Accessibility


Accessibility
The Official Web Site of the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico RIO Self Service.

Universal Access Design Standards

Policy

To meet the goal of equal access to electronic and information technologies for all constituents and participants, PERA has developed a set of standards for the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico RIO Self Service home-page design. Web technologies can pose a set of obstacles for individuals with visual, physical, or developmental disabilities; in an effort to eliminate these obstacles, PERA has made careful efforts to make government information equally accessible to all parties. This web site will continue to evolve and improve over time.

It has been estimated that 54 million people, or 20.6 percent of all Americans, have some level of disability. According to the Disability Statistics Center:

The number of people with disabilities in the workforce has increased, and will continue to increase, in part because of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Between 1991 and 1994, the number of disabled Americans employed increased by more than 1.1 million, according to the Census Bureau. Employment rates for young adults with severe disabilities have tripled in this time period.

Education rates for people with disabilities are increasing: 75 percent of disabled persons finished high school in 1994, up from 60% in 1986; college enrollments have increased from 29 percent to 44 percent.

Technological advances are eliminating many of the physical and informational barriers that have made it difficult for people with disabilities to perform job tasks.

The public is becoming better informed and aware of disability issues.

America's population is aging; aging increases the incidence of disability. The number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to increase 135% between 1995 and 2050, according to the Census Bureau.

Design Standards

The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico RIO Self Service website standards have been influenced by those recommended by the W3C and Access Board. The Access Board is responsible for developing the standards outlined by the amended Rehabilitation Act of 1998. Universal design calls for appropriate use of auxiliary aids and services, where necessary, to facilitate equitable communications for all persons. Furthermore, the website will continue to evolve as resources and standards are progress.

PERA has adopted the designs to increase accessibility to users with disabilities as the primary guideline to meet the objectives of the Universal Access for State Design policy. These published guidelines are maintained by professionals trained in the area of assistive and information technology.

PERA embraces these standards, and will be evaluating its site on a regular basis, with the purpose and goal of enabling all individuals to conveniently access information over the Internet. The Universal Access Design Standards are being integrated into Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico RIO Self Service website and will continue to evolve as new technologies and opportunities emerge.

Every graphic image will have an "alt" tag, and a short description that can be intuitively understood by the user. If a graphic image is used as a navigation element, it will contain a text description and an indication of direction that is intuitively understood by the user.

Every graphic image that uses an image map will provide alternative text of the hyperlink.

The Official Web Site of the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico RIO Self Service will have descriptive, intuitive text links, and avoid the use of vague references such as "click," "here," "link," or "this."

The use of frames will be avoided, as they cannot be read easily by all screen readers, create navigation problems, and are not supported by all browsers. PERA cannot be held responsible for sites outside the network that use frames.

Tables will include textual information displayed in a linear form across the table; in addition, cells will be named to aid in content identification.

Resources
 
The Section 508 Web Site is an excellent source for general information, standards, evaluation, events, and resources surrounding Section 508 and its impact on electronic and information technology on the Web.
  http://www.section508.gov/
 
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended for the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The content of this document directly relates to the Federal government and any public or private industry contracting with the Federal government. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/508law.html
Title II, Section 508 speaks directly to state, local governments, and all other public entities. This “highlights” page provides a concise overview and abridged information on the specific chapters that must comply with ADA standards. It includes information about the complaint and enforcement process.
  http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/t2hlt95.htm
 
 
Checklists
 
The Web Accessibility Checklist - From the W3C, this in-depth checklist covers all three priority levels of compliance.
  http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/full-checklist.html
 
The Web Page Accessibility Checklist from the Department of Justice.
  http://www.section508.gov/
 
The Software Accessibility Checklist from the Department of Justice.
  http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/archive/oldsoftware.html
 
The following "Quick Tips" introduce some key concepts of accessible Web design.
  http://www.w3.org/WAI/References/QuickTips/