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Accessibility

This site uses the Open Source Content Management System Drupal and has been designed to be completely accessible and usable, working in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG v1.0). If there is anything on this site — accessibility or validation related — that is not according to the standard, please contact the Site Administrator.

Access keys

Access keys are a navigation device enabling you to get around this web site using your keyboard.

AVAILABLE ACCESS KEYS

This site uses a setup that closely matches most international recommendations on access keys. These are:

1 — Home Page
2 — Skip to content
3 — Footer
4 — Site Map
5 — Search field focus
6 — Contact information
0 — Access Key details

Accessibility Statement

We have undertaken to use our knowledge and understanding of the ways in which different people access the Internet, to develop a web site that is clear and simple for everybody to use.

We have also endeavoured to achieve AA accessibility as measured against version 1.0 of the WCAG. We are aware however, that a number of the checkpoints of the WCAG are subjective — and although we are sure that we have met them squarely, there may be instances where interpretation may vary.

 

MHSOAC has modified it's web site to satisfy all Priority 1 and 2 guidelines, for "AA" compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. In addition, the DWR web site satisfies Section 508, Subpart B, Subsection 1194.22, Guidelines A-P of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as revised in 1998. The State of California is strongly committed to improved accessibility for all Californians.

Background

As directed by Executive Order D-17-00 issued on September 8, 2000, a comprehensive eGovernment initiative was launched that requires every agency and department to adhere to technical standards for accessible Web design and compatibility. The Accessibility Guide enables the State to utilize the best tools and design available to ensure that the content of the new California DWR Internet web site can be reached by the widest possible audience regardless of disability, limitations of computer equipment or use of alternate Internet access devices.

In addition, State accessibility guidelines enable agencies to meet State and Federal statutory requirements prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the design of both Internet and Intranet web sites. For example, California Government Code Section 11135 et seq. prohibits discrimination by entities receiving funding from the State of California.

Likewise, Federal requirements mandating access for persons with disabilities were first imposed on State recipients of Federal funding by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Today there are numerous Federal statutes and regulations extending civil rights protections to persons with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as well as the 1998 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, where specific technical requirements for accessible web design have been published by the U.S. Access Board. This is important since Title II of the ADA recognizes the importance of communication and the necessity of the State of California to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with persons with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.

Between 17% and 19% of United States citizens have some level of disability. In fact, about l out of 5 Americans have some form of disability and 1 in 10 have a severe disability. These 1997 statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau also report that with the population aging and the likelihood that disabilities can increase with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities is expected to accelerate in the coming decades. See Census Brief, December 1997.

To have effective communication with the widest audience possible, this Accessibility Guide provides assistance in how to use alternate forms of communication. Disabilities can fall into four basic categories:

  • Blind/Low Vision. Assistive computer technology for this audience includes screen readers, refreshable Braille displays and screen magnifiers. To assist with accessibility for Blind/Low Vision population, features such as keyboard navigation, scalability of font size, fuzzy searches, alt tags and high contrast between the background and the text are helpful.

  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing. To assist with accessibility for people with hearing loss, captioning synchronized with multimedia as well as volume control enable accessibility.

  • Mobility. Assistive computer technology for this audience includes one-handed keyboards, head/mouth sticks and eye tracking. Keyboard navigation as well as voice recognition software may be used by this population to help navigate through a web site.

  • Cognitive and Specific Learning Disabilities. To appeal to a highly diverse audience, with varying levels of ability, use the following design principles: Simple navigation, consistency in content presentation, clear labels, meaningful content, executive summaries at top of long documents and vocabulary understood by a wide audience.

But the digital divide does not just affect people with disabilities. People without disabilities who have busy hands or eyes, poor lighting or noisy surroundings will find the California portal very user-friendly. People with slow modems, older browsers, or those using alternate internet access devices (e.g., cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, etc.) will also benefit from a highly accessible web site. This Accessibility Guide will continue to be updated as technology evolves and new tools and resources for accessibility are developed.