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Old Dominion University

Information Technology Standard

09.2.0 Accessibility Standard

Date of Current Revision or Creation: November 1, 2021

The purpose of an Information Technology Standard is to specify requirements for compliance with Old Dominion University Information Technology policies, other University policies, as well as applicable laws and regulations. Standards may include business principles, best practices, technical standards, migration and implementation strategies, that direct the design, deployment and management of information technology.

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this standard is to establish minimum standards for the accessibility of Web-based information and services considered necessary to meet the University's goal and ensure compliance with applicable law.

  2. Definitions

    Access is the ability to receive, use, and manipulate data and operate controls included in information technology.

    Individual with Disabilities refers to any individual who is considered to have a disability for the purposes of any Federal or Virginia law.

    Information Technology Resources are defined as computers, telecommunication equipment, networks, automated data processing, databases, the Internet, printing, management information systems, and related information, equipment, goods, and services.

  3. Standards Statement

    Old Dominion University seeks to ensure that people with disabilities, including faculty, staff, students and the general public, have access to and use of information comparable to the access and use by people who do not have disabilities.

    The University will establish minimum standards for software applications, operating systems and web-based Internet and Intranet information and applications following the functional requirements of Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. This standard applies to all Web pages published or hosted by the University.

    Procurement, Development and Maintenance

    When procuring, developing, or maintaining electronic and information technology products, either directly or through administration of contracts, Old Dominion University will ensure that the products comply with all laws set forth in Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, unless an undue burden would be imposed.

    When procuring, developing, or maintaining a product, if the University determines that compliance with any provision of this standard imposes an undue burden, the documentation by the University supporting the procurement will explain why, and to what extent, compliance with each such provision creates an undue burden. Furthermore, when compliance with this standard is deemed to impose an undue burden, the University will make reasonable attempts to provide individuals with disabilities the information and data involved by an alternative method of access.

    Software Applications and Operating Systems

    When software is designed to run on a system that has a keyboard, product functions will be executable from a keyboard where the function itself or the result of performing a function can be discerned textually.

    Applications will not disrupt or disable activated features of other products that are identified as accessibility features, where those features are developed and documented according to industry standards.

    Applications will not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer.

    A well-defined on-screen indication of the current focus will be provided that moves among interactive interface elements as the input focus changes. The focus will be programmatically exposed so that assistive technology can track focus and focus changes.

    Sufficient information about a user interface element, including the identity, operation, and state of the element, will be available to assistive technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text.

    When bitmap images are used to identify controls, status indicators, or other programmatic elements, the meaning assigned to those images will be consistent throughout an application's performance.

    Textual information will be provided through operating system functions for displaying text. The minimum information that will be made available is text content, text input caret location, and text attributes.

    When animation is displayed, the information will be displayable in at least one non-animated presentation mode at the option of the user.

    Color-coding will not be used as the only means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

    When a product permits a user to adjust color and contrast settings, a variety of color selections capable of producing a range of contrast levels will be provided.

    Software will not use flashing or blinking text, objects, or other elements having a flash or blink frequency greater than 72 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

    When electronic forms are used, the form will allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

    Web-based Intranet and Internet Information and Applications

    A web site will ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. WAI WCAG checkpoint 2.2.

    The opening of new browser windows should only be done if the user is notified that a new window will open and there may be a possibility of functional difficulties.

    Use style sheets to control layout whenever possible

    Do not use tables for layout unless the table makes sense when linearized.

    Font sizes should be percentage based instead of fixed.

    A method will be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. (See: WATG for details.)

    Content headers will use the Heading Element (H1 through H6) hierarchy, although style sheets may be used to modify the size and other characteristics of that text.

    This Standard applies to all Web sites supported by the University, except downloadable documents (e.g. Word document, PowerPoint presentation, PDFs, etc.) although accessible and equivalent versions of the content must be available.

    HTML frames are forbidden when in the visual template.

    Title frames with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

    Video Capturing

    Videos also must meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandating that public universities provide effective communications to those with disabilities. Universities that use the Internet for communication regarding their programs, goods, and services must make that information accessible. Every effort should be made to provide (or make available upon request) a transcript for audio files (to include podcasts) posted on websites. For videos, synchronized audio must be closed-captioned.


    The Office of Educational Accessibility is responsible for assisting students with issues regarding the accessibility of official ODU resources. Faculty and staff should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Any person experiencing accessibility issues should notify the appropriate office. As the offices become aware of accessibility issues relating to a particular IT resource, it will contact the Information Technology Services.


    If necessary, at the discretion of the university leadership or their designees, some or all non-compliant portions of Web pages and resources may be brought into compliance by designated staff or contractors responsible for assuring the accessibility of that information on the Web.

  4. Procedures, Guidelines & Other Related Information

    Federal and State Law

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    U.S. Access Board's Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards

    W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative

    World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

    University Policy 4500 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

    University Policy 5406 Accommodations for individuals with Disabilities

    Office of Educational Accessibility

    Institutional Equity and Diversity/504 Coordinator

  5. History


    Responsible Party


    October 2008



    October 2009



    October 2010



    October 2011



    October 2012



    December 2012 IT Policy Office Numbering revision; links added
    August 2015 IT Policy Office/ISO
    Three year review, added updated video capture, complaints and enforcement information, legal authorities, resource links
    July 2018 IT Policy Office Definitions and links checked and revised
    November 2021 IT Policy Office Definitions and links checked and revised

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