Read time: 5 minutes 45 seconds

The South Australian Government wrote this guide. When you see the word ‘we’, it means the South Australian Government.

We have written some words using bold. We explain what these words mean. There is a list of these words in our word list. The word list is provided in the final section on this page.

This easy to read guide is a summary of our online accessibility policy.

A policy is a plan the government writes that tells people what to do.

You can find the policy at:

What is this guide about?

If something is accessible, everyone can use it.

This might be:

  • a place or a building
  • a service
  • technology – all the methods, systems, and devices we use in our daily life.

We have a policy for making technology accessible.

Everyone who works in the South Australian Government needs to use our policy.

Our policy was approved by the Government on 16 May 2019.

We based it on another document called the Digital Service Standard.

The Digital Service Standard explains how governments must make their websites.

Governments around Australia use it.

You can find out more about the policy on our Online Accessibility Toolkit website.

There are lots of tools and information on that website to help you use the policy.

What is this policy for?

This policy explains our approach to online accessibility.

This policy is for projects where we:

  • create new websites
  • use new technology
  • update our old websites or technology.

What technology does the policy include?

Our policy includes all the technology our government uses.

That might be:

  • websites that the public can use
  • an intranet or extranet – websites that only our staff use
  • apps that we create or use. Apps are programs or software for mobile phones and tablets
  • documents we publish online. This might include:
    • Microsoft Word documents
    • Portable Document Format (PDF) files
    • ePub files – a type of eBook
  • online forms and surveys
  • systems we use, such as:
    • online payments
    • online learning
    • online accounts.
  • videos
  • audio files – sound recordings, like podcasts
  • software that we use

This policy applies to technology that:

  • we create and use
  • other organisations create for us to use

What laws apply?

Our policy is based on laws that apply:

  • all over Australia
  • just in South Australia

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is an Australian law. It explains how people with disability must be treated fairly.

There are 2 laws from South Australia that apply.

  • The Equal Opportunity Act 1984.
    • This law says that everyone should be able to use government services.
  • The Disability Inclusion Act 2018.
    • This law explains how the government is making sure we include people with disability in our community.

We also have the Digital by Default Declaration. This is a document that explains how we will use more online services.

The Digital by Default Declaration says: “Digital services will be available online, mobile-ready, easy to use and accessible.”

Other rules and agreements

There are other important rules and agreements we use.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is an organisation that helps make sure our community is fair for people with disability.

The AHRC has also published information about making websites accessible.

The AHRC says that people with disability must get the same access to information as everyone else.

This is the law. All governments in Australia must have accessible websites.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability explains the rights of people with disability. It is used by governments around the world.

The National Disability Strategy explains what governments around Australia can do to make our community better for people with disability.

What does the policy say we need to do?

The policy says that we need to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

We often call these WCAG.

WCAG are a list of the rules for making online content accessible for everyone.

There are different levels of WCAG that we need to use.

WCAG 2.1 AA has extra rules about accessibility for:

  • mobile phones
  • people with low vision
  • people with cognitive disability – they have a disability that affects how they think.

We want to use WCAG 2.1 AA whenever we can.

There is a guide called ‘How to meet WCAG’.

It’s a helpful starting point for:

  • understanding WCAG
  • how to put the rules into practice.

Guides to accessible design

There are some good guides available to help you make your websites and online content accessible.

These guides come from the Australian Government.

The Digital Service Standard explains the best ways to plan and create online services for government.

A good starting point is Criterion 9: Make it accessible.

These other parts of the Digital Service Standard are also very helpful:

The Design System has a set of tools to help designers and developers build online products and services.

The Content Strategy Guide explains how to make your online content work well.

The Content Guide explains how to write good online content.

The Content Guide has a section on accessibility and inclusivity. It also explains why you should make your content easy to read.

The service design and delivery process help teams build better services for all users.

Accessibility on mobile

It’s important for online content to be accessible on:

  • mobile phones
  • tablets.

Mobile Accessibility at W3C explains the rules for accessibility on mobile.

WCAG 2.1 covers the accessibility of apps.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

PDFs are a popular way of publishing documents online.

PDFs can be made accessible.

But they are not always easy to use on mobile devices.

This means that we can never publish a PDF on its own.

We must always offer another version as well.

Ideally, content should be published as a web page, made using HTML.

HTML is a markup language used to write web pages.

Web pages are easier:

  • to make accessible
  • to use on all devices.


Multimedia includes video and audio files.

The accessibility rules for multimedia are covered under WCAG.

The section that applies is Guideline 1.2 – Time-based Media.

Other software

Software is a name for computer programs.

Not all software is used online.

For example, we only use some software on our computers at work.

We don’t get it from the internet.

There are rules about the way we buy and use this software.

What do we need to do when we buy technology?

When the government buys technology, we must make sure it is accessible.

This includes the computer programs and software that we use.

There is a set of rules for buying accessible technology.

This set of rules applies around the world.

We also use the Australian Accessible ICT Standard. It is a set of rules based on the rules from Europe.

The people who sell us the technology must prove it is accessible.

Sometimes we ask experts to help us make sure our technology is accessible.

How do we know if the policy is going well?

The law says that all areas of our government must have a Disability Action and Inclusion Plan.

These plans explain how each area of government is making the community more:

  • accessible
  • inclusive

If something is inclusive, everyone can take part.

Each area must have a plan by 31 October 2020. They must publish a report each year.

The report must explain how:

  • the plan is going
  • they are using this policy

Want to know more?

Contact us to find out more about the Online Accessibility Policy.

Word list


If something is accessible, everyone can use it. This might be:

  • a place or a building
  • a service
  • technology


Apps are programs or software for mobile phones and tablets.


A computer, mobile phone or tablet.


Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a markup language used to write web pages.


If something is inclusive, everyone can take part.

Intranet or extranet

Websites that only South Australian government staff use.


Portable Document Format.


A policy is a plan the government writes that tells people what to do.


All the methods, systems, and devices we use in our daily life.

Last update: 25 October 2019, first published.

Page last updated: 15 June 2020