At Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., we are committed to ensuring that our online products and Web sites have accessible features for all users, including those with disabilities. Many disabled people use assistive technologies, such as screen readers or voice-recognition software, to make their use of computers and access to the Internet possible. A Web site that is "accessible" can be used effectively by both disabled users and users without a disability. To fulfill the objectives of our accessibility commitment, we have adopted as our primary guidelines the Section 508 Web site accessibility standards set forth in December 2000 by the Access Board, an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. The Section 508 standards list the requirements that must be met to label a product or service "accessible." The Section 508 standards must be followed by Federal agencies for their own Web pages to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and companies that comply with the Section 508 standards can assure Federal agencies that their products are "accessible." For a list of our product accessibility features, see Encyclopædia Britannica Online's "Status of Compliance with Section 508's Accessibility Standards" below.
As a global company, Britannica is also committed to serving the needs of its international customers. As a result, in addition to the Section 508 standards for accessibility, we also strive to comply with the "Priority 1" checkpoints, which roughly correspond to the Section 508 standards, and "Priority 2" checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative, which is a subgroup of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). More information about the W3C and their accessibility guidelines can be found at http://www.w3.org/WAI.
We continuously test our Encyclopædia Britannica Online Web sites for compliance with the accessibility standards set forth above. The accessibility of Encyclopædia Britannica Online Web sites, however, depends on third party technologies provided by operating system, hardware platforms and assistive technologies, all of which can affect the level of accessibility of Encyclopædia Britannica Online Web sites. In order to continuously test our level of accessibility, our team of developers utilizes a software program called Bobby Worldwide developed by the nonprofit Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). To ensure the accessibility of the Web site in the classroom, we also consult with members of the disabled community on a regular basis. We will continue to enhance the accessibility of our online products as greater functionality becomes available to ensure ongoing usefulness to all users, including those with disabilities.