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Website Accessibility Information
This site was originally designed in XHTML Strict with accessible features and considerations to give all visitors a similar browsing experience. Unfortunately many of those features are lost when converting the site to a WordPress site. Lost features include
- Stylesheets that allow users to select higher or lower contrast views or preferred color background tints for low vision, color blindness, and dyslexia.
- Stylesheets that allow the user to switch font sizes or switch to viewing the site in text only.
- An aural stylesheet for screen readers and audio assistive technology.
- Sidebar navigation is gone.
- On-page navigation behaves differently and may cause some confusion. In some browsers such as Firefox, the on-page link goes to the first line below the referenced header.
If you use assistive technology (such as a Braille reader, a screen reader, TTY, and so forth) and the format of any material on our website interferes with your ability to access the information, please contact us using our Contact Us form, or send an email to website team.
To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of your accessibility problem, the preferred format in which to receive the material, the Web address (URL) of the requested material, and your contact information. Let us know if you know of any WordPress plugins that provide the accessible features we lost for the site.
Links are checked periodically. Changes on pages may be marked by New, , Revised flags.
Cascading Style Sheets
The entire website has been converted from a table-heavy design to a W3C-validated CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) design and layout. Cascading style sheets (CSS) replace table-defined page layout and spacer graphics so that pages will load as fast as possible and information will be in a logical order. Tables are used for presenting data only. CSS separates site content from presentation and offers the following benefits:
- Consistent look and feel across the entire site
- Smaller page size/lower bandwidth usage (less demand on servers)
- Better user experience (smaller page size leads to faster site loading)
- Better search engine optimization (increased information/markup ratio)
- Cross-browser compatibility (CSS is supported by most browsers)
- Future compatibility (valid, standard-compliant markup ensures reusable data)
- Better accessibility and usability (screen-readers, access keys, alternative formats)
- Better extensibility (i.e., printer-friendly, handheld-friendly)
The website does not use "Session" cookies to track your visit. Information is not saved for future visits.
The colors used in the website for links and change status flags are chosen using the:
- Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser [from Juicy Studio]
- Accessibility Color Wheel Version 3.0 by Giacomo Mazzocato.
- Colour Contrast Analyser [from TPGi (formerly The Paciello Group).]
For more information about color, see the Accessible Techcomm website's Web Accessibility: Color and Typography resources.
Mobile Theme Requirements
The original website used two columns on the home page to show more sections near the top of the page. Because two columns are not supported in mobile themes, content split into two columns are now in one column. This may be problimatic for CSS tables—more mobile use will let us know if the tables need to be changed to straight text. The HTML title= attribute has been removed from all links and images because the title= attribute hides things in mobile browsers. (See Title Attribute Removed below.)
WordPress Theme Used
This site aims to comply with current standards on Web accessibility. To ensure that we meet or exceed the guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C-WAI) and WAI-ARIA, we continually review our site and modify pages to remove accessibility problems for people with disabilities. We select themes for the website that are accessibility ready.
The Aaron theme for WordPress Aaron is a responsive, accessibility-ready, multipurpose theme. Users can tab through the menus and the contents have a clear focus so users can see where they are on the page. A Skip Link at the top of the page lets users skip the menu to the content. This theme helps you develop a website that meets WCAG 2 requirements. For more information about the Aaron theme see the Overview and Demo.
Navigation features for screen readers include a "skip" link to jump to specific areas on a page. For people using audio assistive technology, there are skip links to go directly to the main content and to the navigation areas on the site.
All links going to other websites will open in the current browser window. Use the Back button to return to this site. (See Target Window Attribute Removed below.)
CSS is used to style the links with the following features:
- Hyperlink, a navigation link to another page or place on a page. These links are blue in the body of the page and white in the navigation menu at the top.
- Active, a link that will be viewed when clicked on. These links have a different font color with an underscore. For links that are currently being viewed in the navigation menu, the active menu item will be identified by a different color.
- Visited, a link that has been seen, but is no longer open. It may have been visited during the current browsing session or it may be listed in the history of previous sessions. Content links have a gold font color in browsers that support this feature.
- Hover is the link state when the mouse moves over the link borders. Focus is the link state when the tab key moves to a link. As you move or tab from link to link, the current link is said to have focus. Hover and focus states help make links more prominent so users can tell which link is the current one. The hover state gives the links a distinctive font color and an underline seen by sighted users. The focus state is for users who use the keyboard to move between links. Focus uses the same font colors and text decoration (underline) as the hover state to give all users a similar browsing experience.
This website aims to make the information it provides accessible to everyone including those with physical or mental disabilities and those with slow Internet connections. There are many challenges for Web developers and designers to handle when creating an accessible website such as the large variety of screen readers, browsers, platforms, and accessibility needs. What is accessible for one person may not be accessible for another. The site is designed using current standards from WAI-ARIA and practices shown at Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM) to be used by the average user and by users who work with screen readers or audio assistive technology. Also see the two-part Internet Accessibility / Usability resources list on the Accessible Techcomm website.
Title Attribute Removed
Research shows that the HTML title= attribute is problematic for many users such as mobile users, keyboard only users, screen reader users, and others. (See "Using the HTML title attribute – updated March 2020" by Steve Faulkner of TPGI (formerly The Paciello Group), https://www.tpgi.com/using-the-html-title-attribute-updated/.) In mobile browsers, the title attribute hides things from view. [from TPGi (formerly The Paciello Group).]
Tabindex Attribute Removed
Research by the Ontario, Canada provincial government and other research groups shows that the HTML tabindex= attribute can create an illogical tab order. Several browsers do not support tabindex and it can cause confusion by conflicting with preset tabbing in screen readers. (See "Drawbacks to tabindex" from the WebAIMCenter for Persons with Disabilities, https://webaim.org/techniques/keyboard/tabindex#drawbacks.) Tabindex is considered a poor accessibility practice because it adds additional tab stops for all keyboard users and the tabindex technique is not supported by all browser and assistive technology combinations.
Target Window Attribute Removed
Images on the site provide alternative descriptive text. However, some browsers or screen readers cannot be relied upon to recognize alternative text. Previously, we added a title in the image links to compensate for these inconsistencies. These have been removed for the reasons given above in Title Attribute Removed. A few images may have a long description to provide additional information about important images.
Frames are not used to separate sections of the window area to include several different web pages. Websites with frames are difficult to navigate with a screen reader unless you actually know that frames exist and which frames contain the information for which you are looking.
Most pages on this website are available in HTML5 or ASCII text format, which are easily read by people who use screen readers. However, some of our information is provided only in Adobe PDF format. Some of the newer PDF files are created with accessible features. Users can convert older PDF files to an accessible format using the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ with Accessibility. For more information, see the Adobe Acrobat Accessibility page.
Fonts and Page Width
The website uses relative font sizes (em and percent), which allows users to use the browser's View menu to increase or decrease font size. Some of the WordPress theme design uses absolute font-sizes (pixels. The pixel unit does not scale upward for visually-impaired readers or downward to fit mobile devices. Some modern browsers are able to modify pixel size using the "zoom" feature in their browser but pixel units will cause problems on high density mobile devices. For examples of readable and unreadable onscreen fonts, see the Font Comparisons for Use on Websites page. For more information, see 2016 W3C Web Style Sheets CSS tips & tricks: Font sizes em, px, pt, cm, in… and the New units: rem, vw… (PDF version) and 2013 CSS Font-Size: em vs. px vs. pt vs. percent (.pdf).
Page width is adjustable by the user. Flexible CSS layout allows text to reflow to fit the new space. When the window is pulled out wider, the page will also become shorter as more text is put on a line. If you make the page too narrow, some elements may overlap. We have tried to make adjustments in the code to fix differences in the way various browsers handle spaces. If your browser shows the bottom navigation area or other areas of the page overlapping in places, reload the page and the CSS will adjust the flow.
- Low Vision
- Accessible Techcomm
- Best Practices and Guidelines for Large Print Documents used by the Low Vision Community, (2.5 MB PDF/A) by Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, 2011, The American Council of the Blind.
- Digital.gov Essential "how-to" guidance for product managers in government.
- Make WordPress Accessible, an Accessibility WP discussion group
- Making Text Legible for Low Vision .pdf format (Lighthouse page no longer available)
- Make WordPress Accessible—WP Accessibility Plugin detail references for the plugin
- New Typeface Boosts Legibility for Low-Vision Readers, by Tom Mangan. "At long last, a typeface designed specifically for low-vision readers" The new typeface is developed jointly by the Braille Institute in Los Angeles and Applied Design Works in New York City. The typeface, called Atkinson Hyperlegible, is named for J. Robert Atkinson, who founded the Braille Institute in 1919.
- https://www.usability.gov Usability.gov is the leading resource for user experience (UX) best practices and guidelines, serving practitioners and students in the government and private sectors. This website provides overviews of the user-centered design process and various UX disciplines. It also covers the related information on methodology and tools for making digital content more usable and useful.
- WebAIM provides tools and training for website accessibility
- Font Legibility: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, by Carmen Willings.
- WordPress Codex Accessibility
- Useful URLs for Designing Web Pages full list of resources