Websites are rapidly becoming the primary point of contact for the vast majority of organizations. Along with this digital transition comes the concern for digital channels to be accessible to all individuals.
AODA stands for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This legislation was created to make Ontario a barrier-free province. How does this apply to the digital world? By January 1, 2014 all new websites must be AODA compliant, meaning the following:
- All new web content and services created conform to at least Conformance Level A of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines
- Web content and services provided by third-party developers conform to at least Conformance Level A of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines
- Vendors supplying software used to develop web-based services for Townsend Lumber Inc. provide information on conformance to the WCAG 2.0 web accessibility guidelines
- Existing web content and services be gradually brought into line, as they are periodically updated
In the guidelines set forth by this act, websites much be compliant with the following items:
- Multimedia and images must be described with alternative text. This allows individuals using screen readers to readily understand multimedia content as they may have a visual impairment.
- Contrast between the text and background must be high. For example, black text on a white background, or a light text on a dark/coloured background is easier for those with visual impairments or colour blind individuals to distinguish and read textual components.
- Content must be able to be read by assistive technologies. When producing content for a website the zoom settings should be kept flexible in order for persons with low vision capabilities to enlarge text, as well as screen readers – this tool will read the content aloud to the individual accessing the website.
- Make content keyboard accessible. Website content should be presented in such a way that makes it readily accessible to individuals with physical limitations to use keyboard functions like the tab key to navigate the entire website.
- Avoid using time limits. Time sessions are becoming more prevalent to enhance security on websites where an individual may be inputting sensitive information – this includes expiring a session after periods of inactivity. To make websites barrier free, keep in mind an extended time limit that will allow every person, with or without disabilities, to complete input of information or complete the session. In addition, to prevent spam CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are becoming more popular. When using this software, it must be assistive technology responsive and have an adequate time limit.
- Avoid use of images that have “blinking” feature. This animated feature is often used to draw attention to a specific promotion or feature; however, a web developer must be mindful of the fact that certain animations or bright flashes can trigger an epileptic attack.
Townsend Lumber Inc. is committed to adhering to the AODA standards. We believe that our web-based information should be barrier-free and accessible to all persons no matter their disability or access requirements.
Additionally, Townsend Lumber Inc. is committed to ensuring all new content is published with accessibility in mind and continually adhering to AODA standards as new amendments are brought forth.
Questions and Further Assistance
If you have further questions regarding our website accessibility or are incurring any issues while accessing our content, please contact us:
Address: 1300 Jackson Sideroad, RR#2 Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada, N4G4G7