Web Standards & Guidelines

The Importance of the Web Standards & Guidelines

As a diverse, urban university, the many schools and departments within Virginia Commonwealth University offer unique cultures and perspectives. Each individual department and school reflects that variation. The web publishing guidelines have been established to accommodate the individuality of each unit's websites, while sustaining a consistent university environment with standard visual elements and an accessible experience throughout the VCU domain.

Adhering to the VCU web standards & guidelines for your website will help:

  • create a strong and unified identity for Virginia Commonwealth University
  • identify your organization as a member of the university community
  • provide a good experience for visitors by making your site more accessible, quicker and easier to use, and more secure
  • establish consistency among the many unique school and departmental websites

The web standards and guidelines are a good starting point for making your sites more usable and accessible to visitors. This site only brushes the surface on many of the best practices covered - see the additional resources to delve deeper.

These guidelines are continually updated to stay current with the developing technology landscape. New additions and edits are first discussed in the Web Users Group and recorded on the History page.


The amount of requirements a website must comply with is relative to the scope/intention of the website.

Organizational Websites

Organizational websites must comply with the Organizational Websites, Management & Hosting policy as well as all requirements of the VCU Web Standards & Guidelines. Organizational websites are reviewed annually for compliance using the VCU A-Z Index, which they must be listed in as per the General, Visibility & Ownership (1.6) requirement. This is done in hopes of creating a strong and unified identity, provide a good experience for visitors, and establish consistency for our decentralized university web presence.

Accessibility Reviews

All VCU websites must be compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AAExisting VCU websites will be reviewed periodically for web accessibility compliance. VCU Web Services reserves the right to take down any website not in compliance in the event website owners do not take the necessary steps to fix non-compliant websites as indicated upon reviewal.