Information Regarding Accessibility (Section 508)
Last Updated 24-Nov-2003
This BLAF accessibility guideline summarizes BLAF compliance to accessibility standards, points to internal and external accessibility resources, and points to initial research conducted within the UI group regarding accessibility standards. The goal of this guideline is to inform UI designers and development teams of how BLAF guidelines are compliant with accessibility requirements.
This guideline document is organized as follows:
Spec Version # - 3.1
Spec Contributors - Betsy Beier, Craig Louis, Mervyn Dennehy, Lisa Serface
UI Models - all models
Example Products - all products
Related Guidelines - all
BLAF UI Guidelines Accessibility Compliance
There are many resources with detailed tips and guidelines on ADA accessibility
compliance and web page development. For a recap of some of these tips,
see initial W3C standards
research, and for internal Oracle developers, Oracle
Accessibility Program. This guideline document summarizes specific
BLAF UI implementation recommendations and provides links to internal
and external resources.
Research and Definitions
It is a federal requirement that Oracle web-based applications and guidelines
are compliant with Section 508; federal procurement officers may not purchase
electronic and information technologies that are not accessible to people
with disabilities. This act ensures that people with disabilities will
have equity in the use of electronic and information technology. From
documentation found on the web, it is reported that 10-20% of many populations
are affected with disabilities (not all are web accessibility issues,
but many). For more details, see Initial
Accessibility Definitions, Who
is Affected by Accessibility Issues, and Oracle
UIX supports an Accessibility Mode API which allows the level of accessibility support to be personalized.
By default, UIX generates accessible HTML for all users. Currently three different levels or modes are supported:
- Accessible Mode (default): Meets the standards required for compliance with Section 508.
- Screenreader Mode: Specialized mode to take advantage of screen reader assistance technology.
- Inaccessible Mode: For the general population who do not need accessibility features or assistance technology. Use of this mode results in the most streamlined code.
If the application is set in one of the accessibility modes (Accessible or Screenreader), elements of the UI may be streamlined for Section 508 compliance or to take advantage of specific assistance technologies (currently limited to screen readers). For example, redundant links that may aid a sighted user but be confusing to a non-sighted user are turned off.
Note: A fourth mode, Low Vision mode, is under investigation to improve accessibility for people with low vision disabilities who use screen magnifier assistance technology. For these users, disabled UI elements (such as disabled buttons or tabs) may not have enough contrast to be visible. However, increasing the contrast between colors for these elements may cause people without disabilities to think the element is active or enabled. If Low Vision mode is implemented, certain colors may be changed in this mode, but not in other modes (if implemented, the Text and CSS Guideline will provide details).
BLAF recommends implementation of an end-user
preference setting (in the global Preferences area) to allow the user
to personalize his or her level of accessibility support for all his/her
applications. See the Preferences
Global Page section of the Global
Page Templates guideline for details regarding end-user preferences.
Also see the Accessibility section of the UIX Developer's Guide for more
BLAF Accessibility Compliance Summary
Given these external accessibility standards and Oracle's corporate stance, BLAF UI guidelines has chosen specific UI implementation recommendations to be compliant. Below is a summary. See individual guidelines listed below for details.
- A No Frames environment is recommended for all BLAF applications. See
HTML Frame Option guideline for
- No auditory elements are used in BLAF applications, as of summer 2002.
- Color is not used as the only indicator of a UI issue. Color may be used
as an indicator when combined with other visual information such as
an icon. As example, see Inline Messaging
and Tips guideline.
- The Color Palette and Color Usage Guideline
ensures proper contrast of colors when used correctly.
- A Language in UI guideline is provided for
common terms and vocabulary to be used throughout BLAF applications.
This includes proper language and style for hypertext; such as providing
specific information as hyperlinks and avoiding the usage of "click
- Unnecessary usage of tables for layout purposes has been avoided. When tables must be used for layout purposes, the HTML code provided by the UIX Team is properly identified to facilitate accessibility.
- BLAF guidelines follow Browser and System
Requirements to ensure that applications are accessible in mainstream
- BLAF guidelines strictly prohibit the use of redirects, auto-refreshing, or timed redraws (i.e., page redraws that are not initiated by the user are prohibited.). This is specially important when the user has set Accessibility Mode in their application Preferences.
- Application time outs at a significant length are acceptable for security purposes.
- BLAF guidelines do not support third party embedded applications at this time.
- BLAF guidelines follow Oracle's internal accessibility standards.
- BLAF guidelines offer many UI components and component templates that
ensure consistency and clarity of context, page navigation, page organization,
and page orientation. See the Tabs/Navigation,
Locator Element: Breadcrumb, Locator
Element: Step by Step Train, and Header
Component guidelines for more details and examples.
- Animations are not used in BLAF applications, with the exception of the
continuous processing clock icon (See the Processing
Templates guideline for details).
- All images should use the alt tag. The alt tag may provide further
UI information to all users, in addition to providing for accessibility.
See Inline Messaging Tips, Hints, and Bubble
Text for rollover guideline information. Other images used in BLAF
should also have an alt tag, such as Ancillary
Graphic Style, Branding Area, and Advertising
Usage. Also see the Icon Repository for
BLAF for examples of appropriate alt text for Tab icons.
- BLAF is supported by the Text (CSS) Standards
guideline, derived from the master XSS file. The XSS file is compliant
with accessibility and internationalization standards. The XSS file does not specify
absolute values, so text can be scaled based on browser menu settings and user preferences.
- For graphs, charts, specific icons identification, and abbreviations,
BLAF recommends usage of Key Notation.
- BLAF specifies keyboard shortcuts that are accessibility compliant. The
Keyboard Shortcuts guideline contains recommendations
for mnemonics, default cursor/focus placement, as well as tab index
(tab traversal). Note that all mnemonics are associated with action/navigation
buttons, and that each button with mnemonics must include ALT text to
specify the shortcut key.
- Standard Web widgets and Content
Layout Templates are provided in BLAF to ensure accessible label
- BLAF Instruction Text guidelines ensure
that users with or without disabilities understand the task at hand
and how to complete a given page.
- Usage of secondary windows is almost eliminated in BLAF guidelines. Usability results have proven problems with heavy secondary window usage in browser applications. In rare cases (when specified) a secondary window is used; modality must be applied to the secondary window. How to determine appropriate secondary window usage:
- Is the secondary window just providing an alternative method for input that to one in the primary window? If so, use of a secondary window is OK.
- Does the use of a secondary window significantly improve usability (measurable success)? For example, providing "Help" in a secondary window provides the user with side-by-side help while performing a task. If so, then use of a secondary window is OK (however, an option should be provided in the user preferences to allow this to be turned "Off.")
- If none of the above situations is the case, secondary window usage should be avoided.
- All coding standards regarding accessibility requirements are handled by UIX Team web bean development, and Applications Technology group API's.
Internal Oracle ADA Resources
External Accessibility Resources
15-Nov-2003: Possible addition of Low Vision Mode for users of screen magnifiers. This would require additions or changes to styles in the BLAF CSS.
07-Oct-2002 - For V3.0, and forward:
- Investigating improvements to Accessibility Mode to improve user experience for ability challenged users. Attention should be paid to tab order to minimize tab focus on non-functional elements.
24-Oct-2003: Redundant links will be removed in accessibility mode
15-Jan-2003 - Added reference to ALT text for mnemonics.
25-Jul-2000 - Initial accessibility research removed from this document and placed in
Initial Research document.
25-Jul-2000 - Accessibility stance of BLAF UI recapped in this guideline.
25-Jul-2000 - Internal oracle accessibility web sites pointed to in this guideline.
08-Feb-2000 - How does this web-based guideline documentation need to be compliant with the ADA requirements? -
08-Feb-2000 - Will this web-based guidelines documentation be accessible to clients or customers outside of Oracle? If yes, this may affect how much work needs to be done to make these guidelines ADA compliant.
- The web-based guidelines document needs to be web accessible.
- The web-based guidelines need to use "alt" tag attributes to each "image" tag describing the graphic on the guideline page.
- As of 8-Feb-2000 these web-based guidelines are accessible only to internal Oracle UI designers, developers, management, and consultants.