The Guelph Tool Library wants as many people as possible to use its website. Accessibility encompasses a wide range of needs that we may each need help with within our lifetime. These can be physical disabilities such as movement, vision, and hearing. They can be with cognition such as mental and learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, environmental sensitivities, neurodivergence, and other conditions. Guided by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, we have designed and will continue to update and modify this website to meet new and evolving guidelines that help with our intention to make our content available to all.
Web Accessibility Principles
WCAG puts forth four main principles for creating an accessible website, and we strive to meet these at a minimum:
- Perceivable: so users can perceive the information displayed
- Operable: the user must be able to operate the interface
- Understandable: users must be able to understand the information
- Robust: even as technology advances, the website content must remain accessible
The AODA also outlines that websites offer:
- Text Alternatives: for non-text sections, provide alternatives such as larger font, simpler language, symbols or audio descriptions.
- Time-based Media: if you have video content, provide audio-only versions. For audio commentary, provide a text back-up.
- Adaptable: ensure the website adapts to the user’s capabilities. This can be achieved by presenting the information in a simpler layout while retaining the same content and structure.
- Distinguishable: don’t use a font size lower than 14 points and provide good contrast between the text and background for easier reading. Avoid fancy fonts that might make reading difficult, and make links and controls highly visible.
- Keyboard Accessible: your website must be operable using a keyboard alone. This is very important for users with reduced motor skills who struggle to manoeuvre a mouse accurately.
- Enough Time: rotating banners and images may look nice but can be problematic for those with reading disabilities. Allow users to delay the time on this feature, or turn it off completely by simply clicking a button.
- Seizures: any flashy element that can cause seizures is not allowed. If you want flashing areas, make them small and ensure the flash frequency is less than three per second. Your visitors need to be safe on your site.
- Navigable: the navigation of your website should be logical and simple. Make links stand out and reduce the number on any one page to ensure the user doesn’t feel lost in a maze. They need to intuitively find their way to the information they are seeking.
- Readable: use common and easily understood language. Avoid foreign phrases or complicated paragraphs. Break up chunks of text with bullet points and underlined headers. Avoid placing text over patterned backgrounds which makes it much harder to read.
- Predictable: your website should behave predictably. Always keep your navigation bar in the same place and if a link will open a new window, users should be notified in advance.
- Input Assistance: when a user needs to complete a form, make it simple for them. Provide guidance on how to complete each section. If a field is completed incorrectly give feedback and inform the user how to correct the error.
- Compatibility: your website must be compatible with assistive technology equipment, such as screen readers and assistive software which might be used by people with disabilities.
If you feel this website does not meet these accessibility standards, please contact us with your concern. If you have suggestions for ways that we can make this site even more accessible, please reach out. Suggestions welcome.
See more Guidelines and Policies.