Duke University Web Accessibility Guidelines

Duke University (Duke) employs a multi-faceted strategy to address the accessibility of its websites.  The Worldwide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0, Level AA Conformance (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) is Duke’s preferred accessibility standard for most content on websites.  For multimedia content, Duke will use Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, as its preferred standard.  Standards comparable to WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508 may also be used as a guide to promoting accessible programs and activities.  

Duke has designated a Web Accessibility Administrator (Contact: web-accessibility@duke.edu), whose primary responsibility is to oversee compliance with these guidelines and to promote accessibility efforts across the enterprise.  

The following principles guide Duke’s web accessibility efforts.  The Web Accessibility Administrator will develop implementation guidelines to implement these principles:

  • New or Substantially Modified Pages –
    Effective November 1, 2017, any Duke unit, division, or department that builds or substantially modifies its website must incorporate, to the extent feasible, accessibility standards into the build or re-build process.

  • Existing Webpages -
    The Web Accessibility Administrator will oversee a process of reviewing and addressing accessibility issues on certain priority websites.

    • Tier 1 Websites include sites that contain essential information and on which critical transactions are performed.  Tier 2 Websites include homepages (including the webpages in the primary navigation) of academic divisions, academic departments, and core administrative offices.  The Web Accessibility Administrator will publish a list of websites that fall into Tier 1 and 2.  

    • The Web Accessibility Administrator will develop an initial remediation schedule for Tier 1 and 2 Websites and work with relevant units to identify and address any accessibility issues on those sites.

    • The Web Accessibility Administrator will oversee a process of conducting periodic accessibility scans of Tier 1 and 2 Websites, after such sites have been remediated.  Tier 1 Websites will be scanned at least once a month.  Tier 2 Websites will be scanned at least twice annually.  The Administrator will work with the owner of the websites to address, to the extent feasible, any accessibility issues identified through the scan.

    • In consultation with the Duke’s Chief Compliance Officer and other stakeholders, the Web Accessibility Administrator may identify and publish other tiers of priority websites and adopt remediation and scanning schedules for such sites.  
  • Multimedia Content (e.g., videos) –
    Effective November 1, 2017, any multimedia content posted on the homepage of a Tier 1 or 2 Website must be captioned using one of the University’s approved captioning processes.  For more information on captioning, see the captioning guidance page.

  • Modification Requests -
    Any Duke community member who encounters accessibility barriers to information on any of Duke’s websites is encouraged to notify the Web Accessibility Administrator, who will take reasonable efforts to bring the content into alignment with accessibility standards.  Please understand that resources may dictate at any given time how accessible a particular application or website can be.  Requests for change should be submitted to web-accessibility@duke.edu.

  • Vendors -
    Duke requires vendors who develop and/or maintain its websites and web-based applications to demonstrate that their products meet accessibility standards to the extent practicable.  Vendors shall provide the results of accessibility testing and a description of the steps they are taking to bring their content into alignment with accessibility standards. University groups working with outside vendors will need to include web accessibility requirements within their scope of work or request for proposal.

The Web Accessibility Administrator(s) publishes materials to aid content developers and communicators in developing and maintaining accessible websites.  The Web Accessibility Administrator periodically conducts and/or oversees a training and awareness program regarding the same.  Questions about the feasibility and/or practicability of implementing any of the requirements in these guidelines should be directed to the Web Accessibility Administrator and/or the Director of the Disability Management System.