Web standards and targets for public web resources

Web resources intended for public access which are produced and hosted solely by us, the University of the West of England, are expected to comply in full with the following specifications of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

  • CSS1 or CSS2
  • HTML 4.01 or XHTML1.0

Such web pages will to the greatest practical extent, follow the accessibility guidance and standards of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These are together as the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

We aim to make all our public web resources meet level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) 2.

Web resource commissioners3 in faculties and services are expected to uphold this University policy.

We expect contractors to be made aware of our accessibility policy and targets if they are creating or supporting web services for us. Web accessibility should be a consideration in the procurement of web services, including services hosted by third parties.

We are engaged in a number of collaborative ventures with other organisations. Web content produced as part of these ventures is not necessarily covered by this policy, but we urge all parties to identify an accessibility policy.

Some aspects of the level AA standard are open to interpretation. We aim to be consistent in our interpretation of those standards.

Confirming AA compliance

Confirming AA compliance requires a number of checks to be carried out on a web page. Some of these can be done automatically, but many can only be done by manual inspection. The person creating or editing a web resource should make manual inspection of each new or edited web resource to ensure it meets our stated targets before it is published.

Many of our web pages are based on a small number of generic templates. These templates can be fully checked.

Measurable target 1: All generic templates are compliant with our interpretation of the AA standard.

We will identify appropriate software tools to perform automatic checks on our web pages. These include but will not be limited to, our selection of an appropriate Content Management System to support compliance with WAI standards.

Measurable target 2: None of our public pages have detectable errors preventing AA compliance, as far as can be determined using the tools we identify.

On some pages, we may claim full A, AA or AAA compliance, and include the W3C A, AA or AAA logo.

Measurable target 3: We will only use W3C logos if we have made suitable, sufficient and auditable checks to give a high level of confidence that the target is achieved.

We will actively seek opportunities to engage disabled users in the development of University web resources.

We will periodically audit our web pages to ensure they remain accessible and appropriate. Website commissioners will be responsible for identifying and maintaining appropriate audit cycles for their web resources.

Notes

  1. 'Public' meaning web pages that can be reached by the general public. This policy does not cover those web resources intended to support teaching and learning via electronic means, which fall under the framework in SENDA (2001).
  2. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) defines three accessibility levels in its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) issue 1.0. In increasing levels of accessibility, these are: A , AA , and AAA.
  3. A website commissioner is the individual who commissions the website (ie mandates its creation and development). Unless otherwise indicated on the website, the website commissioner will be the Dean or Head of Service for the faculty or service for which the site has been commissioned.

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