North Light’s Accessibility Plan

North Light is committed to ensuring the accessibility of our web-based products for both professional and public users. Whenever possible, our goal is to exceed federal and industry accessibility standards in order to assure our tools are truly usable—regardless of hearing, visual, motor, or communication ability.

Assistive Technologies

For users who employ assistive technologies such as screen readers, Resource House Web applications utilize semantic HTML markup to aid navigation. The visual layout or presentation layer of each page is controlled by separate Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Separating the HTML markup from the style allows pages to be read in a text-only format should a user wish to disable the style sheets.

Page Content

Semantic HTML markup provides meaningful HTML tags that screen readers recognize. These tags let users interact with pages in flexible ways, such as jumping from one section of the page to another via quick keystrokes.

The first item on every page includes a “Skip Link” so screen reader users can jump to the main content and skip over redundant navigational links. JAWS and Window-Eyes users can use the “H” key to navigate from heading to heading. Alternatively, JAWS users can open a dialog that lists all page headings with the keystroke “Insert+F6,” while Window-Eyes users can view all headings using the “Insert+Tab” keystroke to show headings, links, form controls, and other interface elements.

Navigational Menus

Resource House main navigation menus are presented in a list format. This allows screen reader users to jump to the list of navigational links using quick keystrokes. JAWS users can use the “L” key to move to the next navigation list and then use the “I” and “SHIFT+I” to move up and down through a list. Windows-Eyes users can use the “S” key to move to the next navigation list, then the “I” and “SHIFT+I” to move up and down through a list.

Forms

Resource House products consistently use HTML label tags on every page to label each form field. This ensures that screen reader users can interact with our web-based forms. JAWS users can use the “ENTER” key to enter “Forms Mode,” and can navigate forms using a variety of quick keystrokes.

Tables

Tables are never used for page layout. Resource House products only use tables to present tabular data in a logical manner. Row and column headers are identified using HTML markup, ensuring that data displayed in table cells is meaningful to screen reader users. JAWS employs a long list of quick keystrokes that enhance users’ ability to navigate data tables in efficient fashion, whether by reading tables row by row, column by column, or cell by cell.

Meeting W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The W3C standards, version 1.0, consist of 14 general guidelines. Each guideline contains checkpoints with specific suggestions and a priority. The priorities are:

W3C Priority 1
A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
W3C Priority 2
A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
W3C Priority 3
A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

The tables on the next tab show each W3C Guideline, its Checkpoints, its Priority and how North Light satisfies these. To meet our goal of providing a highly accessible site for all users, we meet all Priority 1 and 2 guidelines. We meet Priority 3 guidelines wherever feasible. Please note that customer-provided content will also need to comply with these guidelines.

W3C Guideline 1:

Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.

Providing content that, when presented to the user, conveys essentially the same function or purpose as auditory or visual content.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
1.1 —Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content). This includes: images, graphical representations of text (including symbols), image map regions, animations (e.g., animated GIFs), applets and programmatic objects, ascii art, frames, scripts, images used as list bullets, spacers, graphical buttons, sounds (played with or without user interaction), stand-alone audio files, audio tracks of video, and video. 1 A text equivalent will be provided for every non-text element. Images which do not supply information, such as spacers, will be marked up as alt = “”

Unless otherwise requested by the customer, the following elements will not be used on the site:

  • Image maps
  • animations
  • applets
  • ascii art
  • sounds
  • stand-alone audio files
  • audio tracks of video
  • video
1.2 —Provide redundant text links for each active region of a server-side image map. 1 See above
1.3 —Until user agents can automatically read aloud the text equivalent of a visual track, provide an auditory description of the important information of the visual track of a multimedia presentation. 1 See above
1.4 —For any time-based multimedia presentation (e.g., a movie or animation), synchronize equivalent alternatives (e.g., captions or auditory descriptions of the visual track) with the presentation. 1 See above
1.5 —Until user agents render text equivalents for client-side image map links, provide redundant text links for each active region of a client-side image map. 3 See above

W3C Guideline 2:

Don’t rely on color alone.

Ensuring that text and graphics are understandable when viewed without color.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
2.1 —Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. 1 Color will not be used as the only means for providing information.
2.2 —Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. 2,3 Foreground and background color combinations will provide sufficient contrast. Alternative color schemes may be provided via style sheets.
Priority 2 for images, Priority 3 for text

W3C Guideline 3:

Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.

Marking up documents with the proper structural elements. Controlling presentation with style sheets rather than with presentation elements and attributes.

Content will be presented using valid markup. Hierarchical structure of information will be conveyed with appropriate use of HTML tags.  Style sheets will be used to format text and control layout where ever possible. Markup will not be used for the sole purpose of visual formatting in any document.

W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
3.1 —When an appropriate markup language exists, use markup rather than images to convey information. 2 Markup will be used to convey information where appropriate language exists.
3.2 —Create documents that validate to published formal grammars. 2 Since there are automated methods for validation, the utmost priority will be given to this requirement, to supersede any Priority 1 guideline in the event of a conflict. Valid, standards compliant, HTML code should be used in all cases.

Documents will validate to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

Note that content provided by customer must also validate to XHTML 1.0.

3.3 —Use style sheets to control layout and presentation. 2 Style sheets will be used to control layout and presentation only.
3.4 —Use relative rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values. 2 Relative values will be used in markup language and style sheet property values.
3.5 —Use header elements to convey document structure and use them according to specification. 2 Header elements will be used to convey document structure according to specification. Header elements will not be used for the sole purpose of visual formatting.
3.6 —Mark up lists and list items properly. 2 Lists and list items will be marked up properly. List elements will not be used for the sole purpose of visual formatting.
3.7 —Mark up quotations. Do not use quotation markup for formatting effects such as indentation. 2 Quotations will be marked up properly. Quote elements will not be used for formatting effects.

W3C Guideline 4:

Clarify natural language usage.

Using markup that facilitates pronunciation or interpretation of abbreviated or foreign text.

Using markup that facilitates pronunciation or interpretation of abbreviated or foreign text.
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
4.1 —Clearly identify changes in the natural language of a document’s text and any text equivalents (e.g., captions). 1 Any changes in language within a document will be clearly identified. Note that the content provided by the customer will need to comply with this checkpoint.
4.2 —Specify the expansion of each abbreviation or acronym in a document where it first occurs. 3 Abbreviations and acronyms will be specified where they first appear. Note that the content provided by the customer will need to comply with this checkpoint.
4.3 —Identify the primary natural language of a document. 3 The natural language of a document will be identified in the “lang” attribute.

W3C Guideline 5:

Create tables that transform gracefully.

Ensuring that tables have necessary markup to be transformed by accessible browsers and other user agents.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
5.1 —For data tables, identify row and column headers. 1 Row and column headers will be used for data tables.
5.2 —For data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers, use markup to associate data cells and header cells. 1 Markup will be used to associate data and header cells for data tables that have two or more levels
5.3 —Do not use tables for layout unless the table makes sense when linearized. Otherwise, if the table does not make sense, provide an alternative equivalent (which may be a linearized version). 2 Tables will not be used for layout.
5.4 —If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the purpose of visual formatting. 2 Markup will not be used for the sole purpose of visual formatting in any document.
5.5 —Provide summaries for tables. 3 Summaries will be provided for data tables in the table tag.
5.6 —Provide abbreviations for header labels. 3 Abbreviations will be provided via the “abbr” attribute in the TH element.

W3C Guideline 6:

Ensure that pages are accessible even when newer technologies are not supported or are turned off.

Using Cascading Style Sheets and ensuring accessibility when using newer technologies.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
6.1 —Organize documents so they may be read without style sheets. For example, when an HTML document is rendered without associated style sheets, it must still be possible to read the document. 1 Documents will be organized in a logical, linear fashion so that the document can be read without style sheets.
6.2 —Ensure that equivalents for dynamic content are updated when the dynamic content changes. 1 Applets, programmatic objects and frames will not be used in the site. Scripts will not be the sole method of delivering content.
6.3 —Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or not supported. If this is not possible, provide equivalent information on an alternative accessible page. 1 Applets, programmatic objects and frames will not be used in the site. Scripts will not be the sole method of delivering content.
6.4 —For scripts and applets, ensure that event handlers are input device-independent. 2 Event handlers that do more than change presentation will be device independent. Redundant input handlers will be provided for input mechanisms as:

  1. “onmousedown” with “onkeydown”.
  2. “onmouseup” with “onkeyup”
  3. “onclick” with “onkeypress”

Except where application level event attributes such as “onfocus”, “onblur”  and “onselect” are used.

6.5 —Ensure that dynamic content is accessible or provide an alternative presentation or page. 2 Dynamic content which would not be provided to all audiences will not be on the site.

W3C Guideline 7:

Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.

Ensuring that moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating objects or pages may be paused or stopped.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
7.1 —Until user agents allow users to control flickering, avoid causing the screen to flicker. 1 There will be nothing on the site to cause flickering, i.e. animated graphics or Flash movies. “Blink” and “marquee” tags will not be used.
7.2 —Until user agents allow users to control blinking, avoid causing content to blink (i.e., change presentation at a regular rate, such as turning on and off). 2 There will be nothing on the site to cause blinking, see above.
7.3 —Until user agents allow users to freeze moving content, avoid movement in pages. 2 See above
7.4 —Until user agents provide the ability to stop the refresh, do not create periodically auto-refreshing pages. 2 There will be no auto refresh on the site.
7.5 —Until user agents provide the ability to stop auto-redirect, do not use markup to redirect pages automatically. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects. 2 Where redirect is required, it will be performed server side.

W3C Guideline 8:

Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.

Embedded user interfaces will not be used.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
8.1 —Make programmatic elements such as scripts and applets directly accessible or compatible with assistive technologies functionality. 1,2 Embedded user interfaces will not be used on the site. Where scripts are used for user interfaces, they will be accessible (See 6.4). Priority 1 if functionality is important and not presented elsewhere, otherwise Priority 2.

W3C Guideline 9:

Design for device-independence.

Using features that enable activation of page elements via a variety of input devices.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
9.1 —Provide client-side image maps instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. 1 Image maps will not be used on the site.
9.2 —Ensure that any element that has its own interface can be operated in a device-independent manner. 2 See 8.1 above
9.3 —For scripts, specify logical event handlers rather than device-dependent event handlers. 2 See 6.4 above
9.4 —Create a logical tab order through links, form controls, and objects. [Priority 3]
For example, in HTML, specify tab order via the “tabindex” attribute or ensure a logical page design.
3 Content will be presented in a logical order.  “Tabindex” will be assigned to form elements if default tab order is not presented in a linear fashion.
9.5 —Provide keyboard shortcuts to important links (including those in client-side image maps), form controls, and groups of form controls. 3 Links will be provided throughout the pages which allow the users to skip to and bypass blocks of information.

W3C Guideline 10:

Use interim solutions.

Using interim accessibility solutions so that assistive technologies and older browsers will operate correctly.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
10.1 —Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user 2 New windows will not be launched except where absolutely necessary to facilitate a process.  Where it is necessary to load content in a new window, the user will be notified.
10.2 —Until user agents support explicit associations between labels and form controls, for all form controls with implicitly associated labels, ensure that the label is properly positioned. 2 Labels will be appropriately positioned by form controls.  Labels will be designated as such via markup.
10.3 —Until user agents (including assistive technologies) render side-by-side text correctly, provide a linear text alternative (on the current page or some other) for all tables that lay out text in parallel, word-wrapped columns. 3 See 5.3 above
10.4 —Until user agents handle empty controls correctly, include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas. 3 It may be necessary to deviate from this guideline in order to generate valid results. The audience which would be negatively impacted by this is anticipated to be very small.
10.5 —Until user agents (including assistive technologies) render adjacent links distinctly, include non-link, printable characters (surrounded by spaces) between adjacent links. 3 This checkpoint conflicts with Guideline 3.2. which states that the document validate to published standards (XHTML 1.0 Transitional). Therefore, non-link printable characters will not be placed between adjacent links.

W3C Guideline 11:

Use W3C technologies and guidelines.

Using W3C technologies (according to specification) and following accessibility guidelines.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
11.1 —Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported. 2 The site will use the latest W3C technologies and version available at the time development is launched.
11.2 —Avoid deprecated features of W3C technologies. 2 Deprecated markup will not be used. See 3.2 above.
11.3 —Provide information so that users may receive documents according to their preferences (e.g., language, content type, etc.) 3 Where translations of pages are available, a link will be provided.  Content type and language will be marked up in the header
11.4 —If, after best efforts, you cannot create an accessible page, provide a link to an alternative page that uses W3C technologies, is accessible, has equivalent information (or functionality), and is updated as often as the inaccessible (original) page. 1 If it is necessary to create an alternative page that uses W3C, it will be developed in such a way to use the same content as the inaccessible to ensure that it will be up to date.

W3C Guideline 12:

Provide context and orientation information.

Providing context and orientation information to help users understand complex pages or elements.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
12.1 —Title each frame to facilitate frame identification and navigation. 1 Frames will not be used on the site without express approval of all parties.
12.2 —Describe the purpose of frames and how frames relate to each other if it is not obvious by frame titles alone. 2 See above
12.3 —Divide large blocks of information into more manageable groups where natural and appropriate. 2 Markup will be used to group information into manageable information.  For example, where large forms are used, like groups of information will be grouped with “fieldsets”.
12.4 —Associate labels explicitly with their controls. 2 See 10.2 above.

W3C Guideline 13:

Provide clear navigation mechanisms.

Providing clear and consistent navigation mechanisms—orientation information, navigation bars, a site map, etc.—to increase the likelihood that a person will find what they are looking for at a site.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
13.1 —Clearly identify the target of each link. 2 Where appropriate, provide additional information about a link via the title attribute.
13.2 —Provide metadata to add semantic information to pages and sites. 2 Meta tags will be created for key pages in the site.
13.3 —Provide information about the general layout of a site (e.g., a site map or table of contents). 2 Unless requested by the customer, a site map or table of contents will not be provided in the site.
13.4 —Use navigation mechanisms in a consistent manner. 2 Clear, consistent, accessible navigational mechanisms will be used throughout the site.
13.5 —Provide navigation bars to highlight and give access to the navigation mechanism. 3 Navigation bars will be used throughout the site.
13.6 —Group related links, identify the group (for user agents), and, until user agents do so, provide a way to bypass the group. 3 See 10.5 above.  Additionally, links will be provided for screen reader users to bypass groups of navigation.
13.7 —If search functions are provided, enable different types of searches for different skill levels and preferences. 3 Content will be provided by customer
13.8 —Place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc. 3 Content will be provided by customer
13.9 —Provide information about document collections (i.e., documents comprising multiple pages.). 3 Document collections will not be used on the site in the manner described in the checkpoint.
13.10 —Provide a means to skip over multi-line ASCII art. 3 ASCII art will not be used on the site.

W3C Guideline 14:

Ensure that documents are clear and simple.

Ensuring that documents are clear and simple so they may be more easily understood.

 
W3C Guideline Checkpoints W3C Priority North Light Compliance
14.1 —Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site’s content. 1 Content will be provided by customer
14.2 —Supplement text with graphic or auditory presentations where they will facilitate comprehension of the page. 3 See 1.1 above.
14.3 —Create a style of presentation that is consistent across pages. 3 Site will use style sheets as well as a consistent navigational and layout structure throughout. Navigation will be available on all pages.