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  Accessibility Policy

This Web site was designed by, the official state Web site managed by NIC Inc. The Web site was designed and adheres to the accessibility policy set forth below.


In response to the need to insure equal access to electronic and information technologies, has developed a set of standards for Web page design. Just as environmental obstacles have inhibited individuals with disabilities, the Web poses an entirely new set of obstacles. In recognition of those individuals with visual, physical or developmental disabilities has adopted a policy to make government information accessible to all.

It has been estimated that 54 million people or 20.6 percent of all Americans have some level of disability. According to the Disability Statistics Center:

  1. People with disabilities will work in greater numbers, in part because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Between 1991 and 1994, the number of disabled Americans employed increased by more than 1.1 million, according to the Census Bureau. Employment rates for young adults with severe disabilities are triple that of their older counterparts.
  2. Education rates for people with disabilities are increasing: 75 percent of them finished high school in 1994, up from 60% in 1986; their college enrollment leapt from 29 percent to 44 percent.
  3. Technological advances are eliminating many of the physical and informational barriers that have long existed for people with disabilities.
  4. Public awareness of disability issues is growing and changing.
  5. America's population is aging, and disability increases with age. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to increase 135% between 1995 and 2050, according to the Census Bureau.

Instructions will be provided for individuals with disabilities, visual disabilities and for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Design Standards

These standards are influenced by those recommended by the W3C and Access Board Section 508 Guidelines. The Access Board is responsible for developing the standards outlined by the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1998. Universal design calls for appropriate use auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure communication. has adopted the Design of HTML Pages to increase accessibility to users with disabilities as the primary guideline to meet the objectives of the Universal Access for State Design policy. These published guidelines are maintained by professionals trained in the area of assistive and information technology. embraces these standards and will be evaluating our site on a regular basis, increasing the opportunity for all individuals to access information over the Internet. The Universal Access Design Standards are being integrated into and will continue to evolve as new technologies and opportunities emerge.

  1. A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided via "alt" (alternative text attribute), "longdesc" (long description tag), or in element content.
  2. Web pages shall be designed so that all information required for navigation or meaning is not dependent on the ability to identify specific colors.
  3. Changes in the natural language (e.g., English to French) of a document's text and any text equivalents shall be clearly identified.
  4. Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
  5. Web pages shall update equivalents for dynamic content whenever the dynamic content changes.
  6. Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.
  7. Client-side image maps shall be used whenever possible in place of server-side image maps.
  8. Data tables shall provide identification of row and column headers.
  9. Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.
  10. Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.
  11. Pages shall be usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or are not supported, or shall provide equivalent information on an alternative accessible page.
  12. Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.
  13. An appropriate method shall be used to facilitate the easy tracking of page content that provides users of assistive technology the option to skip repetitive navigation links
  14. Background colors will be avoided since color schemes can create problems with legibility.
  15. Multiple browser testing will be conducted on the current versions of Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer and Lynx.

In addition to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the portal recognizes Section 508 standards are more specific in specific areas:

  • Flicker 1194.22 (j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.
  • Skip Navigation 1194.22 (o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.
  • Timed Responses 1194.22 (p) When a timed response is required, a user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.

Assessment, Testing and Repair Methods

In order to assure maximum effectiveness of our online information and services, an Accessibility Team has been created to discover, define, and document accessibility issues regarding the portal to help meet these requirements of Section 508.

The portal agrees to evaluate various tools designed to assess and repair existing html. Currently there are four areas where Web tools apply to Section 508: a) assessment, b) repair c) Creation, and d) transformation. Assessment tools report discrepancies in the code that determine whether an existing site is compliant. Repair tools modify Web pages to meet the standards. Creation tools are used to create new pages that comply with the standards. Transformation tools, or assistive technology, assist the end user in reading a Web site.

User testing with individuals with disabilities is a vital part of the accessibility initiative. The portal will independently test users with various disabilities to evaluate the accessibility of the content and services available on the portal. The appropriate assistive technologies will be used in these tests based on specific disabilities and the results of the tests will be used to make repairs and improvements to the portal.

NOTE: While the content and services located directly on the portal comply, the portal cannot guarantee that links to sites outside the portal architecture are accessible. The portal is not responsible for those entities. State agencies interested in developing accessible sites are offered training and tools by the portal and are responsible for their own Web sites.

RESOURCES: - this site provides tools to help visually disabled users whose screen reader software is not compatible with the Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0. These online tools convert PDF documents into either HTML or ASCII text, which can then be read by a number of common screen reader programs. These tools approximate the logical reading order of the text in an Adobe PDF document and reformat it into a single column of text.

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Access Board

Section 508

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