We are committed to ensuring that our website is accessible to everyone. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the accessibility of this site, please contact us, as we are continually striving to improve the experience for all of our visitors.

Standards compliance

  1. All pages on this site follow U.S. Federal Government Section 508 Guidelines.
  2. All pages on this site follow priorities 1 & 2 guidelines of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  3. All pages on this site validate as HTML 5.0
  4. All pages on this site use structured semantic markup. H1 tags are used for page title, H2 tags for subtitles. For example, on this page, JAWS users can skip to the next section within the accessibility statement by pressing ALT+INSERT+3. Opera users can skip sections by using “S” and “W” to cycle forwards and backwards respectively through headings.

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Browser compatability

This website has been designed to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible. All web pages have been written to the XHTML 1.0 Strict standard, using CSS Style Sheets for the presentation which means this site should be usable on all web browsers that support those standards.

Some older browsers such as Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape 4 do not fully support these standards. People still using these browsers will still be able to navigate the site, however, the content will be displayed with a basic layout and the experience will not be as intended.

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WAI Standards Compliance

The site has been designed to meet the “AAA” level of compliance with the WAI Accessibility Guidelines and wherever possible, pages within the template will meet this standard. Where this has not been possible, pages should meet at least “A” compliance.

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Text Size

Users with impaired vision wishing to increase the text size of the site can do so in the following ways:

  • In Internet Explorer (PC) and Firefox, use the View > Text Size menu
  • In Netscape 7 and Internet Explorer (MAC), use the View > Text Zoom menu

If your browser is not one of the above, read the help or documentation provided with the browser software to find out how to do it.

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Structural Markup

Web pages on include 3 different areas:

  • A header bar that includes the main navigation,
  • A main content area,
  • A footer.

When CSS (Cascading Styles Sheet) are not applied to a document (or when using a screen reader), the 4 areas are read in the above order.

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Access Keys

This site uses the accesskey attribute. Most browsers support jumping to specific links by typing keys defined on the web site. On Windows, you can press ALT + an access key; on Macintosh, you can press Control + an access key.

Unfortunately, access keys often clash with keys set aside for use with other UAs (i.e. assistive technology). For this reason, we have decided to not set default access keys, but rather let you set your own (for specific elements) through our Access Key Preferences form.

Note: Internet Explorer requires you to press ALT + an access key + Enter to access linked documents.

You may want to read User defined Access Keys.

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Unless they are purely decorative items, all images used on this web site have suitable alt attributes.

Content should be usable/accessible with images “off” (disabled).

The main navigation bar on this site uses an Image Replacement technique that makes the links accessible to non-visual browsers.

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Many links have title attributes which describe the link in greater detail, unless the text of the link already fully describes the target.

Links are written to make sense out of context.

The first link in every document is a “SkipNav”; it is to skip directly to what is considered the main section of the page (the content). We have implemented this feature in a way that it allows Internet Explorer users to tab through (past that target link).

URLs are permanent whenever possible.

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All form controls are appropriately and explicitly labeled.

We provide an email address as an alternative form of access for our online forms.

Forms on this site can be accessed through an access key (1).

Form validation routine does not rely on client-side script.

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We are using non obtrusive client-side scripts.

Content of this web site is usable without JavaScript support.

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Pop up Windows

In visual browsers, unless Javascript is disabled, a small icon appears next to links to external resources, the title attribute of these links says “(opens in new window)”.

Browsers with Popup Blockers should be able to access these external documents.

You may want to read Popup windows with no extra markup.

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Visual design

This site uses cascading style sheets for visual layout.

This site uses only relative font sizes, compatible with the user-specified “text size” option in visual browsers.

If your browser or browsing device does not support stylesheets at all, the content of each page is still readable.

Any information conveyed through the use of color is also available without color (i.e. text based).

How to modify this site to fit your needs

These links explain the many ways you can make the web more accessible to you.

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Accessibility references

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Accessibility software

  • JAWS, a screen reader for Windows. A time-limited, downloadable demo is available.
  • Home Page Reader, a screen reader for Windows. A downloadable demo is available.
  • Lynx, a free text-only web browser for blind users with refreshable Braille displays.
  • Links, a free text-only web browser for visual users with low bandwidth.
  • Opera, a visual browser with many accessibility-related features, including text zooming, user stylesheets, image toggle. A free downloadable version is available. Compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and several other operating systems.

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Accessibility services

  • Bobby, a free service to analyze web pages for compliance to accessibility guidelines. A full-featured commercial version is also available.
  • HTML Validator, a free service for checking that web pages conform to published HTML standards.
  • Web Page Backward Compatibility Viewer, a tool for viewing your web pages without a variety of modern browser features.
  • Lynx Viewer, a free service for viewing what your web pages would look like in Lynx.

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