2 About This Accessibility Guide

This guide consists of two distinct sections: general instructions for accessing Oracle APEX with a assistive technologies and a keyboard, and guidelines for developing Oracle APEX applications that are accessible and highly usable to all users.

"Oracle is committed to creating accessible technologies and products that enhance the overall workplace environment and contribute to the productivity of our employees, our customers, and our customers’ customers." —Safra Catz, Chief Executive Officer, Oracle

Accessibility Overview

Web accessibility means people with disabilities can effectively use and contribute to the web. To ensure people with disabilities can use Oracle APEX, we need to design and develop more accessible web applications and software.

Accessibility is not just a checklist, but an ongoing and planned effort. The aim of this guide is to help you start the planning process, and understand how to build accessible applications with Oracle APEX.

Accessibility Statement for Oracle APEX

Oracle APEX is Oracle's primary tool for developing web applications with SQL and PL/SQL. Using only a web browser, you can develop and deploy professional web-based applications for desktops and mobile devices. Oracle APEX is a fully supported, no cost option for the Oracle Database. It is installed by default in all editions of the Oracle Database.

Oracle APEX, including the Universal Theme (UT), follows Oracle's corporate web accessibility guidelines, which themselves are based on WCAG 2.0 to AA Level and the applicable standards of Section 508. How well Oracle APEX meets these standards is described in the VPAT for Oracle APEX, which is the framework’s statement of conformance to these guidelines.

2.1 What is Web Accessibility?

This guide refers to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) to back up some of the guidelines with the relevant standard and provide further reading.

According to W3C, web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the web, and that they can contribute to the web. The disabilities that affect access to the web can be categorized as: visual, auditory, speech, cognitive, physical, and neurological. The goal of web accessibility is to provide equal access to users with disabilities. That is, developers need to focus on building more accessible web applications and products. Apart from people with disabilities, the elderly with increasing impairments, and people in a limiting situation (for example, slow internet connection, no audio etc.) can also benefit with accessible applications and products.

Principles of Accessibility

WCAG 2.0, which is created by W3C defines the four principles of accessibility as:
  • Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. That is, users must be able to perceive the information presented.
  • Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable. That is, users must be able to operate the interface.
  • Understandable: Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface.
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Each principle includes a list of guidelines that address the principle and there are a total of 12 guidelines. Each guideline includes one or more testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA. To learn more about these principles, guidelines, and success criteria, see Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).

2.2 Why Accessibility is Important

Up to 16% of the world population is disabled, either through birth, ageing, illness, or the result of an accident. Accessible products remove obstacles between a company and its existing or potential customers. Accessibility enables employers to recruit from a broader pool of talent. Overall, accessibility generally improves product for everyone (Universal Design).

Developing accessible products is very important for companies in order to adhere to Procurement and Discrimination laws such as:
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Mandate 376 (E.U.)
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (Canada)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (U.S.)
  • Disability Discrimination Act, and Equality Act (U.K.)
  • Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (U.S.)

2.3 About Building for Accessibility

Building for accessibility means coding to standards and not for a specific technology. Building to standards often leads to better, standardized HTML and cleaner code. The process of building accessible applications at Oracle involves considerable amount of time and resources at all stages of the development cycle. Accessibility guidelines and standards are considered, implemented, and reviewed through the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT, a product’s statement of conformance to Section 508 of the U.S. Federal Rehabilitation Act).

The Oracle Accessibility Program Office, reporting to the office of the Chief Corporate Architect, is responsible for defining the corporate standards for accessibility, and developing materials to train all employees so that they can successfully create products that meet those standards. To learn more about Oracle’s Accessibility Program, see Oracle Accessibility Information and Resources.

Oracle uses the VPAT to represent the degree of conformance to various accessibility standards and guidelines, including Section 508, WCAG 1.0, and WCAG 2.0. Depending on when a product was developed and released, different standards may be listed.