ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliance Statement


The County of Santa Barbara is committed to the universal accessibility of information made available through the website. This commitment includes efforts to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is the responsibility of the department or agency and its web page developers to become familiar with the guidelines for achieving universal accessibility and to apply these principles in designing and creating any Official County department website.


The use of the guidelines below will encourage that websites created by the County are developed to serve the largest possible audience. Compliance with these guidelines provides an added benefit to those users with text-based browsers, low-end processors, slow modem connections and/or no multi-media capabilities on their computer.


Design Guidelines


This policy provides a set of established guidelines and a checklist of design requirements, which provides a quick reference for numerous design issues.


The Advisory Committee for E-Government (ACE) will make reasonable efforts to adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to meet the objectives of the Universal Accessibility for County Web Site policy. These guidelines explain how and why to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all Web content developers (page authors and site designers) and for developers using authoring tools. The primary goal of these guidelines is to promote accessibility. However, following them will also make Web content more available to all users, whatever user agent they are using (e.g., desktop browser, voice browser, mobile phone, automobile-based personal computer, etc.) or constraints they may be operating under (e.g., noisy surroundings, under- or over-illuminated rooms, in a hands-busy environment, etc.). Following these guidelines will also help people find information on the Web more quickly. These guidelines do not discourage content developers from using images, video, etc., but rather explain how to make multimedia content more accessible to a wide audience.


The County will make reasonable efforts to comply with the WCAG Conformance Level "A" which means that all Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied.


Checklist of Design Recommendations


The following checklist list has been compiled from various sources. Some of the items in this checklist are categorized as Priority 2 checkpoints in the WCAG. The purpose of this list is to provide a summary of the types of issues to consider when creating and designing accessible HTML pages. Please note that not all of the requirements are yet supported by all browsers, but the rendering of your page in current browsers will not be adversely affected by their use.


Universal Design

1. Maintain a standard page layout and navigation method throughout the web site.

2. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure.

3. Avoid the unnecessary use of icons, graphics and photographs.

4. Use plain backgrounds and simple layouts to improve the readability of text.

5. 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.

6. Provide a text-only index or site map of your site.

7. Include textual as well as graphical navigation aids.

8. Do not abbreviate dates; for example, use December 1, 2000 rather than 12/1/00.

9. Ensure that dynamic content is accessible or provide an alternative presentation or page.

10. Animated graphics or images should not move continuously. Let the animation run four to five times and then stop in a meaningful place.

11. Test your web pages with a variety of web technologies; including, but not limited to, graphical browsers with the images turned off, browsers with JavaScript disabled, a text based browser, using only your keyboard, and using assistive technology.

12. Avoid the use of HTML tags or extensions, which are supported by only one browser.

13. Check web pages and images at different monitor resolutions, monitor sizes and color depth settings.

14. Hyperlinks to downloadable files should include a text description that includes the file size and file type.

15. You may consider the development of a text-only version of the document or site to facilitate access not only by people with visual impairments, but users of non-graphical browsers or slow Internet connections. Keep in mind, however, this option requires considerable resources and discipline to keep the two versions of the content in sync.


Text-Based Design

1. End all sentences, headers, list items, etc. with a period or other suitable punctuation.

2. Avoid using side by side presentation of text, for example, columns and tables.

3. Minimize the number of hyperlinks that appear in a single line of text. One hyperlink is best; consider using vertical lists for links wherever possible.

4. Avoid/limit the use of bitmap images of text, unless a textual alternative is also provided.

5. Consider beginning lists with a descriptive identifier and the number of items so the users will have an idea of what the list represents and the total length of the list. Using numbers instead of bullets will also help the user to remember items that interest them.

6. Provide meaningful and descriptive text for hyperlinks, don't use short hand, e.g. "click here"; instead "Follow this link to our News Page". (Screen readers can search specifically for linked text; "click here" provides no indication of where the link will take them.)

7. If documents are provided in a specialized format, e.g. PDF (Portable Document Format), etc., provide the equivalent text in plain text or HTML format. This enables sight impaired individuals to use reader software to hear the text.

8. Adobe Acrobat PDF format may be used when content is by its nature graphical, such as maps or images. There may be other situations in which this is the only available means of presenting the material. In these cases, if possible, the originating department should provide the information as text, html, or another format, which can be converted to create an html version, to be presented along with the pdf.


If this is not possible, then the html page containing the pdf link should describe what is in the pdf, and include information on an alternative way of obtaining the information, such as the name and phone number of a departmental contact.


Graphics and Images

1. Keep the number of colors in your images to a minimum.

2. Minimize the file size and number of images you display on any one page.

3. Design your background image at the lowest color depth and resolution you can.

4. Ensure that text can always be clearly read at any location against the background.

5. Provide an alternate text-based method of selecting options when image maps are used, e.g., separate HTML page or menu bar.

6. Use the ALT attribute with image tags to provide associated, meaningful, text for all images, pictures and graphical bullets.

7. Consider using the "longdesc" attribute of the IMG tag to specify a link to a long description of the image. This description should supplement the short description provided using the ALT attribute. When the image has an associated image map, this attribute should provide information about the image map's contents.

8. If image files are used for graphical bullets in place of standard HTML, it is best to use a bullet character like an asterisk "*" or "o" in the ALT= text field of the tag (rather than describing the bullet as: "This is a small purple square").


Audio/Visual Features

1. Provide text transcriptions of all video clips.

2. If possible include captions or text tracts with a description or sounds of the movie.

3. Provide descriptive passages about speakers and events being shown through video clips.

4. Give a written description of any critical information that is contained in audio files contained on your web site.

5. If you link to an audio file, inform the user of the audio file format and file size in kilobytes.


Scripts, Applets and Plug-ins

1. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.