Q: How does Oracle's Accessibility Program relate to recent acquisitions?
A: Many acquired companies, such as PeopleSoft, already had programs in place to meet the standards of Section 508. The Accessibility Program Office engages with the strategy and development teams of the acquired companies to align them with Oracle programs and process. Just as with the 'core' Oracle products, VPATs for these products will, over time, appear on http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/accessibility/vpats-162843.html.
Q: Are customer products built with Oracle tools automatically accessible?
A: No. Oracle tools enable you to build accessible products, but you must follow the guidelines documented for each tool, and you must be aware of accessibility requirements in general. An accessible product requires proper design, coding and testing. Whitepapers for many Oracle tool products are listed at http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/accessibility/products/index.html.
Q: What is the accessibility status of products released prior to 2001?
A: Section 508 standards went into effect in 2001, so products released prior to the published standards do not incorporate Section 508 requirements. Some Oracle products released prior to 2001 may contain some degree of accessibility, such as keyboard functionality; however older releases were not designed nor tested to meet Section 508 criteria. Only products that have published VPATs are accessible as provided in their VPATs.
STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS COMPLIANCE
Q: Are Oracle products ADA or DDA compliant?
A: The U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act, and the U.K. Disability Discrimination Act, require employers to provide 'reasonable accommodation' or not put employees at a 'substantial disadvantage' compared to other employees. It is the responsibility of each employer to adhere to their laws, by providing an appropriate work environment, tools, productivity adjustments, etc. Oracle products have accessibility features that assist an employer in achieving compliance with the ADA or DDA, but accessibility of software is just one factor in achieving such compliance.
Q: Are Oracle products WCAG 1.0 Priority 1 compliant?
A: Some Oracle products are coded to meet the standards of WCAG 1.0 priority 2 (also known as 'AA'), which is stricter than Priority 1. This information is listed in the VPAT; if there is no mention of WCAG 1.0 then the product does not meet those standards, or has not been completely evaluated. Because WCAG 1.0 only pertains to HTML, products which contain no HTML will indicate in their VPAT that WCAG does not apply.
Q: Will an HTML checker automate testing?
A: There are a variety of testing tools on the market, but no single evaluation tool yet provides a totally automated solution. Some aspects of testing require a measure of human inspection and judgment. For example, standards require that color cannot be the only means of conveying information, but no automated tool can determine exactly how color on a page is being used. Current testing tools can flag relevant code as an item to be examined, but tools cannot automatically determine if that code meets the standard. Also, automated tools invariably check for a specific coding solutions, and upon not finding that specific code, will report an error. That does not necessarily mean that the product being evaluated fails to meet the standard.
CERTIFICATIONS AND CONFIGURATIONS
Q: Are Oracle products certified with assistive technology such as JAWS?
A: Oracle does not certify its products to run with any particular assistive technology or version. Oracle products are coded to standards, and are capable of providing comparable access to individuals with disabilities when they are used in accordance with Oracle's product documentation and provided that assistive technologies and other products used with them properly interoperate with our product.
Q: Are there special steps for using Java-based applications with assistive technology?
A: If the Oracle application is written in Java, such as JDeveloper or Oracle Forms (runtime), customers must first install the latest version of Sun's Java Access Bridge. The Java Access Bridge provides the integration with screen readers such as JAWS or SuperNova that support Java. You just download the Access Bridge and install it. Sun's AccessBridge 2.0x recognizes Oracle's JInitiator 1.3x and above so no manual configuration steps are necessary. The Access Bridge is available from: http://java.sun.com/products/accessbridge. At the time this document was written, Access Bridge 2.0.1 is the most current publicly available production release; Oracle recommends upgrading to this version. Sun's AccessBridge is bundled with Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) and can be found in the Java Runtime Engine (JRE). More information for configuring such products is in the respective product documentation, or on http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/accessibility/products/index.html.
Q: What is Oracle's recommended configuration?
A: Oracle encourages users to be on the latest version of their operating system, browser, product, and assistive technology for the best experience. The latest assistive technology patches are strongly recommended, as these are often available on a very frequent basis, and upgrading individual desktops is not as costly as other types of system-wide software upgrades. While Oracle does not certify any specific assistive technology, there are some minimum versions that are strongly recommended. Product-specific documentation may contain additional comments about recommended configurations, and should be used in preference to the following general statements:
Oracle products are most accessible on the Windows platform such as Windows XP, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2003 with latest service packs. We recommend that you use the newest version of the OS that is certified with your particular Oracle product.
Oracle products are most accessible with Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher
Java Virtual Machine
JInitiator 1.3.x or Sun J2SE Native Plug-in 1.4 or higher
Sun's Access Bridge
JAWS 7.0 or higher
ZoomText 9.02.28 or higher
SuperNova Professional 6.54 or higher
Dragon Naturally Speaking
DNS 7 or higher
MAGic 9.30 or higher
TROUBLESHOOTING AND SUPPORT
Q: How should we address potential "bugs"?
A: Given the complexity of accessibility solutions, unexpected behaviors can occur that are unrelated to what we traditionally identify as "bugs". Accessibility poses a unique challenge as products can be correctly coded and perform exactly as coded, but anomalies may occur when IT and AT products interact. These anomalies do not fall into the category of traditionally defined "bugs," and they do not imply that Oracle products do not meet applicable standards.
Large, complex IT applications may place new demands on some AT products and some unexpected behaviors may occur that require product enhancement or feature modifications. Some AT products may have mutual incompatibilities when loaded onto the same machine, or may cause performance problems that could impact an IT product. One of the most common problems we encounter is that machines have insufficient memory or processing power to run both the AT and the application.
Suspected "bugs" need to be associated with the appropriate vendor. Should a bug be identified, it will be addressed in a manner consistent with that vendor's standard business practice. Not all bugs are the same. They vary as to source, type and severity. Annoyance level bugs, unrelated to core product functionality may not even be noticed by most users and pose no concern in terms of product usage. If problems are identified, fixes will be released in accordance with standard industry practices.
Q: How do I interact with Support if I am disabled?
A: Oracle Support offers a range of services, but all services provide for two types of customer interface: MetaLink (internet) or telephone support. Oracle MetaLink offers 24x7 web support services. https://metalink.oracle.com/. MetaLink is a legacy system that has varying degrees of accessibility in both navigation and content. The content repository has been accumulated over time and contains files that are both accessible and inaccessible. Legacy documentation on Metalink will be made accessible upon request.
Effective October 2007 customers may now call an AT&T Customer Assistant by dialing 711 or 1-800-855-2880 who will then serve as a relay between the caller and Oracle Support at 1-800-223-1711. Complete instructions for using the AT&T Relay service can be found here: http://www.consumer.att.com/relay/tty/standard2.html. Once in contact with Oracle Support an engineer will handle technical issues according to normal service request handling processes.