8 Setting Accessibility Standards

Each post-secondary institution sets its standard of digital accessibility independently. You could aim for legal  compliance  (WCAG 2.0 Level AA for public websites) or could adopt a more accessible standard. Regardless of what standard of accessibility you adopt, communicate that standard internally. While there are a number of resources and guidelines on digital accessibility, remember that an accessible product is one that your staff and students can use.

Resources to Consider when Setting Specifications

It may seem daunting to set digital accessibility specifications, but don’t worry. In short, answer two questions: What is your standard of accessibility? And what technology does that standard apply to (e.g. websites; desktop applications; hardware).

Here are some considerations when setting your specifications:

  • It is essential to understand the legislative requirements when establishing your standards. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, is the minimum standard required in Ontario. While this requirement only applies to publicly available websites, institutions could adopt a more accessible standard or apply the standard to more technology.
  • The legal requirements may change in the future. A standards development committee recommended adopting a set of Functional Accessibility Requirements (FARs) as the standard of accessibility under Ontario law. These recommendations would apply to all technology that uses the internet to function. See the Legal Requirements page for more information.
  • Specifications for web-based solutions typically include WCAG as a resource to meet an expected inclusive experience, complemented by an understanding of  inclusive design principles, technology barriers, and common accessibility personas. Consider what level of WCAG you want to strive for. See the International Standards page for more information.
  • For non-web content and technology, the WCAG principles or the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) EN 301 549 standards could be used.

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eCampusOntario's Digital Accessibility Toolkit Copyright © by eCampus Ontario is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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