Computer Application Program Accessibility Standard

Approved by Information Services Managers' Group 12/10/97
Adopted by the Information Services Policy Board 1/13/98
Revised and Adopted by Information Services Policy Board 9/18/03

The purpose of this standard is to ensure that the needs of state employees and citizens of the State of Maine with disabilities are met through reasonable accommodation in the IT products and services of the state. IT products and services include data, voice, and video technologies.

D. Definitions

  • D.1 Focus: The "current point of action" as indicated by a visual indicator such as a carrot or focus rectangle.
  • D.2 Sticky keys: Sticky keys is a feature of Windows 95 and other operating systems that will allow keys such as the alt, control and shift to maintain their depressed state without being depressed. I.e. to execute a control (O with sticky keys the user would tap the. control key then tap the o key).
  • D.3 Inverted colors: Inverted colors are the opposite of each other. For example, the inverse of black on white is white on black.

1. Software

1.1 Keyboard Access

  • 1.1.1 A program must provide keyboard access to all functions of the application. All actions required or available by the program must be available without the use of the mouse and with keystrokes, i.e., keyboard equivalents for all mouse actions including but not limited to, buttons, scroll windows, text entry fields, pop-up boxes and pull down lists.
  • 1.1.2 A program must have a keyboard control sequence among all program controls and focal points. (e.g. The sequence of the tab or up/down arrows must follow a logical method of navigating from field to field or up/down arrow to the next list item. In the case of the tab key, the proper format would be from left to right and top to bottom of screen.)
  • 1.1.3 The focus must follow the keystroke, that is, using the arrow keys to navigate through a list followed by pressing the ENTER key or spacebar to select the desired item.
  • 1.1.4 The software shall not interfere with existing accessibility features built into the operating system, such as Sticky keys, Slow Keys and Repeat Keys.
  • 1.1.5 Timed responses are not to be used unless the timing parameter can be adjusted by an individual user.
  • 1.1.6 There shall be selectable visual and auditory indication of key status for all toggle keys. (i.e. visual and auditory status indicators for keys such as the Number Lock, Shift/Caps, and Scroll Lock keys.)
  • 1.1.6.A The application must allow the user to change the status of toggle keys with keystrokes. (e.g. Fully keystroke available menus or facsimile must be provided.)
  • 1.1.7 Keystrokes for all controls should be consistent throughout the entire application. For example, a shortcut key that activates a function on one screen should activate the same function for all occurrences of that function.

1.2 Icons

  • 1.2.1 All icons/graphical controls shall have clear precise text labels included on the focus or provide a user-selected option of text-only buttons.
  • 1.2.2 The use of icons shall be consistent throughout the application
  • 1.2.3 Pull-down menu equivalents must be provided for Icon/graphical control functions. (e.g. Any icon/graphical control that opens a pull down list and is not directly available with keyboard navigation must have keyboard alternatives to open the same pull down.)
  • 1.2.4 For graphic text, system text drawing tools or other industry standard methods must be used so that screen reader software can interpret the image. Standard text must accompany any graphical representation that includes text.

1.3. Sounds

  • 1.3.1 A visual cue for all audio alerts must be provided.
  • 1.3.2 The Sounds feature must be supported where built into the operating system. The user must be allowed to disable or adjust sound volume
  • 1.3.3 Information conveyed by audio interface that is not captioned must be available by transcription in a timely manner and must be fully accessible with standard documentation. (e. g. Timely should be understood to mean not past the relevance of the audio information conveyed.)

1.4. Display

  • 1.4.1 Color-coding is not to be used as the only means of conveying information or indicating an action. An alternative or parallel method that can be used by individuals who do not possess the ability to identify colors must always be provided.
  • 1.4.2 The application must support user defined color settings system wide if the development tool allows for this possibility. Highlighting should also be Viewable with inverted colors, DEVELOPMENT TOOLS PERMITTING. Note: Development tools that offer this flexibility are highly recommended.
  • 1.4.3 No patterned backgrounds behind text or important graphics are to be used.
  • 1.4.4 User adjustment of, or user disabling of flashing, rotating or moving displays must be permitted to the extent that it does not interfere with the purpose of the application.

1.5. Field Labeling

  • 1.5.1 Consistently position the descriptions or labels for data fields immediately to the left the field.

2. Reports and Program Output

  • 2.1 All reports and program output must be available in a format that is accessible by screen readers and other access systems. Examples of accessible text formats are MS Word, MS Excel, straight text and HTML text. PDF documents are not text based and are not recommended.

3. Documentation

  • 3.1 All documentation must be accessible through industry standard accessibility tools .
  • 3.2 Accessibility features must be written and provided as part of documentation for the product.