Web for all - new website accessibility requirements for California state agencies


By Alison Mostert
Information Techology

Beginning July 1, 2019, state agencies and state entities are required to post on their website home pages a certification that the website complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine a day without the internet. It informs us, helps us communicate with others, and allows us to easily and quickly perform numerous transactions. The internet has literally transformed the way we develop and maintain personal relationships and public services. It has also inadvertently created barriers for people with disabilities.

When websites are properly designed and coded, people with different kinds of disabilities have the same access to information and services as everyone else. Web accessibility requirements ensure we are developing our websites with everyone in mind and that we remove barriers to the information and services Caltrans provides. Compliance with AB 434, Baker. State Web accessibility: standard and reports demonstrates the commitment of California state agencies to develop websites that are accessible, usable, and inclusive. It’s a requirement, but what does that mean for Caltrans?

It means we need to code and design our website to make all content accessible to people with disabilities so that:

  • People with color blindness have options (other than color) to indicate what is required in a field or is the next step in a process.
  • People using speech recognition software will be able to move through the page in a logical sequence and the information they hear will make sense.
  • People who cannot hear will be able to read closed-captioning video content, or are provided with a written transcript.
  • People using a keyboard will be able to move around the page in the correct order and not lose context.
  • People with visual conditions can enlarge text or have the option to increase font size.
  • The documents available on our websites are accessible as well.

At Caltrans, we are currently evaluating our websites for accessibility issues, educating and training staff on different aspects of accessibility, updating and testing our code, and evaluating tools to automate some portions of accessible design for all our websites. We are preparing for the monumental task of making our websites and web documents accessible to everyone.

Stay tuned for updates - they will be sent as we make progress on our accessibility goals.

For questions about accessibility at Caltrans, contact the Project Manager, Elise Shepard, at (916) 651-9946 or elise.shepard@dot.ca.gov, or Alison Mostert, at (916) 440-0578 or alison.mostert@dot.ca.gov.