COAA: Digital Accessibility

The University of Virginia is committed to provide 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 through the internet and the University's intranet. 

Currently, our policy directs us to meet Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), specifically the WCAG 2.0/AA standard. As of Jan 18, 2017 the Section 508 refresh has been recorded in the Federal Register and requires compliance for federal agencies by Jan 18, 2018. This updated set of standards incorporates key aspects of the WCAG standard and provides standards for other areas of technology in addition to digital content. 

Creating and maintaining accessible content is a journey - not a one and done endeavor. Accessibility should be part of development from the onset of the project. Testing for and maintaining compliance is also an ongoing process. The following links provide resources and guidance to assist in this effort.

Policy and Standards

Compliance Reporting

UVA's Digital Accessiblity Project (DAP)

As part of the President's Executive Committee on Digital Access, the Digital Accessibility Project (DAP) currently underway at UVA is providing access to a number of tools by Level Access, the consulting firm working with UVA for this project. For more information on access and the use of the following tools, as well as the project itself, contact Catherine Spear or Melvin Mallory, ADA Coordinator in EOCR, or Don Reynard in ITS-CACS.

Getting Started: Guidance and Training

Resources from peer institutions



Accessible Document Creation/Remediation

Vendors are available to remediate documents. Cost is dependent upon the complexity of the document.

PDF Accessibility:

First ask yourself if the document must be in the .pdf file format. Created as an inflexible format, .pdf was designed to lock-in fonts, colors, spacing - basically disallow any modification to the document so it could look the same across applications and operating systems. By "remediating" or creating an accessible .pdf document, you are trying to make a document designed to be inflexible, flexible. 

Can your document be HTML or read-only Word (.doc) which can be much more accessibile? If not, below are links to help create accessible .pdf documents.

For complex PDF remediation:

Development and Testing Tools

    Keep in mind that automated testing tools uncover less than 30% of potential accessibility issues. It is important that you also conduct a manual functional test.


    Social Media Accessiblity


    Captioning and Audio Description

    There are two types of captioning to be aware of:

    • Live or Realtime captioning (Usually performed via live or remote CART)
    • Post-production captioning

    Live or Realtime captioning is used when captions are provided during a live event. This event can be either in person (e.g. presentations, in class, major events such as gradution) or via the web (e.g. streaming a live event over the web, engaging in web conference). This type of service is coordinated through the Student Disability Access Center. At least three weeks notice is required to arrange for this accommodation.

    Information regarding post-production captioning at UVA is maintained by the UVA Library. Our two primary vendors are 3Play Media and cielo24. Having agreed to the state's terms and conditions, we utilize contracts with these vendors originally negotiated by George Mason Univ through VASCUPP.

    For information regarding account creation, pricing and services available through each vendor: UVA Library - Accessibility Services - Captioning

    More information on captioning and guidance for DIY captioning:

    Audio descriptions provide a verbal description of the visual images and are intended as accommodations for individuals who are blind or with low vision. This service can be provided for video, but can also be part of live cultural events. It is time intensive, expensive, and an art. However, as technology improves, providing audio descriptions for video is becoming easier through tools such as YouDescribe.


    Accessibility Information from Vendors

    Accessibility information for software titles in use at UVA