We have a responsibility to ensure all of our content is inclusive (accessible) because it's the right thing to do. But there are also legal and political obligations we have to meet.
When in doubt, publish as a web page.
WCAG 2.0 AA
All department websites must conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. It might sound technical, but it's simply the international standard for web accessibility. There are three levels of compliance: Single A, Double A and Triple A. We need to meet the Double A standard. Where possible, we should aim to exceed it.
The guidelines are organised into four main principles that explain what to keep in mind when developing websites and publishing web content. These are that content should be:
Standards for web developers
To help make websites that use dynamic content and complex user interface elements more accessible, developers must implement the WAI-ARIA 1.0 specification. Dynamic content could include:
- drop-down menus
- accordions or show/hides
- carousels or galleries
Dynamic content and user interface elements must follow the design patterns outlined in WAI-ARIA 1.0 Authoring Practices.
As a government agency, the NSW Department of Education is required to meet web accessibility standards under federal and state government mandates.
The National Transition Strategy, implemented in 2010, required all government websites (including states and territories) to meet the Double A standard by the end of 2014.
The Australian Government's accessibility requirements are outlined in criteria 9 of the Digital Service Standard.
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet also mandated web accessibility for all government websites through the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA), we must uphold the fundamental right for people with disabilities to access information. Failure to do so subjects us to possible disability discrimination complaints.
The Australian Human Rights Commission's World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes provides useful background information about the DDA and web accessibility.