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Standards and Guidelines

Displayed on screen is a crown logo with text, "Keep calm and read WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines"
Mike Gifford, CC BY-NC 2.0

Goals

Virginia Tech is committed to providing equal access to information, programs, and activities delivered through its official digital resources. Official digital resources include web sites, web-based applications, digital content, and media used to conduct university business or academic activities delivered to people and organizations internal to and external to the university.

The Importance of Standards

Standards and guidelines explain the what, why, and how of making web content accessible. Web content comprised of text, images, sound, video, and other media includes markup languages or code to define structure, presentation, and alternatives for people with disabilities.

Laws and Policy

Among the laws, standards, and policies that inform what it means to provide "equal access" at Virginia Tech are the following:

Functional Performance Criteria

Individuals with disabilities use a variety of abilities, techniques, and assistive technologies to access digital information. From a practical standpoint, digital resources must therefore be compliant with accessibility standards and guidelines, as well as being compatible with adaptive or assistive technologies. The following functional performance criteria can be used to judge whether accessibility is effectively achieved. All information and functionality presented in websites, web-based applications, or other digital resources must be available in a manner that is:

  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable with system font sizes and colors set by the user
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable using a keyboard only
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable using leading screen magnification software
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable using leading screen or synthesized speech reading software
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable using leading speech recognition software
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable without sound
  • Completely perceivable, operable, and understandable without color
  • Robust by using technologies according to their specifications
  • Clearly and consistently navigable
  • Unlikely to trigger photosensitive seizures

Reference Standards and Guidelines

It is sometimes necessary to reference the source specifications for the various web content, digital document and accessibility standards, in order to know what to do to make digital resources accessible. Here is a listing of some of the most relevant ones.

Web and Digital Document Standards

Accessibility Standards