So, What is this Site?
This site is designed to be a one-stop-shop to help educate our VCU community on the path to digital accessibility, starting with RamPages. In the future, we hope to branch out to other forms of digital media, such as Word documents, PDFs, and videos. Accessibility in general is always a moving target, but we cover the basics here to make sure the foundation of any RamPage is sound, strong, and ready for your creative flair. So come on in and get comfy–we’re here to guide you!
This site features a checklist that can be expanded upon for each individual to learn more, as needed. If you feel confident in your tech vocabulary and understanding, feel free to simply use the checklist to go through your RamPage. If you are new to accessibility and/or WordPress in general, we recommend reading through each topic prior to using the checklist. And if you are somewhere in between, feel free to use the checklist as a starting point, but visit each topic as needed if you get stuck! The idea is to be able to use the checklist and tick off each component against your RamPage to make sure your page meets basic accessibility criteria.
What is Web Accessibility, Anyway?
“Web accessibility” refers to the process of making websites available to individuals with disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the leading voice in the field, provides examples of the sorts of disabilities that web accessibility aims to accommodate: “blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.” While there are many standards that attempt to regulate and define web accessibility, there is currently no legal mandate for a specific standardization. However, most of the world operates under the principles of WCAG 2.0 ( or “wih-cag”), which is what this blog will also use to help better guide faculty and staff in understanding web accessibility.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s efforts to ensure web accessibility demonstrate the university’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. In addition, federal law also prohibits universities from discriminating on the basis of disability; in 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, and these associated regulations continue to change.
VCU believes that an emphasis on web accessibility benefits all web users, regardless of ability, and that the tips gathered on this blog will provide ways for instructors to increase accessibility and overall quality of their course webpages. Although this blog focuses on Rampages sites, the principles also apply more generally across the web as a whole.