11.1 | The library website is compliant with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) accessibility standards as evidenced by the use of an online validation service
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has created a set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) whose purpose is to make web pages and web applications accessible to people with disabilities. Among other topics, WCAG guidelines focus on ensuring that non-text web content has text alternatives, that users can access website functionality using the keyboard, that users are able to determine where they are on a website and navigate to other pages on the site from there, and that websites are compatible with most assistive technologies. You can review the complete guidelines and see examples of how compliance with the guidelines enables people with disabilities to access the web here: http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/principles. While other guidelines and standards for website accessibility exist, the WCAG guidelines are user-centered, meaning they have been developed with the needs of disabled users coming first, and provide an expansive view of accessibility, rather than setting minimum standards for the ease of web developers, vendors, and other contractors. This is a critical difference as some features of online catalog software and website content management systems might be compliant with these alternative standards but still very difficult or impossible to use by patrons with disabilities.
Since checking for compliance with the WCAG guidelines and making upgrades to optimize accessibility requires significant effort, for the purposes of the Edge assessment, websites will be considered compliant when all of their pages have been checked against the W3C Markup Validator (http://validator.w3.org) and received a result of "passed". The W3C's Markup Validator checks to see if a web page follows the programming syntax and grammar rules that are critical for enabling the use of assistive technology. A compliant web page is readable in all browsers, will comply with future browser updates, and is compatible with screen reader software.
The W3C validator is a very basic indicator of accessibility: your website will have accessibility barriers if it finds errors, but finding no validation errors does not necessarily mean that your website will be easy to use for a person with a disability or using assistive technology. With so many new reasons for people with disabilities to use public libraries, and particularly library technology, you should aim much higher in making your library website accessible for people with disabilities.
FOR THE ASSESSMENT
Answer Yes if every web page on your website receives a result of "passed".
Answer No, but plan to in the next year if your website did not pass the validator but you plan on making all the necessary changes over the next year.
Answer No, would like to but cannot at this time if your website did not pass the validator and you cannot make the necessary changes to make it compliant.
Answer No, we have no plans to do so at this time if you do not plan to make your library website accessible to people with disabilities.