The OpenCCC account creation and CCCApply college application platforms underwent web accessibility evaluations this past year and now include greater support for potential students with disabilities registering and applying to colleges. The initial focus and remediation efforts addressed specific accessibility issues in both platforms resulting in improvements when interacting by keyboard or when using various assistive technologies (i.e., screen-readers, speech input, screen-magnification, etc.).
Accessibility evaluations and development will continue for both platforms with a goal of meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA (WCAG 2.0, AA). Further, a web page identifying the accessibility of the platforms is now publicly available along with contact information for individuals to report an accessibility issue when completing either the OpenCCC or CCCApply applications.
Overview of Remediated Issues
The OpenCCC and CCCApply platforms use images to communicate college branding as well as identify progress through the application process. Images that provide information or add context now include descriptive text to improve the user experience. Images that are for visual design only have been modified so they do not speak incorrect information when encountered by screen-reader applications.
Form labels provide a mechanism by which assistive technologies can associate a form field with the associated on-screen text question. All form fields, including text entry, radio buttons, checkboxes, and drop-down menus, were reviewed and modified as needed to programmatically associate the form field with its corresponding on-screen text question. As a result, when using assistive technology and focus is set to a form field, the appropriate text question will be communicated back to the applicant.
English Hover Help Text
Both the OpenCCC and CCCApply platforms were designed to include Hover Help on various form fields to assist potential students in creating a new account or completing the college application process, as well as to provide a language translation of the form field instructions in Spanish. A challenge with the Hover Help text was that it would only respond to the use of a mouse and was not supported reliably by assistive technologies. Therefore, in order to comply with screenreaders, keyboard users and other assistive technologies:
1) We changed the way on-screen text label is programmatically linked to its respective form field, so the English Hover Help content was redundant and no longer necessary. Thus, English Hover Help text was removed from form fields in which it is no longer relevant, specifically, Yes/No radio buttons, checkboxes, and dropdown menus.
2) Hover Help text is retained for certain text input form fields as that Hover Help contains additional instructions for completing that form field accurately. In fields where Hover Help is retained, the new implementation is usable from the keyboard and will be read by assistive technologies in addition to the on-screen text labels.
3) To meet the need of providing a language translation of the form field instruction in Spanish, only the English Hover Help text was removed at this time.
Error and Explanatory Dialog Windows
Error and explanatory dialog windows appear throughout the application as pop-up windows that require user interaction before returning to the main screen. Such dialog windows may provide clarification of terms or indicate to the user of inaccurate or incorrect information entered during the application process. These error and explanatory dialog windows have been modified to support assistive technologies and, when closed, return the individual back to the original location on the web page. If the dialog window is due to an input error, then the focus will be returned to the form field that is not correct. This is particularly advantageous for applicants using the keyboard, screen-readers, or screen-magnification solutions such that focus is placed back to the relevant content when the dialog window is closed.
As part of the review process, color contrast was reviewed and modified to meet the contrast requirements indicated per the WCAG 2.0, AA criteria. While these changes do not affect the color palettes for a college's logo or branding, changes were made to buttons, hyperlinks, and other elements necessary for use during the application process. Color contrast will be reviewed continually as the design and appearance of the OpenCCC and CCCApply platforms evolve.
Accessibility Web Page
A web page providing accessibility information was created and posted for the OpenCCC account creation application and the CCCApply application; in both locations, the accessibility information is identical and available via a hyperlink from the page footer. The OpenCCC accessibility page is public facing whereas the CCCApply accessibility page requires authentication prior to viewing.
The accessibility page contains information specific to website accessibility, including common keyboard commands for web browsers and contact information for reporting an accessibility issue. The contact information includes an e-mail address specific for accessibility reporting and a phone, TTY, and physical campus address.