It is the policy of the State of Florida and its Local Governments to ensure that people with hearing, visual and other disabilities have equal access to public information that is available on the Internet and the World Wide Web. It is the direct responsibility of the agency and its web page developers to become familiar with the guidelines for achieving universal accessibility and to apply these principles in designing and creating any official Local Government Portal.
It has been estimated that 54 million people or 20.6% of all Americans have some level of disability. This is a large segment of society waiting for opportunities to interact with all levels of government.
Estimates indicate that 95-99 percent of all Web sites are inaccessible at some level. These statistics are staggering considering the number of sites that come online daily. As of January 2000, there were an estimated 10 million Web sites online, by the end of the year - 25 million and by the year 2002, one hundred million. To date there have been no formal complaints filed against a governmental agency under the ADA of 1990.
The use of the guidelines below will ensure that Web sites created by the Local Governments are developed to serve the largest possible audience. Following these guidelines will also provide an added benefit to those users with text-based browsers, slow(er) modem connections and/or no multi-media capabilities on their computer.
This policy provides a set of established guidelines adopted the MyFloridaCounty.com's Portal Policy Group a checklist of design considerations and additional references. The checklist provides a quick reference for numerous design issues. Additional references are provided for those who wish to gain a broader understanding of disability and accessibility issues.
The MyFloridaCounty.com's Portal Policy Group has adopted the Access Board's as the primary guideline to meet the objectives of the Universal Accessibility for State Web sites policy. These published guidelines where published to the federal register on December 21, 2000 and will be implimented in portals by June 21, 2001. The Access Board used the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines as the benchmark for developing their standards. For more information about the Access Board and guidelines visit their Web site. http://www.access-board.gov/