The Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT) requires IA office web content managers to ensure that all documentation published for display on the public IndianAffairs.gov website are accessible to individuals with disabilities at the time of posting or distribution.
Read Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a law that we must abide by.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) strives to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same services and content that are available to people without disabilities, including services and content made available through the use of information technology (IT). IT procured, developed, maintained, and used by the IA should provide substantially similar functionality, experience, and information access to individuals with disabilities as it provides to others.
The Section 508 standards are the technical requirements and criteria that are used to measure conformance with the law. More information on Section 508 and the technical standards can be found at Section508.gov.
Diversity of Abilities
There are many reasons why people may be experiencing varying degrees of auditory, cognitive, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. For instance, some may have disabilities from birth, an illness, disease, or accident, or they may develop impairments with age. Some may not consider themselves to have disabilities even if they do experience such functional limitations.
Each individual is unique
People have diverse abilities, skills, tools, preferences, and expectations that can impact how they use the Web. For instance, consider the following aspects:
- Age-related impairments: Many people develop age-related impairments. While they share the same functional requirements as others with disabilities, sometimes there are significant differences in the use of assistive technologies, the level of computer skills, or in the use of the Web in general.
- Multiple disabilities: Some people have combinations of different kinds of disabilities, which may limit their approaches for interacting with the Web. For instance, someone who is deaf and has low vision might benefit from captions for audio, but only if these captions have adjustable size and color.
- Health conditions: Some people have health conditions that may affect their stamina, dexterity, or concentration. For instance, some may experience fatigue, pain, or other symptoms that could have an impact on their physical use of the computer or limit the duration or extent of their use of the Web.
- Changing abilities: Some people may be experiencing progressive or recurring functional limitations that impact their use of the Web differently at different times. For instance, some may need particular accessibility features on one day, and others or none on another day, depending on their condition.
- Temporary impairments: Some people may be experiencing temporary impairments such as those that may occur due to an accident, surgery, or medication. They may not know about accessibility solutions, may not know how to use accessibility features, and may be unaware of their needs.
- Situational limitations: Some people may be experiencing constraints due to their surrounding or due to other situational aspects. For instance, they may be in a loud environment and unable to hear audio, in bright sunlight and unable to see a screen, or they may not be able to afford some technologies.
Websites and web tools designed for people with a broad range of abilities benefit everyone, including people without disabilities. It is, therefore, important to consider the broad diversity of functional needs rather than to categorize people according to medical classifications. Diversity of Web Users
In January 2017, the U.S. Access Board issued the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines, updating its existing Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ("508 Standards"), and the Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines under Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934 ("255 Guidelines").
Here at IA we follow WCAG2.0 AA as our standard for accessibility. In addition, IA utilizes the Content Management System (CMS) Drupal to manage www.bia.gov. Drupal is an accessible tool for building websites that can also be accessed by people with disabilities. The Drupal intitiatve started with advancements with Drupal 7 accessibility and it has been committed to ensuring that all features of Drupal core conform with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines: WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0.
Accessibility is one of the most important aspects of modern web development. Accessibility means the greatest number of users can view your content. It means search engines will be able to read your site more completely. Users of all types will have a better experience if you take accessibility concerns into account. And least of all, it is a required by law (36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1194) for all federal Electronic and Information (EIT) products to be accessible (with a few minor exceptions).
Every member of our content editors team should be aware of what accessibility concerns are and a basic understanding of how they are addressed.
If you have any questions about accessibility or would like help please reach out to the IA Section 508 Coordinator:
Office of Information Management Technology
Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs