Web Accessibility

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NC State's Web Accessibility Regulations

North Carolina State University is required to provide reasonable access to its educational services, programs and activities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and North Carolina state law (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 168A-7). Accordingly, official NC State web pages and online instructional material should be accessible to disabled persons where possible, or a reasonable alternative accommodation should be offered.

Non-compliance with the Regulations

If the NC State Web Developer fails to provide a response to the Information Technology Division's inquiry or does not address accessibility problems in a timely fashion, the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, in consultation with an accessibility compliance team if necessary, may direct the removal of non-exempt inaccessible Web content from service.

Making Web Accessibility Easy

While the Regulation requires that web pages meet the technical Section 508 standards, they are minimum requirements to make the pages become "technically" accessible and may not necessarily be functionally usable by people with disabilities. To be usable, websites must provide people with disabilities similar user-experiences as their peers.

Below you will find a list of best practices that will allow your site to be usable by everyone regardless of their individual functional capabilities. When applied to web, these best practices integrate well with assistive technology (AT) used by a person with a disability and provide equivalent access to all content including audio and visual material.

Layout and Structure

  • Separate presentation layer from the structure. When possible use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the visual appearance of a page.
  • Do not use structural elements for presentation and layout. For example using heading <h> tag to enhance text; list
  • tag to indent text; text area input <textarea> element for text inset.
  • Use CSS and <div>< tag or <iframe> to create a text inset.
  • Use <title> element in the <head> section of the page to identify the contents of a page. Browsers expose this information to assistive technology and the user can identify the page.
  • Minimize using tables for layout. When used, limit them to simple tables and ensure that the read order of the cell content can be linearized. Tables increase the size and footprint of the page and they are not easily maintained.
  • Avoid using Frames for layout. Frames divide a web page into multiple, scrollable regions each with its own content source. Frames can be very disorienting to screen readers especially when content in one frame references content in another.
  • Avoid opening new windows or "pop-ups". New windows destroy user browsing history preventing them from using the "back" button to return to the source page. If new window is opened identify the target window using target ="name" and provide a mechanism to easily return to original location on source page.