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Web Accessibility

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What is web accessibility?

Accessible websites and web applications are designed to be usable by anyone, regardless of device, language, culture, location, or disability. Specifically, web accessibility is a set of practices, choices, and standards aimed at making websites that people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities can easily navigate and use.

Cornell is committed to diversity and inclusiveness, with the goal of providing a usable and welcoming environment to all. Accessibility should be an integral part of any web project, and all web content should conform to the latest version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) using the AA standard. See University Policy 5.12, Web Accessibility Standards, for specifics. General information about Cornell's Web Accessibility program is below. More information and resources to help colleges, departments, and teams achieve this goal are available under the Web Accessibility category on IT@C and additional help can be requested via the Web Accessibility support forms.

Siteimprove: Monitor Your Site's Accessibility

Web development best practices include bringing your website to level AA conformance based on the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Web accessibility must be actively maintained as technologies and browsers change; meeting the WCAG standard requires a combination of automated and manual testing.

By monitoring your website with the Siteimprove website scanning service, you will be able to identify any automatically detectible web accessibility bugs and can more easily keep track of changes in the site's accessibility over time. Note that the Siteimprove scanning service can only be used on public websites that are not behind logins; for sites that are behind logins, you will need to test individual pages with the Siteimprove browser extensionAdditional manual testing will help identify bugs that automated testing cannot spot.

Siteimprove is available at no cost by staff and faculty for websites related to official university business, or in support of the university mission.

Manual Web Accessibility Testing

Some of the most critical accessibility barriers cannot be identified through automated testing, so it is important to perform at least basic manual testing of websites and web applications. Basic tests include keyboard testing, color contrast checks, and reviews of media to ensure that all images, video, and audio content include the necessary supports. For more details, please see the Recommended Web Accessibility Testing Plan page.

Vended Products and Services

Vended digital products and services used throughout the university should also be accessible, especially if those products are necessary for completing course activities or university business processes. Some vended products and services should undergo testing by the Web Accessibility team to confirm their accessibility conformance; for more details, please see the Vended Product Review Process page.

Accessible Web Content

One part of the Cornell community who can have significant impact on the accessibility of university websites and other digital content is anyone who creates or publishes web content. Whether you're writing content for a college website, creating emails and campaigns to go out to alumni, or publishing videos of recent events, you should ensure that you're structuring your content with accessibility in mind and including all necessary accessibility supports. Please see Accessibility and Embedded Videos and Alternative Text for Images for information on accessible media. If you would like training on making web content accessible, please reach out to the Web Accessibility team.

Support Contact:

Cornell IT Service Desk

Normal Business Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm (Eastern Time)
Emergency Service Disruptions: After Hours Support

Service Details:


This page gives an overview of the web accessibility services available through CIT.


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