Handling an OCR Complaint.
At times, the Office of Civil Rights [OCR] will file a complaint against institutions if their content is not accessible to disabled users.
How We Can Help With an OCR Complaint
If you have received a complaint from the United States Office of Civil Rights [OCR] regarding your website's accessibility, you may be at a loss on how to proceed. That's understandable. Making a website that meets WCAG 2.0 standards is a complex process that requires multiple disciplines.
Not everyone can afford to hire a dedicated accessibility specialist, but you have options.
Steps Toward Solutions
1. Contact Your Legal Counsel
You have received a complaint from the OCR because your institution's site does not comply with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508, which ensures that all users can access your website's content. These guidelines are difficult to understand, and your first instinct may be to fight the complaint, but you should discuss the situation with your lawyer. You aren't the only one who has received this type of complaint, so they can give you advice on how to move forward and address the issue.
2. Make the Quick Fixes
You can resolve many accessibility issues by checking your site with an automated tool. These tools uncover issues that you can resolve within your CMS, such as the following:
- Missing Alt Text: Alt text, which is attached to image files, provides information for users who cannot see the image and rely on a screen reader.
- Missing Form Labels: Search boxes or form input boxes require fields to let vision-impaired users know what information they can enter in the fields.
Get more information about guidelines for higher education website accessibility.
3. Find a Trusted Partner to Handle the Rest
Automated tools can catch many different problems, but they aren't perfect. In fact, they don't cover more than 20% of compliance issues. iFactory's team of experienced accessibility experts know the types of problems that automated tools exclude. This brief list of easy-to-miss errors can help explain why you need experts on board:
- Keyboard Focus Issues: All clickable areas on a web page require keyboard focus so users can tab through a page without a mouse.
- Missing Video Captions: When watching videos, users who are deaf or hard of hearing may need the option to read captions or a transcript.
- Unreadable PDFs: If a PDF is an image-only file, then the text cannot be spoken by screen readers.
- Unclear Headings: Headings help structure information so users can navigate a page, but the headings mean nothing if they aren't marked up properly.
4. Prepare a Remediation Plan
It is one thing to fix your accessibility issues, and it is another to prove to the government that you are doing so. An effective OCR response remediation plan provides these details about each issue:
- Summary: A non-technical explanation of the issue
- Component: Where on the page the issue is found
- Element: Description of the specific area within the component
- Selector: The name of the element in code that is in violation
- Example: A page
urlthat has the violation
- Description: How to remediate the violation
- WCAG 2.0 Guideline: The area of the standard that is in violation, i.e. 3.1.1
- Reported In: The tool used to discover the violation
- Priority: The importance and how quickly it must be solved
- Role: Technical or non-technical
As you can see, this information requires accessibility expertise and attention to detail. As part of our audit process, we fill out each of these fields, and we will also provide a schedule for the plan's implementation so the OCR knows that you are working to make your site compliant.
5. Plan for Future Audits
To prevent future OCR complaints, you will need to set up a schedule for evaluating your site's accessibility, especially since website content and technologies are always changing. We can work with you to set up a schedule and audit process so you can resolve your accessibility issues in the long term.
Want to learn more about how to handle OCR complaints? Fill out the form and we will get in touch with you