Virginia State Web Accessibility Laws
If you work for the state of Virginia, you should be aware of how state web accessibility laws may affect you and your organization.
All state colleges, state universities, and state agencies in Virginia must comply with Section 508 web accessibility requirements. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) may set additional design rules or guidelines for these organizations to follow.
VITA’s IT Accessibility Standards page states:In order to guarantee access to all Virginians, any Web site that is the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia must fully meet federal and state accessibility law.
The official effective date of the Commonwealth’s most recent Standards is November 4, 2005. All executive branch agencies and institutions of higher education should reference this official date in their plans for mandatory compliance with the Standards.
VITA offers a suite of resources to assist state organizations to comply with Section 508, including:
- One free license for compliance software per state offices or department that requests it.
- Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services’comprehensive Web Accessibility Template Guide
- Full text document of the Virginia Information Technology Accessibility Standard
- VITA standard checklist
- VITA Accessibility Toolkit Overview
- PDF Guide: Alternative Text Guidelines
- PDF Guide: Basics of Captioning for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- PDF Guide: Developing Accessible E-Learning
- PDF Guide: Developing Accessible Software Applications and Content
- PDF Guide: Developing Accessible Telecommunications
- PDF Guide: Developing Alternative Formats
- List of companies that provide Section 508 software to create accessible documents
- Links to more accessible design resources.
Virginia’s Closed Captioning Standards
For closed captioning specifically, the VITA web standards state:Captions allow Web audio and video to be perceivable to those who do not have access to audio,
and understandable to a wider audience. Section 508 [1194.22 (b)], which is a part of the Virginia
Web Site Standard, states that, “Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be
synchronized with the presentation.”
Captions should be:
- Synchronized: the text content should appear at approximately the same time that
audio would be available.
- Equivalent: content provided in captions should be equivalent to that of the spoken
- Accessible: caption content should be readily accessible and available to those who
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