SA-14-001 Website Accessibility

Issue Date:  11/01/2013

Revision Effective Date: 11/01/2013


All people should be able to enter websites owned by the State of Georgia and use site information without physical or technological challenges preventing their doing so. Numerous efforts are underway in government to ensure that all users have equal access to the Web. These website accessibility standards are intended to establish a baseline for coding and writing to ensure that all constituents have access to the information they need.


All agencies for the State of Georgia that own, create, and maintain public facing websites shall adhere to the following minimum standards for accessibility design:

1. Provide multiple alternative presentations of any information that is presented in any medium except for that in plain text (WCAG 1.0, Guideline 1, WCAG 2.0, Principle 1, or Section 508 Web Standards).  Examples of alternatives for common elements include:

  • Images need a text description in the image tag
    <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”Description of my image” >
  • Flash - use the Accessibility tools built into Flash to make text accessible, and provide text descriptions for non-text elements.
  • Video - provide a transcript of the audio, as well as a description of visual content (if applicable) of the video. HTML5 example:
    <video src=”movie.ogg”>
     <a href=”movie.txt”>get the transcript</a>
  • Audio - provide a transcript. HTML5 example:
    <audio src=”speech.mp3”>
     <a href=”movie.txt”>get the transcript of this speech</a>

2. Use cascading style sheets (CSS) based on accessibility guidelines (WCAG 1.0, Guideline 3).   Use CSS to style your pages. Not only does CSS make web development easier, but it also helps display pages properly for people with disabilities and allows those visitors to customize pages to meet their accessibility requirements. Do not use tables to control page layout; use CSS to control layout.   

3. Insert page “Skip To Content” or “Skip Navigation” links (WCAG 1.0, guideline 13 or Section 508 Web Standards).  Such a link at the top of the page allows users with screen readers or text-based browsers to skip to specific sections of a Web page.

4. Provide and test for “graceful degradation” (WCAG 1,0, Guideline 6) in order to consider the current hardware, software and Internet connection that the average Web site reader will be using. At a minimum:

     a. Design pages to ensure that they can be easily read without graphics enabled in the browser (WCAG 1.0, Guideline 1).

     b. Design the website for all major browsers.   Use analytics tools to determine the browser versions used by 85-90% of site users, and optimize the site for those browsers. While the site may not look exactly the same in lesser used browsers, ensure that key content and all navigation still functions in the non-supported web browsers.

     c. Avoid using browser plug-ins, or position the material that depends on them deeper within your site.  Do not design key parts of a web page to depend upon a third-party plug-in element. For example, the navigation should not be built in Flash, nor should the navigation rely on Javascript in order to function (WCAG 1.0, Checkpoint 6.3).  

5. Design web pages so that all information conveyed with color can also be understood without color. (e.g. Don’t just highlight errors with red text; also note it with a symbol or Error text) (WCAG 1.0, Guideline 2, and Section 508 Web Standards).

6. Organize documents so they are readable without an associated style sheet (Section 508 Web Standards).

7. Provide additional text links for any item that is linked via an image map  (Section 508 Web Standards).

8. Identify row and column headers in data tables (Section 508 Web Standards). 

9. Use markup to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers (Section 508 Web Standards).

10. If an iframe is required for functionality, it shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation (Section 508 Web Standards).

11. Do not include any text or graphic elements that flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz (e.g. blinking text of flashing graphics) (Section 508 Web Standards). 

12. When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology (Section 508 Web Standards). 

13. Online forms shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues (Section 508 Web Standards). 

14. When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required (Section 508 Web Standards).


Accessibility – Preparing web content that can be accessed by persons who:

  • May not be able to see, hear, move, or may not be able to process some types of information easily or at all;
  • May have difficulty reading or comprehending text;
  • May not have or be able to use a keyboard or mouse;
  • May have a text-only display, or a small screen.