Maine State Web Accessibility Laws
Updated: January 4, 2018
It is made clear in Maine’s Web Accessibility and Usability Policy that state government websites must be made universally accessible.
Maine’s policy states:
All citizens and employees, including those who have disabilities, have a right to access Maine’s information resources and to that end Maine State Government’s facilities, technologies, and services that are sources for information must be designed to provide universal access.
The full set of website accessibility standards for Maine’s state agencies can be found on Maine.gov.
Like other states, Maine’s web accessibility policy heavily references the universal standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).
Below is an abbreviated list of what criteria are needed for websites. For more clairty on each item, visit For Maine’s full Web Accessibility and Usability policy.
- Coding – Valid code is the foundation for accessibility. Screen readers and other assistive technologies most reliably interpret and interact with web pages that are built using valid, standard code.
- Text – Whenever possible, use actual text instead of images of text. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be used to achieve specific sizes, colors, or effects. Text that requires exact formatting, such as logos and/or other branding elements, are appropriate exceptions.
- Colors – Do not convey information with color alone. Users with blindness, limited vision, or color-blindness may miss information presented with color.
- Images – Provide appropriate “alternate text” for all images. Individuals who are blind cannot perceive information presented in images so screen reading software reads alternate text instead.
- Image Maps – Just as images must have alternate text, each area of an image map (i.e. an image with multiple hyperlinks) must also have appropriate alternate text for use when the image is not displayed.
- Audio – Do not convey information with sound alone. Whenever significant information is provided by sound, include a visual indicator that provides the same information as well. Provide text transcripts for audio containing speech when it is provided to the public and/or made available to employees.
- Multimedia (Video/Audio) – 1) Provide synchronized captions for all multimedia that contains essential auditory information when it is provided to the public and/or made available to employees. Multimedia generally refers to recorded or live media containing both video and audio tracks. Captions are essentially a text transcript of the audio synchronized with the audio/video tracks of the presentation. Whenever possible, video should be posted using the accessible resources provided by the Maine State Media Gallery. 3rd party video services, such as YouTube, are allowed but are required to post content with synchronized captions which have been manually evaluated for accuracy and if necessary updated to appropriately reflect the audio and visual content of the video. 2) Provide audio descriptions for all multimedia that contains essential visual information when it is provided to the public and/or made available to employees. Audio descriptions are only necessary if significant information that is presented visually is not discernable from the dialogue or audio track. Many speech-intensive events, such as speeches, lectures, or conferences, do not contain essential video and, therefore, do not need audio description. When necessary, audio descriptions are usually best implemented by a professional “audio describer.”
- Animation – Provide a means of pausing any moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating information. Avoid animation and movement unless it provides significant additional
information. If animation is used, provide a means of pausing the animation. Do not include content that flashes faster than 3 times per second. Flashing faster than 3 times per second can trigger epileptic seizures.
- Links – Ensure that links are understandable out of context. A link is understandable out of context when it clearly indicates its destination or function without requiring additional information. Screen reader users often “tab” through links (skip from link to link by pressing the Tab key) in order to “scan” a page. Most screen readers also offer a “links list” feature to help speed the process of navigating to specific links. Links that are not understandable out of context, such as “click here” or “more,” make these techniques much less efficient. Some screen readers can be configured to read link title attributes instead of link text, however, most currently read only link text by default. Use link text that is clear and unambiguous. Link text should usually match the title of the page to which the link points. Ensure that links that point to the same URL use the same link text, and that links that point to different URL’s use
different link text. Provide a means of skipping past repetitive navigation links and avoid using small links because mouse-users with limited fine motor control may have difficulty pointing to and clicking on links that are small, especially if the links are close together. Make sure that images used for links are reasonably large, preferably 16 pixels by 16 pixels or larger. Use standard or enlarged font sizes for text links, and avoid using text links that are shorter than 4 characters in length. Avoid placing small links close together. Finally, ensure that same-page links (e.g. “Go to top of page”) move keyboard focus as well as screen focus.
- Forms – Provide labels or titles for all form fields. Use a element whenever possible to identify each form field’s label. Ensure that form fields are in a logical tab order. Avoid placing non-focusable text (text that does not receive focus when a user tabs through the form fields) between form fields, provide legends for groups of form fields, and ensure that text in form fields can be enlarged.
- Data Tables – Identify a header cell for each column and row in simple data tables. Identify relationships in complex data tables using id and headers attributes. Provide summary attributes (name and, possibly, a brief description of a table’s content and structure) for data tables.
- Frames – Provide concise, unique, and understandable titles for HTML frames and iframes.
- Scripts – Ensure that scripted functions are usable with assistive technologies. Whenever scripts are used, it is the responsibility of the page developer to thoroughly test using assistive technologies to ensure that all information and functionality is accessible. Scripting features that are purely decorative and do not present any significant information or functionality do not need to be made accessible. Ensure that significant interactions can be performed with both keyboard and mouse. Avoid scripting that changes focus unexpectedly. Avoid scripting changing content on a webpage unexpectedly.
- Embedded Objects – Use accessible embedded objects (i.e. non-HTML technologies, such as Java and Flash, that can be embedded within web pages) whenever possible.
- Downloadable Objects – Provide accessible HTML or text versions of non-accessible downloadable documents whenever possible.
- Timing – Notify users of time limits and provide a means to extend time if possible.
- Page Layout – When using tables or style for layout, ensure that reading order is logical. Avoid horizontal scrolling.
- Page Content – Use the clearest, simplest, and most concise language appropriate for a page’s subject matter.
- Alternative Accessible Versions – Use separate or text-only accessible versions of content only as a last resort.
- Contact Information – Provide contact information so that individuals with disabilities can report accessibility problems or
request information in an alternate accessible format.
- Testing – Test for accessibility. Use an automated testing tool to identify common accessibility problems. If possible, do user testing.
Learn About Other U.S. State Accessibility Laws
Click on the map below to learn more about captioning and web accessibility laws in other states.
3 Essential Steps for Building Accessibility into the Procurement Process
Accessibility should be included from the start. The best way to achieve this is by having clear guidelines and processes in place that all members of an organization can refer to. Kara Zirkle is an accessibility specialist who has helped establish comprehensive…
Captioning and Transcription for Medical Content
Whether it’s a hospital marketing video, instructional surgery video, recorded medical course lecture, or any other kind of medical multimedia content, adding captions and transcripts is a must. Videos without captions are not accessible to people who are deaf and hard of…
Audio Description for Higher Education
Incorporating video into higher education is extremely common. In a student research study, students reported that almost 100% of courses included some video content in both online and face-to-face environments. Meanwhile, according to the report for the 2015 National Health Interview Survey,…
Subscribe to the Blog Digest
Sign up for our blog digest. Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your email address.