Date:
21 June 2021
Author:
Danielle Sheffler

Context

The Victorian Government strives to ensure that all websites and services are accessible to all users. More than 20% of the Victorian population lives with a disability — some are permanent and some are temporary. However, whether a disability is permanent or temporary, all users need the content and interactive elements on a site to be available and accessible so they can access information and services.

Accessibility compliance guidelines

The Victorian Government follows the following guidelines and legislation to meet accessibility guidelines:

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA 

  • Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

  • Vic.gov.au “Make content accessible” guide 

  • Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992 

WCAG 2.0

The WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines are a set of guidelines created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to make websites more accessible to end users. We discuss accessibility guidelines in our blog "What is web accessibility and why is it so important?"

ATAG 2.0

The ATAG 2.0 guidelines provide guidelines to make authoring tools more accessible to authors with disabilities  and makes creating accessible web content easier for all authors. The majority of the ATAG 2.0 guidelines are ensuring that the administration section of the authoring tool meets WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The authoring interface Salsa uses for our clients is part of Drupal, and the Drupal accessibility community has worked tirelessly to ensure that the majority of the administration interface meets WCAG 2.0 guidelines. 

The Drupal community has also added in alt text as a required field in an attempt to get content authors thinking about accessibility throughout the content creation process.

Victoria’s ‘Make content accessible’ guide

The Victorian Government’s Make content accessible guide is for all websites and documents to comply with the WCAG 2.0 AA standards and the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992. However, if a department’s audience is mostly people with disabilities, such as NDIS, it must follow WCAG 2.0 AAA standards. 

The most important content guidelines to follow are: 

  • Adding descriptive alternative text to non-decorative images

  • Adding alt=”” to decorative images

  • Using headings to demonstrate hierarchy on the page and to summarise the theme of the section

  • Providing context for links so screen readers can understand them if they decide to navigate the page using links alone

  • Ensuring that colour contrast meets either the required 4.5:1 contrast ratio or the required 3:1 contrast ratio for large text

  • Coding the appropriate markup for tables

  • Ensuring that all documents on the site are accessible

Departments should incorporate accessibility into their project lifecycle from the beginning, and it’s recommended to incorporate an accessibility consultant into the project process and have an independent vendor access the site at the end of the project. 

Australian Human Rights Commission’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992 

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their disability. The disabilities mentioned in the Act refer to both permanent and temporary disabilities, and the Act covers website accessibility as well. This legislation enforces the need for WCAG 2.0 compliance in the Federal and Victorian Governments.

Salsa Digital’s take

Following accessibility best practices is essential to ensure that content and interactive elements on a site are available and accessible, so users can access information and services. We have created an accessibility practice from the ground up that focuses on building accessibility in from the beginning of a project and on educating both our internal team and our clients on what it takes to create an accessible site.