ADA Web Accessibility

The Overlap of Benefits

 Meeting accessibility criteria doesn’t solely benefit one group, following accessibility criteria provides overlapping benefits for a wide array of individuals with disabilities or impairments. Plus following accessibility best practices results in a clearer and more understandable web page in general.

 Overlap of benefits Infographic see table 1.0 for long description.

Table 1.0: Overlap of Benefits


Overlap of direct benefits for disabilities or impairments and accessibility best practices.
 Best Practices and their Benefits to disabilities or impairments. Severe Visual Impairment  Low Vision Color Blindness of Color Deficiency Deaf and Hearing Loss Impaired Mobility Learning Disorder Other Neurological Impairment
Alternative text for
images and animations
Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Properly labeled table 
Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Section headers indicated
by something other than a
format change (programmatically)
Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Universal navigational schemes in
consistent locations
Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a Direct Benefit n/a
Functions that are keyboard
accessible (ex: drag and drop 
interfaces, menus, and image maps)
Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a Direct Benefit n/a n/a
Accessible text size, font, and color n/a Direct Benefit Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a Direct Benefit
Avoided automated background
audio, scrolling text, automated slide
shows and continuous animations
n/a   n/a n/a n/a Direct Benefit Direct Benefit
Layout formats that remain logical
without styles
n/a Direct Benefit n/a n/a Direct Benefit n/a n/a
Captions or an alternative text
n/a n/a n/a Direct Benefit n/a n/a n/a
Adjusted writing style n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Direct Benefit n/a

Web Accessibility and the Law 

Ensuring accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it's the law. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination by public entities against people with disabilities, this includes public colleges and universities. Title II overlaps with the previously existing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which generally has more detailed regulations. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by recipients of federal financial assistance (Includes nearly all public and private colleges). Regulations in section 504 are generally more specific than Title II, and include requirements specific to colleges and universities, including the following excerpts from 34 CFR Part 104.  

  •  Entities providing any aid, benefit or service may not afford a qualified person with a disability an opportunity to participate that is not as effective as the opportunities provided to others. 34 CFR 104.4(b)(1) 
  •  Qualified students may not be excluded from a program or given different benefits or services in a program on the basis of disability. 34 CFR 104.4(b)(1) 
  •  Schools must make “academic adjustments” necessary to afford people with disabilities access to programs unless it would fundamentally alter an essential element of the program. 34 CFR 104.44(a) 
  •  Academic adjustments include “auxiliary aids” necessary to provide access by those with sensory impairments. 34 CFR 104.44(d) 

ADA Title II: Focus on Communication 

Title 28 CFR Part 35 -- Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services:


 “A public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.” – 28 CFR 35.160(a)

Universal Standard: WCAG 2.0 level AA 

Developed by the W3C, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are the internationally agreed upon standards for digital accessibility. At UNF, we strive to meet WCAG 2.0 at level AA for web compliance.

Our Standard & Goal: WCAG 2.0 level AA Compliance

Introduction to WCAG 2.0

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide international protocols and guidelines in order to ensure the ongoing growth of the web.

For more detailed information on WCAG 2.0 visit the W3C's guide to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

WCAG 2.0 Layers of Guidance Reference

W3C has specified several layer of guidance in order to meet the varying needs of its audience, an audience that includes web designers and developers, policy makers, purchasing agents, teachers, and students.

These layer of guidance include overall principles, general guidelines, and testable success criteria. Provided below is a map of the WCAG 2.0 guideline layout:

  • Principles – At the top are four principles that provide the foundation for Web Accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
    •  Guidelines – under each principle are guidelines. These provide the basic goals that authors should work toward in order to make content more accessible to users with different disabilities. Guidelines are not testable, but provide the framework and overall objectives to help authors understand success criteria.
      • Success Criteria – set to meet guidelines. For each guideline, testable success criteria are provided to allow WCAG 2.0 to be used where requirements and conformance testing are necessary, such as in design specification, purchasing, regulation, and contractual agreements. In order to meet the needs of different groups and situation, three levels of conformance are defined: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). Level AA is considered the minimum standard to meet as agreed by Web Accessibility Experts and the US Department of Justice.


Accessibility Testing (WAVE, Screen readers and the CCA)


Introduction to WAVE

    WAVE is a tool provided free as a community service that is used to evaluate the accessibility of websites. Please note that while WAVE is a useful tool for evaluating a site's compliance it cannot ensure the accessibility of your web content, for further information review WAVE's Terms of Use.

How to Check a Website's Accessibility using WAVE

  1. Go to the WebAIM Wave Tool homepage.
  2. Enter the web address/URL of the site you wish to check into the search bar that reads "Web page address..."
  3. Click on the arrow in the search bar or click your enter key. The report will generate, you're done running the test!

Screen readers: JAWS and NVDA

Introduction to JAWS and NVDA

    Screen readers are devices that enable individuals with blindness or low vision to access content online by providing speech output and keyboard navigation function for individuals who cannot use the mouse to navigate the computer. JAWS and NVDA are two different screen reader programs with the nearly the same uses and functions. JAWS is the most commonly used screen reader among users and it is used in addition to NVDA by the ADA Compliance office to access digital accessibility. NVDA, unlike JAWS, is a free to download program and is another often used screen reader. To test compliance we suggest using NVDA as it is free to download and use, download NVDA for your computer to be able to test your digital content with a screen reader.

How to Check Compliance with a Screen reader

WebAIM has a reference of NVDA Keyboard Shortcuts available as well as an article on using NVDA to evaluate web accessibility to use for further information.

Color Contrast Analyzer (CCA tool)

Introduction to the CCA

The Color Contrast Analyzer (CCA) provides a pass/fail assessment against WCAG 2.0 success criteria for both level AA and AAA. The CCA is a free-to-download program that can assess various kinds of computer content (Including but not limited to Microsoft and PDF documents, graphics and images, and instances online where text is posted on top of an image.)
  How to Use the CCA
  1. Open the program from where it was saved on your computer during download (Note: the download provides both a 32-bit and 62-bit version of the program, the bit version to use will depend on your computer specifications. Most likely you will use the 32-bit but if it does not run try the other option).
  2. In the CCA tool click on the eyedropper icon to choose the foreground color (also called text color). 
  3. Choose a color with the eyedropper magnifying box with the the mouse, move over and click on the color of the text to assess.
  4. If the background is not white (which is the program default) use the eyedropper for background to select a different background color than the standard white.
  5. Check to be sure the text passes AA (AAA is not our standard), the program will instantly assess color contrast ratio when the colors are chosen. If the color ratio fails, choose a different text color that passes.

ADA Compliance Office Resources 

Resources and Guides

Introduction to Web Compliance PowerPoint

This PowerPoint provides detailed instructions on how to fix common web accessibility issues in the CMS. 

((PowerPoint to be added soon)).