ADA Website Transition Plan
Accessibility is one of the most important parts of creating web services because when you improve the online experience for people with disabilities, you improve usability for all. In addition, you enhance trust in government, drive innovation, and extend service reach. The City of Wheat Ridge is committed to online accessibility for all who use city websites, and has prepared this transition plan to identify online barriers to accessibility and opportunities to remove those barriers for people with disabilities through website modification and employee training. The plan assists with a long-term strategic approach to continue improvements to the accessibility of city run and maintained websites.
This policy is in response to HB21-1110, which makes it a state civil rights violation for a government agency to exclude people with disabilities from receiving services or benefits because of lack of accessibility. HB21-1110 was passed in July 2021, to establish statewide accessibility standards that all local, regional, and state government agencies must meet by July 1, 2024. Agencies, and the vendor partners they use to provide services, are required to provide a platform that is compliant with the most recently published Worldwide Consortium, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, W3C WCAG standards. This means the city is responsible for WCAG compliance in the creation and publication of any online content and materials, including (but not limited to) text, links, images, forms, PDFs, documents, and embedded third-party applications.
In addition to the main city website www.ci.wheatridge.co.us, the City of Wheat Ridge owns/maintains several other websites that must also achieve WCAG compliance. These include the following:
Any Colorado government entity that doesn’t meet the Office of Information Technology’s web accessibility standards could be subject to injunctive relief, meaning a court order to fix the problem; actual monetary damages; or a fine of $3,500 payable to the plaintiff, who must be someone from the disability community.
The policy mandates that the City of Wheat Ridge will begin the remediation process of existing technology, procure accessible online technology, and coordinate training and policy modification efforts throughout the city via the Communications and Engagement Manager.
By July 1, 2024, the City of Wheat Ridge must be in full compliance with WCAG 2.2 AA Guidelines in the creation and publication of any online content and materials; including, but not limited to text, links, images, forms, PDFs, documents, and embedded third-party applications.
The policy incorporates the WCAG guidelines, that are based on four core principles:
- Perceivable - this refers to how users perceive content online through their senses of sight, sound, and touch. This includes video captions, text that can be adjusted for contrast, color, text size and spacing, font, and similar factors that make it easier to read.
- Operable - operability means the ways that someone can use the site. It’s particularly relevant to people with motor disabilities, weak muscles, injured limbs, etc. An operable site needs to be navigable entirely by keyboard, sight-assisted navigation, and other alternatives to a classic mouse.
- Understandable - understandable sites are accessible for everyone to understand. They don’t use many technical terms or complex jargon, don’t have complicated instructions that are difficult to follow, and have consistent directions that won't confuse readers.
- Robust - there are two factors for a robust site: Using clean HTML and CSS code that meets recognized standards Being compatible with assistive tools that people with disabilities use to browse online.
To incorporate these principles the city will:
Work to remediate existing content and digital assets such as images without alternative text, video recordings without captions, untagged PDF files, and improperly anchored links. This includes both website content and social media content.
- Train city staff who creates content to build documents, webpages, and all digital content to be accessible moving forward.
- Check for WCAG compliance for all applications that run on city-maintained websites but are sourced by third-party vendors.
- Official confirmation that all third-party vendors are WCAG compliant is required. If confirmation is unavailable, negotiation to achieve compliance may be necessary. If negotiation is unsuccessful, it may be necessary to find a new service vendor.
Check list for web administrators:
- Check the HTML of all current and new webpages to ensure accessible coding is used.
- Ensure website can be viewed or displayed using the color and font settings of each visitor’s browser and operating system.
- Add “alt” tags or long descriptions for all images, logos, icons, and graphics on the website.
- Ensure hyperlinked text on all web pages has descriptive HTML tags.
- Provide HTML or a text-based format for all PDF documents posted on the website.
- Ensure videos published on our website compliant by providing:
- Audio descriptions of images to include changes in setting, gestures, and other details.
- Audio descriptions of sounds and musical interludes, when applicable.
- Provide text captions (closed captioning) synchronized with the video images to ensure videos and audio tracks are accessible
Timeline and Important Dates:
- In 2020 the city began a review of its online accessibility barriers for persons with disabilities may face online.
- In 2022 the City enlisted the services of Civic Plus, to provide a revamp to the city website. With the help of the Website Administrative team.
- A newly redesigned city website published February 2023 conforms to ADA requirements.
- Existing web content published prior to August 1, 2020, is either archived or modified to conform to ADA requirements to the maximum extent feasible by July 2023.
- City technologists, content creators, department heads, identified department liaisons, and authors of public documents will comply with the policy as of July 2024.
- The Communications and Engagement Manager, which established the City’s ADA Online Accessibility Policy requests the approval of City Management on the ADA Web Transition Plan.
- New technology procured for public use complies with the policy beginning July 2024.
- Regularly scheduled audits will ensure continued compliance.
Meeting the new OIT ADA standards will require extensive manual efforts to remediate the city’s existing websites and social media content. All photos and images used on any digital platform must be checked and alt text added if it’s missing. All existing PDFs must also be checked and individually optimized for accessibility. Remediation must initially be prioritized based on the frequency and volume of traffic to the content.
The city anticipates complete implementation of the ADA Transition Plan by July 1, 2024, in alignment with the requirements of CO HB21-1110.
The city recognizes that public participation is an important component in the development of its Transition Plan. Input from the community will be key to the policy’s success. Public outreach and ongoing testing for compliance will consist of the following:
- Annual testing using WAVE
- Enlist disability groups to test our pages for ease of use.
- Update notice stating that the city’s website is ADA compliant and offer a form to submit requests for information or services, give input or feedback on how accessibility can be improved.
- When updating web pages, remember to ensure that updates are accessible. For example, when images change, the text equivalents in “alt” tags and long descriptions need to be changed so they match the new images.
- Ensure key staff and contractors responsible for website receive ongoing training to stay current on ADA compliance standards and requirements.
This plan will be made available for public comment. A summary of comments received and detailed information regarding the public outreach activities will be listed below.