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30 S Nevada Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-385-2489
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City of Colorado Springs / Information Technology / Accessibility Statement

City of Colorado Springs Accessibility Statement

SpringsGov.com Accessibility Statement

The City of Colorado Springs works with the Rocky Mountain Disability/Business Technical Assistance Center to assess SpringsGov.com’s current provisions and adherence to Section 508 accessibility guidelines. The Center last provided informal guidance to SpringsGov.com in late 2003 and provided feedback and suggestions to the City's Information Technology Division. The Center is a non-profit that deals specifically with Americans with Disabilities laws and issues.

 

Background

  1. Section 508 Standard of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, requires Federal agencies to create, maintain, and use information technology in ways that provide full access to employees with disabilities unless there is a provable and undue burden that would affect the operations of the agency.
  2. In addition to the Section 508 guidelines, the World Wide Web Consortium began its Web Accessibility Initiative in 1998 to create and communicate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (accessible at http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/). As stated in the document, "These guidelines explain how 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 of 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-free environment, etc.)."

Site Design & Accessibility

The City of Colorado Springs Office of Information Technology (IT) has developed consistent and strategic guidelines for the construction of page elements in the SpringsGov.com site. SpringsGov.com is a database-driven site and two pages—page.asp and sectionindex.asp—render almost all content for the site. The City has a network of 55 content masters and Agency Web Administrators who use a web-based tools set to create and publish “pages”. The database and ASP platform the site works from allows the tools set to then build the pages to meet accessibility requirements automatically.

City staff have a manual and a series of quick-guides to assist them in working with the site tools. This helps City employees working on SpringsGov.com succeed in their duties faster and easier. At the same time, the instructions provided work with the site tools to help ensure a positive user experience and easier accessibility by maintaining a consistent page layout and schema. It cannot be overstated: the tools set that serves as the engine of SpringsGov.com can only build pages to be accessible if the requisite components are provided within the PageBuilder and ImageManager tools.

The guidelines assist contributors to the site in developing a site that reflects the Level 1 and Level 2 requirements contained in the Section 508 guidelines as well as a good portion of the suggestions provided by the World Wide Web Consortium through it Web Accessibility Initiative.

Specific Guidelines for SpringsGov.com include:

  1. Pages are designed and tested for compatibility with all major web browsers and operating systems. The City uses a utility to detect a visitor’s browser type and, through the use of style sheets, renders pages in a way that optimizes for that browser type.
  2. Images contain alternate text descriptors for visitors utilizing assistive page-reading technologies.
  3. Navigational image maps will contain alternate, text-based hyperlinks.
  4. Pages will be designed with a dynamic percentage widths rather than fixed widths in order to ensure visibility regardless of screen resolution and/or monitor size, unless unavoidable due to application constraints. All critical content components will be visible within the 800 x 600 resolution setting.
  5. Pages and documents posted to the site will contain appropriate meta-data to ensure useful search functions.
  6. Online forms will be available in HTML, PDF, and in other standard formats upon request—e.g., email, fax, MS Word, WordPerfect, et al. Contact information for the staff member responsible for the content and forms, such as address, telephone number, and email address, will be posted in a near the form itself.
  7. Frames will not be used on SpringsGov.com as they are not interpretable by assistive technologies such as screen readers and they often cause severe navigational breakdowns.
  8. SpringsGov.com will contain no background images, to ensure consistency and provide optimum visibility unless it is deemed unavoidable. In these cases, alternate presentations of the information will be provided.

Content Management

The City of Colorado Springs employs a network of approximately 55 staff members, distributed through the City organization, to publish and manage content. This reduces the barriers and degrees of separation; information is quickly published and updated by the people in charge of the information. Agency Web administrators coordinated with the divisions in a department where, when, and by whom content will be published. The Content Masters are then assigned the duties and work accordingly. Many Agency Web Administrators and Content Masters have incorporated their duties on SpringsGov.com into their annual Performance Plan.
 

Helper Applications and Plug-Ins

Some services and information published on SpringsGov.com require additional applications software and/or browser plug-ins. The City of Colorado Springs only uses software and plug-ins from vendors who offer at least basic versions of their solutions at no cost—e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Adobe Reader, Flash (only when it does not relay information), and Windows Media Player. Resources
  1. Section 508: http://www.section508.gov/
  2. Access Board: http://www.access-board.gov/508.htm
  3. W3C Web Accessibility Initiative: http://www.w3.org/WAI/