Ready Education is the leading mobile platform for campus life in North America. We make a campus app that students actually want to use. For us, this means an app that is usable to every student, including students with disabilities.
For this reason, Ready Education follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA sets out guidelines to ensure vendors make products usable by people with disabilities. Since Ready provides mobile and web software to universities and community colleges, we strive to meet the standards of the ADA. The parts of ADA compliance that relate to software interface design are of particular importance for us.
This document explains our web and mobile interface designs. Specifically, it lays out how Ready Education’s technology satisfies the requirements set forth by the ADA and other organizations (such as W3C) that prioritize software accessibility.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the law that guarantees equal opportunity to persons with disabilities in the United States. Enacted in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and “is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation” (http://ada.gov).
In 1988, Congress amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The amendments required federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to persons with disabilities.
In 2010, the U.S Department of Justice published enforceable accessibility standards called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This is the standard by which software, such as a mobile app for universities, is deemed to be accessible or not for purposes of the Rehabilitation Act and ADA.
Within the U.S., there are two sets of voluntary guidelines for designing accessible software:
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1
Vendors can complete a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to demonstrate their compliance with the legal requirements of the United States.
A VPAT for Ready Education’s mobile and web platforms can be found in Appendix A of our Accessibility and Compliance document (attached below). The VPAT lays out in detail how we meet the requirements of the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design to make a campus app that everyone can use.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) sets international standards for the World Wide Web and its accessibility. To this end, the W3C created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). WCAG is similar to Section 508, but it applies internationally. WCAG gives specific technical information about how to implement each part of the guideline.
WCAG 2.1 is important to U.S. institutions, who are encouraged to choose vendors with a compliance level of “AA” to meet federal requirements governing accessibility.
Here is an overview of what WCAG 2.1 deems important for accessible design (source: https://www.w3.org/):
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways, including assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easy for users to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Give users enough time to read and use the content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
These are the principles by which Ready Education develops its web and mobile platforms.
For a detailed view of how Ready Education complies with the accessibility legislation of the United States, please see the attached document.
It provides details about the accessibility features of Ready Education’s web and mobile platforms. The report details how Ready’s platforms meet accessibility criteria. It includes:
- descriptions of how we implement accessibility
- a completed Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)
- a checklist used to assess our compliance with “AA” level certification of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 guidelines.