Checkpoint 602.3: Electronic Support Documentation

Documentation in electronic format, including Web-based self-service support, shall conform to Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0.

Rationale

New US and European standards require that electronic support documentation, both web-based and non-web-based, must conform to WCAG 2.0 A and AA success criteria. This is a departure from the reduced accessibility requirements formerly applied to documentation in these jurisdictions.

Rather than have a separate documentation checklist, IBM now requires that when the support documentation is provided in electronic format, it must meet all checkpoints in the WCAG section of the 7.0 checklist.

Some examples of how documentation can be made accessible are:

  • If the documentation is a video, captions and audio descriptions are provided.
  • If the documentation contains illustrations, they include alternative text descriptions.
  • The documentation is fully usable with only a keyboard.

General techniques

Instructions: Test the documentation against all WCAG checkpoints. Pay particular attention to these common issues:

Technology-specific techniques

Ensuring that documentation meets WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA success criteria will have similar considerations regardless of the technology platform being used. Each section of the Technology-specific techniques provides links to vendor- or third-party-supplied information that can help create accessible content for different technologies.

Microsoft Word

Word has built-in features for people with different abilities and includes an accessibility checker that locates elements that might cause problems for people with disabilities. Visit Microsoft for more information on Word accessibility.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Because PowerPoint presentations usually consist of many images and decorative flourishes, people who are blind or have low vision can have trouble reading them. Visit Microsoft for information on how to Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible.

Microsoft Excel

A spreadsheet is rarely used as a tool for documentation. For situations where Excel is used for documenttaion, see Microsoft’s documentation Make your Excel spreadsheets accessible.

Microsoft HTML Help

Most help systems contain substantial information on how to produce accessible content. See the Microsoft article Making Your Help System Accessible.

EPub

EPub is, at its foundation, HTML. If instructions to make HTML accessible are followed, documentation can be exported as accessible EPub. Visit Adobe for guidance for creating EPub documentation with InDesign.

For other authoring tools that create EPub documents, locate and implement accessibility features of those tools.

PDF

Electronic support documentation in PDF format must be accessible. Visit Adobe for information on how to Create and verify PDF accessibility. Review non-vendor documents, such as AIIM's Achieving WCAG 2.0 with PDF/UA and PDF Techniques for WCAG 2.0.

DITA

If using DITA to produce electronic support documentation, follow techniques to ensure accessibility of DITA output.


Most links in this checklist reside outside ibm.com at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. W3C Recommendation 11 December 2008: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

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