logo Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)


Product: ExploreLearning.com Website and Gizmos
Date: 23 June 2004

The purpose of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template is to assist Federal contracting officials in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial Electronic and Information Technology products and services with features that support accessibility. It is assumed that offerers will provide additional contact information to facilitate more detailed inquiries.

For the ExploreLearning site and Gizmos, only two sections of the full VPAT per the The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) are pertinent:

Section 1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Systems
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks and explanations
(a) When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions shall be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually. Yes. All modern Gizmos have full keyboard accessibility. Results of keyboard actions are identical to actions performed via mouse control. View our Accessibility Info. page for more information.
(b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer. Yes. Our accessibility features do not in any way interfere with the computer system of the user.  
(c) A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus shall be provided that moves among interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus shall be programmatically exposed so that Assistive Technology can track focus and focus changes. Yes with limitations. The Gizmos have a clear indicator for the active element when using keyboard accessibility. However, screen readers are not able to retrieve information from the Shockwave content. The Shockwave content may include screen reading features in the future. At this time, Assistive Technologies such as screen magnifiers, alternative mouse control, etc., do work with the Shockwave content.
(d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to Assistive Technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. Yes (depending on Assistive Technology) Uniform controls such as check boxes, sliders, etc. are visually displayed along with their textual name in the modern Exploration Guides .

It should be noted that this depends on the associated Assistive Technology. Screen readers can not access the Shockwave content, but others can (see criteria above)

We are working on completing a user guide showing how the Gizmo controls are used.

(e) When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images shall be consistent throughout an application's performance. Yes. We use a uniform GUI throughout each series of Gizmos.
(f) Textual information shall be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that shall be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes. No. Only some of the textual information in the Shockwave content can be exported. In these cases, the exported text could then be used by other programs that the operating system could interact with.
(g) Applications shall not override user selected contrast and color selections and other individual display attributes. Yes. The Gizmos do not affect the settings of the operating system of the user.
(h) When animation is displayed, the information shall be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user. Yes. The Gizmos provide the user the ability to pause a simulation, or take a static screenshot, at any time.
(i) Color coding shall not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. Yes. In every modern Gizmo items should have both color and textual information. The Gizmos are tested against three of the common forms of color blindness to aid in clarity for those with color blindness.
(j) When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels shall be provided. Yes, with limitations. We do provide a high contrast setting within the Gizmo which primarily affects the graphing region. If the user adjusts the color/contrast settings of the computer system, those changes will appear in the Shockwave content.
(k) Software shall not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. Yes. Our interactive content does not blink or flash when displaying information.
(l) When electronic forms are used, the form shall allow people using Assistive Technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. N/A The Gizmos themselves do not contain electronic forms. Forms are handled by the HTML code. (Refer to the table below.)
Section 1194.22 Web-based internet information and applications
Criteria Supporting Features Remarks and explanations
(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). A text equivalent for all images is provided by the "alt" attribute. When complex math is presented as an image, the "longdesc" tag is used. Not all images in "Exploration Guides" makes use of the longdesc tag. We are working on this.
(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Except for the Gizmos, no multimedia presentations are used on the site. Refer to the "Software Applications" table for Gizmo specific info.
(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. Semantic, linear markup is provided site wide.  
(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet. Semantic, linear markup is provided site wide. Pages validate to XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.0.  
(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. No image maps are in use.  
(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables. Per XHTML 1.0, row and column headers are identified and labeled.  
(h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers. Per XHTML 1.0, row and column headers are identified and labeled.  
(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation. Frames are not in use.  
(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. N/A.  
(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes. Because the site is coded semantically per XHTML 1.0 and images are not used to convey information without a text equivalent, there is no need for a separate text-only page for any pages on the site.  
(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by Assistive Technology. This site utilizes scripting languages, including JavaScript. We have used device-independent event handlers so that use of the mouse is not essential. We have also ensured that all content and functionality are available, even if scripting has been disabled in the browser.  
(m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with §1194.21(a) through (l). A link to the Shockwave plugin is provided on all ExploreLearning pages; additionally, we provide a "plugin test" page with instructions and troubleshooting information.  
(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using Assistive Technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues. Forms are coded to valid XHTML recommendations including the use of the <fieldset>, <legend>, and <label> tags to group like form elements. The registration pages on the ExploreLearning site make use of legacy code that does not validate. This code is being replaced with valid code presently and should be completed by 09/01/04.
(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. A skip navigation link is provided on all pages as is a go to bottom of page link and a go to top of page link.  
(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. No timed responses are required. Some Gizmos may use a timed response. Please refer to the Gizmo specific VPAT table for more information.