California State University, Sacramento is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to web-based information and services. Per Executive Order 926 and coded memorandum AA-2007-04, California State University, Sacramento is working diligently to provide this access. This report outlines first year efforts made by the University Webmaster, other web developers, and the UCITA (University Committee on Information Technology Accessibility) to come into compliance with the deliverables and timeline specified by the Accessible Technology Initiative.
In order to collect background information for our Web Accessibility Implementation Plan, we compiled a cross section of 20 administrative websites. These websites represent approximately 8,000 webpages and are under the control of as many 22 web developers with a wide variety of development experience. Very few of the developers in question have any formal or extended experience in creating accessible webpages.
From these 20 websites we chose a repair sample of 20 webpages, the root-level "index" page of each of the cross sample sites. We carefully examined the AccMonitor reports and also performed a manual evaluation for each of these pages. We were able to quickly identify and repair a number of problems during the evaluation process. These fixes were not only applied to the repair sample pages in question, but in some cases were applied across all of the pages in the cross section sites represented by those pages. Fixes we were able to effect during the repair process include adding missing-alt text, creating explicit field labels for HTML forms (especially simple forms, such as search boxes), and updates to fly-out menus to allow alternate access to the links contained within those menus. As a result of this process, we were able to repair approximately 2,250 webpages that otherwise would have failed AccMonitor scans. In other cases we found pages that could not be repaired without significant design overhauls.
The primary issue causing websites to fail AccMonitor scans is missing alt-text on images. We also see frequently occurring instances of invalid forms and tables. Less frequent are instances of invalid use of multimedia plug-ins and frames. Older pages with non-standard designs cause significantly more problems than newer, template-driven pages.
Based on calculated averages of the time it has taken us to run AccMonitor scans and manual evaluations on the repair sample sites, we estimate it will take us, given current staffing, as many as 1,500 hours to evaluate the cross section websites. A rough estimate of the time required to identify and repair problems within those sites is up to 3,000 hours. Calculating the total quantity of web content on campus is difficult because campus websites are distributed across servers, many of which are not centrally managed. However, we estimate that the cross section sites represent approximately 40% of identifiable and quantifiable web content.
Clearly, meeting the 2009 deadline to make all administrative webpages accessible will be extremely difficult given current staffing and web development methodologies. Existing staff will need to be trained to use the HiSoftware suite and other tools. Additional staff will need to be hired to address web accessibility issues as demand for web services grows. In addition, significant changes must be made to campus web training and development strategies. If adopted, a software content management solution will allow us to simplify the process of creating and maintaining web content, help enforce campus look-and-feel guidelines, and enforce compliance to web accessibility standards.