Oregon State University

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 are referred to in the IT Accessibility Policy.

These guidelines have been chosen as policy for OSU because they are widely accepted and have been developed by experts through intense research and a lengthy detailed process. The overarching international community responsible for developing web standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is a very large and structured community that has as one component the development of standards for accessibility. Also, the current draft refresh of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, a law governing standards for electronic and information technology within federal departments and agencies, is trying to harmonize with the WCAG guidelines to create a more seamless set of web standards for accessibility.

The first iteration of WCAG, WCAG 1.0, was adopted in 1999. The more current version, and the one referenced in the policy, WCAG 2.0, was adopted in 2008.

There are four guiding principles for accessible web design within WCAG 2.0: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.

Deeper within those four guiding principles are three levels of Success Criteria for conformance with the guidelines; A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). The OSU IT Accessibility Policy requires conformance with the first two levels; A and AA. There are a total of 38 success criteria that fall under these two levels. This does not mean that you should not try to achieve AAA level of conformance where possible, only that the first two levels; A and AA are required by policy.

Within this website you will find help on these success criteria, and they are broken down as much as possible by type of content that you'll be using on your websites.  Since this site is meant as education and tools for the broader OSU community, including many of us without technical expertise in web content creation, this site is geared more towards these individuals. Not all success criteria are talked about within the individual pages on this site, since in many instances the offices with technical expertise, including Central Web Services & Web Communications, control many of the very technical success criteria. If you are a unit that does not utilize those offices services, you are encouraged to do so, as they can help you not only conform to OSU Brand Guidelines, including our own OSU web design standards, but they can help make certain your site is also accessible and receives updates on a frequent basis.

WCAG 2.0 A & AA Success Criteria

The following success criteria are referenced within the pages on this website. In addition to these points, WCAG 2.0 gives us a lot of educational tools to help guide us. You will find links within each specific success criteria that will help guide you in understanding why the particular success criteria is important and how to meet each success criteria.

1.1.1. Non-text Content: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for [some exceptions]. (Level A)
1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded): For prerecorded audio-only and prerecorded video-only media, the following are true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such: (Level A)
  • Prerecorded Audio-only: An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded audio-only content.
  • Prerecorded Video-only: Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content.
1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded): Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)
1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded): An alternative for time-based media or audio description of the prerecorded video content is provided for synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)
1.2.4 Captions (Live): Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media. (Level AA)
1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded): Audio description is provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media. (Level AA)
1.3.1 Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A)
1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence: When the sequence in which content is presented affects its meaning, a correct reading sequence can be programmatically determined. (Level A)
1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics: Instructions provided for understanding and operating content do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound. (Level A)
1.4.1. Use of Color: Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. (Level A)
1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except for [exceptions]. (Level A)
2.1.1 Keyboard: All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user's movement and not just the endpoints. (Level A)
2.4.1 Bypass Blocks: A mechanism is available to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple Web pages. (Level A)
2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context): The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general. (Level A)
2.4.6 Headings and Labels: Headings and labels describe topic or purpose. (Level AA)
2.4.7 Focus Visible: Any keyboard operable user interface has a mode of operation where the keyboard focus indicator is visible. (Level AA)
3.1.1 Language of Page: The default human language of each Web page can be programmatically determined. (Level A)
3.1.2 Language of Parts: The human language of each passage or phrase in the content can be programmatically determined except for proper names, technical terms, words of indeterminate language, and words or phrases that have become part of the vernacular of the immediately surrounding text. (Level AA)
3.3.2 Labels or Instructions: Labels or instructions are provided when content requires user input. (Level A)
3.2.3 Consistent Navigation: Navigational mechanisms that are repeated on multiple Web pages within a set of Web pages occur in the same relative order each time they are repeated, unless a change is initiated by the user. (Level AA)

Contact Info

Equity and Inclusion
526 Kerr Administration Corvallis, Oregon 97331 Ph: 541-737-3556 Accessibility Email
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