1.2 Digital Accessibility Standards
PSG Number: SM-19-001
Topical Area: Web Design and Development
Issue Date: 8/28/2019
Effective Date: 8/28/2019
Document Type: Standard; Published (approved by Web Standards Group and GTA)
POC for Changes: Digital Services Georgia
Synopsis: Accessibility standards and guidelines for State of Georgia websites and applications.
All individuals, regardless of ability, should be provided with equal access to web content in compliance with the WCAG 2.1 guidelines and standards specified below, which include, but are not limited to, websites, web-based applications, documents that exist online, and other digital properties.
WCAG 2.1 AA Compliance
All digital properties managed by state entities shall be accessible according to WCAG 2.1 (Level AA) Compliance standards. Accessibility is the practice of designing digital properties to provide users with equal access to site content, regardless of ability. While accessibility is often associated with providing assistance to individuals with disabilities, it is also of benefit to the general population in a variety of ways, some of which include an improvement in performance when having to rely on slower Internet connections such as mobile networks, individuals who have sustained a temporary injury such as a broken or sprained hand or arm, or situations in which individuals’ cognitive abilities are compromised due to a crisis or temporary health factors.
WCAG 2.1 AA requires that all websites, web applications, and other digital properties be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. In other words, users must be able to access, understand, and contribute to your content without having to rely solely on one single sense (hearing, seeing, touch, etc). Assistive technologies (e.g., screen readers) must be able to interpret meaning and purpose from the code provided. Some techniques to make your digital properties accessible include:
- Offering alternatives for content, such as images, video, and audio
- Choosing font sizes, text spacing, colors, and ease of zooming in on mobile making the experience more suitable for users with low vision or color-blindness
- Semantic markup and content structure that includes landmarks, useful labels, and roles to announce status changes making the experience more suitable for screenreader users
- Ensuring all content can be tabbed through with a keyboard, using sequential section headings and semantic markup
- Style your website so that it does not require a single display mode
- Provide simple alternatives (e.g. single tap vs. swipe) to potentially complex finger motions and interactions on touch screens
- Make it so the visibility of additional content (e.g. pop-ups, submenus) can be controlled by the user at all times
- Autocomplete for form inputs
Accessibility Statement and Site Contact
Each website shall feature an accessibility statement that describes the organization’s policy, efforts, and initiatives to meet accessibility needs. All accessibility statements must, at minimum, identify WCAG 2.1 (Level AA) compliance, per standard. If you do not wish to create your own accessibility statement, you may link to Georgia.gov’s Accessibility Policy.
Contact information must be provided for users seeking help, or those who are adversely impacted by an accessibility barrier.
Regular Accessibility Audits
Agencies must perform either an internal or external accessibility audit on all digital properties at least once every 36 months. Audits must be performed against WCAG 2.1 AA standards, and errors identified should be remediated within nine months of the audit. Audits should not rely on automated testing tools alone, but should also include manual testing and review.
The first audit is required to be a detailed, manual audit conducted by an external vendor. All subsequent audits can either be performed by an external vendor or by a trained accessibility staff member and can be done using online tools or services. Contact Digital Services Georgia for more information.
More frequent auditing is also encouraged and can be achieved using browser extensions that perform automated testing on your website's content as it changes.
GTA reserves the right to audit an agency to validate that an accessibility test has been performed and successfully remediated within the 36-month period.
All solicitations and contracts for work involving digital properties within the scope of this standard must establish accessibility requirements to ensure that vendors are in compliance. Mandatory requirements include that all content, interfaces, and navigational elements must be WCAG 2.1 AA compliant and that all work produced should be regularly tested for accessibility concerns and remediated within the standard timeframe. (See suggested language for procurement solicitations and contracts as provided by the Digital Services Georgia team).
- NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) - Screen Reader for Windows only
- WAVE Accessibility Extension - Firefox extension Screen Reader
- Color Contrast Analyzer