DingDing is committed to ensuring accessibility of its Website for disabled people and provides an increasing number of online services. One of our core activities is to provide impartial information about public transport via a variety of media.
The Web's emergence as a pivotal form of Information and Communications Technology always raises interesting questions about application of existing laws and policies to this new medium, and the importance of all members of society, including disabled people, being able to access this information medium.
DingDing's vision is that information users have a right to expect:
- information that's easily accessible, timely, accurate and relevant, and appropriate to their needs
- to receive information through the appropriate media; and
- to exert choice and control over the information they receive
No one should be denied access to information or learning because of a disability
DingDing believes that disabled people should be able to access information as easily as non-disabled people and recognises that providing equality of access may mean providing information services in different ways.
The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) Part III requires service providers to make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people to enable them to access services, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way they provide their services' - this includes information and services provided through the web: promotional, recruitment and general information.
The SEN (Special Educational Needs) and Disability Rights in Education Act 2001. Ensures that Discrimination against disabled people in the provision of education, training and other related services is now unlawful. Institutions/educational service providers will be expected to anticipate disabled students' needs and make 'reasonable adjustments' to core activities of teaching and learning. Students who feel that they have been discriminated against could seek redress through courts.
Disabled people may need to use adaptive technologies such as screen readers, Braille displays, voice recognition software, alternative keyboard/mouse, etc. to view web pages; these technologies require pages to be created in accessible HTML. An 'accessible website' will successfully communicate its information to anyone whatever the browsing device or adaptive technologies being used.
It is the policy of DingDing to make reasonable adjustments in order to make all its web-based information and services accessible and equally effective to all users, regardless of their disability. DingDing requires adherence to high priority level accessibility as specified by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines set out world recognised good practice guidelines for accessible web design - split into high, medium and low priority levels of accessibility (i.e. essential, preferred, ideal)
To meet W3C's minimum (High Priority) requirements, DingDing's website pages need to satisfy the following elements:
- Text equivalents are provided for all Visual information including images and animations, image maps, graphs and charts, applets, etc - longer descriptions used where images convey important information.
- For Hypertext links: text should be used that makes sense when read out of context
- Any Movements on screen (e.g. scrolling, blinking etc) can be paused or stopped
- Cascading stylesheets are used to control appearances and presentation
- Alternative content provided for scripts, applets, and plug-ins as active features may be inaccessible/unsupported
- The use of colour alone to convey meaning is avoided and colour combinations are used with care
- The use of frames is avoided but, if they are used, use titles in each frame and noframe option.
- If using tables, line-by-line reading should make sense and content should be summarised.
- Work is checked and validated by use of tools, checks and guidelines provided at www.w3c.org/TR/WCAG.
It is our policy that new and updated Web content produced by our organisation will conform to W3C/WAI's web content accessibility guidelines, conformance level AAA. We will include links to these policies. We will review this policy in the future to consider updating it to an advanced version of W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines once available.
All newly created pages must adhere to the minimum accessiblity requirements. As older pages are periodically updated they must be made accessible within the terms of the guidelines.
We've worked hard to make DingDing accessible to the widest number of users, and to meet or exceed our obligations, both legal and moral, but it is our strong conviction that accessibility is never a finished job, and we are constantly working to implement emerging best practice and to meet evolving user requirements.
Some of the specifc steps we've taken are:
- Navigation is structurally and positionally consistent, and a link to skip directly to page content is provided. Hotkey alternatives to click navigation have been considered and rejected based on our observations of users interacting with the site.
- Page markup is validated as standards-compliant, and has been carefully conceived for semantic sense. Tables, frames and clientside-generated markup are not used.
- Style sheets are used for all presentation and can be over-ridden by the user.
- Images are alt-tagged, and the site is fully usable with images disabled
- Forms have been authored with properly-placed
<label>tags, control names and default text, nad are tab-ordered.
- The site remains usable whether or not client-side scripting is disabled
- The requirements of users with colour vision defects have been considered at all points, and colour is never used as a sole means of communicating information.
- While retaining an harmonious overall page appearance, body copy text is high-contrast black on white.
Every page in the parents', teachers' and professionals' sites should validate mechanically against W3C tools as standards-compliant XHTML and CSS. Every page should pass automated accessibility validation both with Bobby / webXact and Cynthia.
At present, some of the games in the kids section may not be suitable for users with visual impairments and some are unsuitable for users with motor impairments. In the nature of games, it is difficult to offer challenging gameplay to any possible user, so our goals are:
- To enable all users to access the same learning outcomes - by alternate means if necessary.
- To provide a diverse range of game, interaction and learning styles, providing some content suitable for the widest possible range of users
Or, to put it more simply, to try to provide something fun for everyone, as well as all the key messages.
Additionally, we are working with a number of agencies to create games that address both the gameplay and real-life travel-training requirements of users with special needs. We are particularly grateful to our friends at the Autistic Society Greater Manchester Area (ASGMA) for their invaluable help with Fares Please, Destination Display and the wider travel-training function of the site.