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Accessibility Compliance Objective for the University of Denver

The University of Denver has adopted the Worldwide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0, Level AA Conformance (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) as its goal for accessible University Websites.

Understanding Degree of Accordance:

There are three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA

  • Level A: For Level A conformance (the minimum level of conformance), the Web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or a conforming alternate version is provided. This is the minimal level of compliance for a web page. All University website pages should satisfy a Level A conformance.
  • Level AA: For Level AA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming alternate version is provided. The University strives to reach Level AA conformance.
  • Level AAA: For Level AAA conformance, the Web page satisfies all the Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria, or a Level AAA conforming alternate version is provided. When possible the University looks to fulfill Level AAA compliance, however, this is not possible as a general policy as it is impossible for entire sites to achieve Level AAA as not all content is capable of satisfying this level of compliance.

Note 1: Although conformance can only be achieved at the stated levels, authors are encouraged to report (in their claim) any progress toward meeting success criteria from all levels beyond the achieved level of conformance.

Note 2: It is not recommended that Level AAA conformance be required as a general policy for entire sites because it is not possible to satisfy all Level AAA Success Criteria for some content.

Achieving conformance to “Level AA” standards relies on four principles which perpetuate and facilitate access and use of web content by users with disabilities. Adherence to these principles entails developing and updating website content that is:

  1. Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
  2. Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable.
  3. Understandable - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
  4. Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Implementation Guidelines

The University of Denver utilizes a “self-serve” process of managing website content. Reality dictates that conformance to WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines may be an undue burden due to the nature of the content, the purpose of the resource, the lack of accessible solutions, or an unreasonably high administrative or financial cost necessary to make the resource meet that goal. However, these difficulties do not relieve University programs or activities from meeting applicable legal obligations to provide reasonable accommodations to Users in regard to access to the content and services provided on University of Denver Websites.  Managers of University programs and activities must be prepared to provide content and/or services in a suitable alternative format (e.g., electronic text file or audio description) or manner upon request
Some considerations of implementation include, but are not exclusive to:

  1. New Development: New University of Denver Website development, including development for major revisions and updates of existing University Websites, should conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. 
  2. Accessibility Monitoring: While the it is expected that programs and activities created and disseminate content that conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards, IT will continue to test University of Denver websites for accessibility and report accessibility issues to the content managers for that website.
  3. Images and Animation: Use the alt=“text” and title=“text” attributes to provide text equivalents for images. Use alt=“” for images that do not convey important information or convey redundant information.
  4. Image Maps: Use client-side image maps and alternative text for image map hot spots. If a server-side map is needed, provide equivalent text links.
  5. Graphs and Charts: Summarize the content of each graph and chart, or use longdesc attribute to link to the description or data.
  6. Audio/Video: Provide captions or transcripts of important audio content. Provide transcripts, captions or audio descriptions of important video content.
  7. Scripts: Ensure the functionality of scripts is keyboard accessible. If the content affected is not accessible, provide an alternative.
  8. Applets, Plugins and Non-HTML Content: When an applet, plug-in or other application is required to be present, provide a link to one that is directly accessible, or provide alternate content for those which are not directly accessible.
  9. Forms: Make forms accessible to assistive technology.
  10. Skip to Main Content: Provide methods for slipping over navigation links to get to main content of a page.
  11. Frames: Provide a title for each FRAME element and frame page. Provide an accessible source for each frame.
  12. Table Headers: Use the TH element to mark up table heading cells. Use the headers attribute on cells of complex data tables.
  13. Cascading Style Sheets: Web pages should be readable without requiring style sheets.
  14. Color & Content: Ensure that all information conveyed with color is also conveyed in the absence of color.
  15. Blinking, Moving or Flickering Content: Avoid causing content blink, flicker or move.
  16. Time Responses: When a timed response is required, alert the user, and give sufficient time to indicate more time is required.
  17. Text-only page: If accessibility cannot be accomplished in any other way, provide a text-only page with equivalent information or functionality. Update the content of the text-only page whenever the primary content page changes.
  18. Verify accessibility: Test the accessibility using available tools.

Accessibility Resources: Page Validation and Disability Access Checkers

WebAim - WebAIM offers complete web accessibility services including Web Accessibility Tool
JAWS screen reader demo -- installing this software will allow you to explore how your pages sound to someone without sight (a very valuable education)
W3C Markup Validation Service checks the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. If you wish to validate specific content such as RSS/Atom feeds or CSS stylesheets, MobileOK content, or to find broken links, there are other validators and tools available.
WWW Organization collection of tools for evaluating and testing accessibility
Visicheck shows you what your page looks like to the colorblind.