibility for State Web Sites policy.
These guidelines explain how and why to make Web content accessible to people
with disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all Web content developers
(page authors and site designers) and for developers using authoring tools. The
primary goal of these guidelines is to promote accessibility. However, following
them will also make Web content more available to all users, whatever
user agent they are using (e.g., desktop browser, voice browser, mobile phone,
automobile-based personal computer, etc.) or constraints they may be operating
under (e.g., noisy surroundings, under- or over-illuminated rooms, in a
hands-busy environment, etc.). Following these guidelines will also help people
find information on the Web more quickly. These guidelines do not discourage
content developers from using images, video, etc., but rather explain how to
make multimedia content more accessible to a wide audience.
To comply with this policy, agencies must be able to demonstrate two
- that they have achieved WCAG Conformance Level "A" which
means that all Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied
- that they have successfully addressed all the items in the CMAC
Checklist of Design Requirements
Agency webmasters are encouraged, but not required at this time, to achieve
WCAG Conformance Level "AA". The full checklist of Checkpoints
for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505/full-checklist.html
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Checklist of Design Requirements (Checklist
Revised: June, 2000)
The following checklist list has been compiled from various sources. Some of
the items in this checklist are categorized as Priority 2 checkpoints in the
WCAG. The purpose of this list is to provide a summary of the types of
issues to consider when creating and designing accessible HTML pages. Please
note that not all of the requirements are yet supported by all browsers, but the
rendering of your page in current browsers will not be adversely affected by
- Include a document
type declaration (DOCTYPE) in your web pages. This declares what
version of HTML you are using in your documents, and assists the browser in
rendering your pages correctly.
- Maintain a standard page layout and navigation method throughout the web
- Use headings, lists, and consistent structure.
- Avoid the unnecessary use of icons, graphics and photographs.
- Use plain backgrounds and simple layouts to improve the readability of
- Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide
sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when
viewed on a black and white screen.
- Provide a text-only index or site map of your site.
- Include textual as well as graphical navigation aids.
- Do not abbreviate dates; for example, use December 1, 2000 rather than
- Ensure that dynamic content is accessible or provide an alternative
presentation or page.
- Until user agents allow users to freeze moving content, avoid movement in
- Test your web pages with a variety of web technologies; including ,but not
limited to, graphical browsers with the images turned off, browsers with
using assistive technology.
- Avoid the use of HTML tags or extensions which are supported by only one
- Check web pages and images at different monitor resolutions, monitor sizes
and color depth settings.
- Hyperlinks to downloadable files should include a text description that
includes the file size and file type.
- You may 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. Keep in mind,
however, this option requires considerable resources and discipline to keep
the two versions of the content in sync.
- End all sentences, headers, list items, etc. with a period or other
- Avoid using side by side presentation of text, for example, columns and
- 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 wherever
- Avoid/Limit the use of bitmap images of text, unless a textual alternative
is also provided.
- 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, don't use short
hand, e.g. "click here"; instead "Follow this link to our
News Page". (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
(Portable Document Format) , etc.) provide the equivalent text in plain text
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 attribute with image tags to provide associated, meaningful,
text for all images, pictures and graphical bullets.
- Consider using the "longdesc" attribute of the IMG tag to
specify a link to a long description of the image. This description should
supplement the short description provided using the ALT attribute. When the
image has an associated image map, this attribute should provide information
about the image map's contents. This is particularly important for
server-side image maps.
- 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.
Scripts, applets and plug-ins
- Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or
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This section has been moved to the Resources Page
of the State of Connecticut Web Site Accessibility site.