Web accessibility policy

Policy

Intent

This policy provides clear direction on the minimum standards of web accessibility that must be adhered to across the RMIT web presence.

Scope

This policy applies to service group managers, project managers, and all RMIT staff members who contribute content, design components and coding to the RMIT web presence. The RMIT web presence includes content delivered to social media channels, scholarly work, student work and teaching and learning materials, as well as web authoring tools and web applications that are developed in-house, commissioned or purchased/licensed from external suppliers.

Exclusions

This policy does not apply to:

  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (for example, personal or private sites)
  • user agents (e.g. browser and web content viewing tools)
  • web authoring tools not provided or supported by the university

Objectives

1. To ensure an inclusive user experience in which RMIT web content reaches the widest possible audience.
2. To ensure that RMIT meets its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
3. To ensure that RMIT meets web accessibility standards set by the Federal Government.
4. To ensure that user agents, such as screen readers and magnifiers, can operate on our web content.
5. To ensure that web accessibility is embedded into all business processes.

Policy provisions

1. Planning

1.1. Understand the standards that deliver an inclusive and government compliant web experience.

1.1.1. Content standards of accessibility ensure an inclusive web experience and access by the widest possible audience, including those with disabilities. Our standards are based on the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

1.1.2. Authoring tool standards of accessibility ensure that tools support accessible web publishing and can be used by staff with disabilities. Our standards are based on the internationally recognised Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) produced by W3C.

1.1.3. Compliance levels are set by the Federal Government’s National Transition Strategy, which refers to internationally recognised guidelines produced by the W3C.

1.2. Understand the principles and project implications of accessibility compliance, which are that all web properties must be:

1.2.1. Perceivable – All users can perceive the information being presented, through sight, hearing or touch.

1.2.2. Operable – All users can operate the interface with a variety of input devices and methods, including keyboard, mouse, touch, and assistive technologies.

1.2.3. Usable – All users can understand the information and interface (easy to comprehend and use).

1.2.4. Robust – Accessibility is not easily broken as technologies advance (technologies including browsers, assistive technologies, and mobile devices).

1.3. Understand the scope and responsibilities when planning new web content and properties. Web project managers have the responsibility to oversee the following areas:

1.3.1. Accessibility requirements and testing plans are included in the project plan.

1.3.2. Content Creators are creating accessible content.

1.3.3. Design teams are producing accessible interfaces.

1.3.4. Coding teams are producing valid, robust code that supports standard markup languages in accordance with RMIT UI development standards (Development standards TBA).

1.4. Governance and quality assurance

1.4.1. Responsibility for accessibility compliance rests with the service group that owns or has operational control of the website. This includes content and technical ownership.

1.4.2. Governance and leadership of accessibility best practices rests with the Digital and Customer Experience Strategy group, which will ensure that service groups are coordinated, supported and audited.

1.4.3. Testing for accessibility compliance must follow the Web Accessibility Evaluation Instruction and remedial work either undertaken or planned to ensure minimum standards are met.

1.5. Commissioning, purchasing or licensing authoring tools

Project briefs and procurement documentation must include accessibility requirements.

2. Creating

2.1. Content must be perceivable and understandable for all users. Content production standards must follow the Web Accessibility Procedure. Principles:

2.1.1. Written content must be perceivable and understandable to all users, including those using assistive technologies.

2.1.2. Images must be perceivable and understandable to all users. Include an alternate method of conveying meaning beyond the visual representation (eg, captions) to ensure that those using assistive technologies can correctly interpret the image.

2.1.3. Video, audio and animated content must be perceivable and understandable to all users. Include an alternate method of conveying meaning beyond the visual and audible representations (eg, captions/subtitles) to ensure that those using assistive technologies can correctly interpret content.

2.2. Design of web interfaces must be perceivable and operable for all users. Design standards must follow the Web Accessibility Procedure.

2.2.1. Colour of text, backgrounds and other page elements must be used in a way that is sympathetic to users with colour perception difficulties.

2.2.2. Contrast of text against backgrounds must maintain a minimum level of contrast for users with vision impairments.

2.2.3. Proportion or size of page elements, such as text and buttons must be sized appropriately for users of all abilities.

2.2.4. Navigation within web pages must be operable and clearly and consistently placed and support navigation without pointing devices (e.g. keyboard, gestural or voice input).

2.3. Coding and development of web interfaces must be operable and robust for all users.

2.3.1. New web properties must be developed to validate with standard markup languages (e.g. HTML and CSS). Compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

2.3.2. Non-compliant web properties are registered for future redevelopment or replacement. Business and technical owners are responsible for the redevelopment work.

3. Maintaining

3.1.Websites must be maintained without degrading standards established by the Web Accessibility Procedure.

3.2. Content updates must be accessible and in accordance with the principles outlined above (2.1 Creating).

3.3. Design updates must be accessible whether within the RMIT design system or for custom user interface designs.

3.4. Coding and development updates must be not degrade accessibility and remain compatible with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

4. Evaluating

4.1. All websites should be evaluated periodically in accordance with the Web Accessibility Procedure. Principles:

4.1.1. Existing web properties are periodically audited using standardised tools and methods.

4.1.2. Non-compliant properties are registered with WSIP for review and feedback to the Content Owner.

4.1.3. Remedial action is planned.

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