Each post-secondary institution sets its standard of digital independently. You could aim for legal (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 () 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 principles, technology , and common accessibility . 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 (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) EN 301 549 standards could be used.
- Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-Web Information and Communications Technologies (WCAG2ICT)
- The Government of Canada tool to support the definition of procurement specifications aligned with ETSI EN 301 549.
- Beyond Websites page of this tool.
- Accessibility Statement page of this tool
The design of products, devices, services, environments, technologies, policies and rules in a way that allows all people, including people with a variety of disabilities, to access them.
The act of following requirements for a product, service or system.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Functional Accessibility Requirements
Design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.
Anything that might hinder people with disabilities’ full and equal participation. Barriers can be architectural, technological, attitudinal, based on information or communications, or can be the result of a policy or procedure. Barriers can be financial, knowledge based, or directly related to an individual’s disability (e.g., no descriptive alternative text accompanying a photo would be a barrier for someone with a vision impairment).
A fictional user-type created to represent real people that might use your service, product, or site. Creating multiple and diverse personas can help you recognize different needs and expectations of potential users.
European Telecommunications Standards Institute