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Web Accessibility Policy of the State of Maine

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Introduction

Purpose

Maine State Government is committed to the Guiding Principles of Universal Access to Information (www.mainecite.org). This commitment is currently reflected in the existing Computer Applications Program Accessibility Standard, adopted in 1998. In view of enacted legislation, Title 5 MRSA~54, requiring forms to be available on the Internet; this document sets forth additional standards to insure the accessibility of Maine State Government web sites.

All citizens and employees, including those who have disabilities, have a right to access Maine's information resources and to that end Maine State Government's facilities, technologies, and services that are sources for information must be designed to provide universal access.

Compliance with the following set of standards will benefit not only our citizens with disabilities, but will also provide an additional benefit to those users who require keyboard access or use text-based browsers, low-end processors, slow modem connections and/or no multi-media capabilities on their computer. It also enhances access to Maine web sites by new technologies, such as Web TV, Internet phones and personal organizers with Internet connectivity.

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Audience

These standards are intended for use by all web authors, developers, and content contributors creating or maintaining web pages for the State. The basic concepts should be understandable by anyone with a general familiarity with web technologies. Knowledge of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and related web languages will help in fully understanding the Implementation Guidelines.

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Scope

These standards include:

  • Performance Criteria - a concise list of functional goals that must be achieved for a web site to be considered accessible.
  • Implementation Guidelines - the detailed techniques for addressing accessibility using current web technologies.

Both Performance Criteria and Implementation Guidelines are necessarily technology-dependent and will be updated as technologies evolve and change. The web technologies considered the current standards as of this version include:

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) 4.01
  • Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) 1.0
  • Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) Level 1 & 2
  • Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1
  • Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) 1.0
  • JavaScript & Dynamic HTML (DHTML)
  • Note: The use of other technologies (e.g., Java, Flash) and other document formats (e.g., Adobe Acrobat PDF, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect) is permissible if used in accordance with the standards outlined in this document. See the sections on Applets and Plug-ins and Downloadable Documents for more information.

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Relation to Existing Accessibility Standards

The Maine Web Accessibility Policy builds on two sets of existing standards:

The Maine Web Accessibility Policy is designed to meet or exceed all Federal Section 508 requirements and all WCAG "Priority 1" Checkpoints and most WCAG "Priority 2" Checkpoints. The Maine Standards exceed the minimum requirements in many areas, incorporating a number of WCAG "Priority 2" and "Priority 3" Checkpoints as well as additional requirements identified through practical experience working with Maine citizens with disabilities. Each Guideline in the Maine Standards includes a reference to the corresponding Section 508 requirements and WCAG Checkpoints.

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