Federal Checklist


  • Pages must include skip to content links
  • Title tags need to be unique for each page
  • Form inputs need to have associated labels
  • The entire site needs be navigable with only the keyboard
  • Non-trivial images must include alt text
  • Links need to have meaningful text and tell users where they are being pointed to
  • For all PDFs, users must be able to highlight text in a logical order and copy it to another program
  • Videos have to be captioned
  • Pages must set an appropriate language
  • Suitable color contrast ratios between text and background

VCU Specific Checklist


  • The website must represent VCU and not the VCU Health System.
  • The website must comply with VCU copyright policies.
  • The website does not promote commercial activity outside of official university business.
  • If the website contains sexually explicit content (as defined in the Organizational Websites, Management and Hosting policy), you must have a written warning statement, and the content is accessible only through a password mechanism.
  • A unit's primary web presence cannot be a blog.
  • If your site uses the VCU Branding Bar then it MUST be in the A-Z list.
  • At least one site owner (technical contact) must be listed in the VCU A-Z website manager.
  • Websites organizing or promoting a nonrecurring conference or event must be moved to or taken offline 12 months after the event has ended.


  • The website passes the WCAG 2.0 Level AA accessibility standard
  • The website contains zero HTML validation errors
  • The website contains a link to a “text only” version of the website
  • After the opening body tag a div with the id of “skip-links” must be included and enclose a series of skip links. You are encouraged to include skip links to major pieces of your website template, but the skips links must include at least one to the main content section.
  • The website should also be readable with stylesheets turned off.


  • The official VCU branding bar is loaded at the top of the page and is not obstructed from view or have any elements on top of it.
  • You are not referencing “VCU” or using any other unofficial logos or seals anywhere on the page.


  • General public: Audio and audiovisual media intended for the general public must have appropriate captioning.
  • Course content: VCU encourages instructors to use captioned videos and audio recordings as a best practice for accessible course design and requires instructors to ensure that any videos or recorded audio materials are captioned or transcribed for a student requiring such accommodation and registered with the appropriate disability office (Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity on the Monroe Park Campus or Division for Academic Success on the MCV Campus).
  • Employee content: Captioning is required for media intended for use by any VCU employee who has a relevant accommodation agreement on file with the ADA Coordinator.


  • A link to the VCU homepage with "Virginia Commonwealth University" spelled out. Including the VCU branding bar does not fulfill this requirement.
  • A link to the parent organization for your department or school (if applicable).
  • Contact information (address, phone, email) for your organization (This can be placed on a separate contact page that is linked from every page.)
  • The most recent date the site or page was last updated or reviewed. The date must be less than 12 months ago.
  • No instances of "PO Box ####." Due to a Trademark by the USPS, use "Box ####" instead.
  • Include a link to info
  • Include a mailto link to for website problems.
  • The website must include a link to the VCU privacy policy, Note: If a website includes their own privacy statement then it must contain all of the information within the official VCU privacy statement and a link to the official VCU privacy statement.
  • The website must contain a helpful 404 error page.
  • The website must include a search mechanism (if applicable).
  • Content about courses should link directly to the appropriate page in instead of duplicating the existing content.

Content Management

  • All websites requiring a content management system where multiple users are editing the content will be required to use an approved content management platform.
  • A link to “Direct Edit” mode of your site must be included in the footer of every page.
  • All navigation links should use native CMS tags, so that only external links are hardcoded; users should be able to navigate your website within Preview mode or Direct Edit mode without getting pushed out to an external domain.
  • All CMS templates should be modularized to include configurable global header and footer sections.

Design & Browser Compatibility

  • The website works on modern HTML5 equivalent browser.
  • The website does not use tables as a layout.
  • Website styles should be included via external CSS stylesheet; excessive use of inline styles is not permitted.
  • The website contains at least a default 16x16px favicon.
  • Assets for production websites such as images, css and javascript may not be served from development environments.
  • The website does not use Flash.


  • The top level domain of your site must be unless the website has a specific business need. Exceptions for a different top level domain must be granted by University Relations.
  • Subdomains of may not contain VCU, e.g.
  • The website domain must not include a person’s name unless the center, lab, or organization is permanently named after that person in gratitude.
  • Your primary domain is hosted on a VCU approved web server.
  • The domain does not auto redirect visitors to an external domain outside of


  • The website must be responsive and contain the following code:
  • The site must past the Google Mobile-Friendly Test
  • All mobile website buttons and inputs must have a decent3 tap target area.
  • All content that is visible on a large viewport must be navigable and be able to be consumed on smaller screens.


  • All websites are loaded over HTTPS with a valid certificate. Websites should not use or include any resources loaded explicitly over HTTP.
  • All pages asking for logins or passwords are loaded over SSL.
  • Sensitive student and health data is protected by secure passwords. Sensitive data that may be requested through forms on your site is transmitted over a secure connection.