Website Accessibility

What is Web Accessibility?

The University of California's Information Technology Accessibility Policy (effective August 27, 2013) states that all campus websites and web applications should be accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies.

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can: perceive, operate, understand, and robustly interact with the Web. These principles are from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which govern accessibility on three different levels of compliance (A, AA, and AAA).

  • Level A - the most basic web accessibility features.
  • Level AA - deals with the most common barriers for disabled users. Our UC IT Accessibility Policy states that electronic information must meet WCAG’s Level AA compliance.
  • Level AAA - the highest and most complex level of web accessibility. 

Why should I care? 

If you're a web developer or content provider, it's your responsibility to make your content accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. In some cases, it may even be required by law. 

If you’re unfamiliar with web design accessibility, consider these situations in which users may be accessing the web in different contexts: 

  • They may not be able to see, hear, move, or may not be able to process some types of information easily or at all.
  • They may have difficulty reading or comprehending text.
  • They may not have or be able to use a keyboard or mouse.
  • They may have a text-only screen, a small screen, or a slow Internet connection.
  • They may not speak or understand fluently the language in which the document is written.
  • They may be in a situation where their eyes, ears, or hands are busy or interfered with (e.g., driving to work, working in a loud environment, etc.).
  • They may have an early version of a browser, a different browser entirely, a voice browser, or a different operating system.

Content developers must consider these different situations during page design. While there are several situations to consider, each accessible design choice generally benefits several disability groups at once and the web community as a whole.

UCSC Web Accessibility Efforts 

At UCSC, we’re continuing to build out support for web accessibility. Here are some ways in which we already supporting web accessibility: 

More Resources 

Here is more information on web content accessibility guidelines.