F. A. Q. Resources Techniques Guidelines

Guidelines for Web Accessibility at City College of San Francisco


The World Wide Web is a major source of information for City College of San Francisco (CCSF) students, staff and other members of the community. In addition, CCSF Web sites provide students with a wide variety of academic materials. CCSF recognizes the importance of providing access to all members of the College community, including those with disabilities, to resources and materials published or hosted by CCSF on the World Wide Web. These guidelines establish minimum standards for Web page accessibility.


The CCSF Web Accessibility Guidelines are based on the legal standards established by Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1999 (29 U.S.C. 794d). Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The standards established by Section 508 are consistent with other Web accessibility guidelines, such as those established by the World Wide Web Consortium.

The guidelines are applicable to the following types of Web pages hosted at CCSF:

  1. Pages with core institutional information such as registration, admissions, course information, and services
  2. Web sites of departments and programs
  3. Online distance education courses
  4. Pages on Web sites of faculty members containing essential course materials
  5. 'Gateway' or 'index' pages that present a menu to other pages in a site


Some types of Web pages may be exempt from the requirements established by this policy. These may include pages where the accessibility feature would fundamentally alter the basic nature of materials presented. See Appendix A for examples.

Accessibility Requirements

CCSF Web sites should meet all of the following accessibility requirements, listed as (a) through (r). List items (a) through (p) are identical to the requirements specified in Section 508. List items (q) and (r) are not part of Section 508 but have been added to the CCSF policy to further enhance accessibility.

(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). Explanation and techniques for Item (a).

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Explanation and techniques for Item (b).

(c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup. Explanation and techniques for Item (c).

(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet. Explanation and techniques for Item (d).

(e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map. Explanation and techniques for Item (e).

(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape. Explanation and techniques for Item (f).

(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables. Explanation and techniques for Item (g).

(h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers. Explanation and techniques for Item (h).

(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation. Explanation and techniques for Item (i).

(j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz. Explanation and techniques for Item (j).

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes. Explanation and techniques for Item (k).

(l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology. Explanation and techniques for Item (l).

(m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with 1194.21(a) through (l). Explanation and techniques for Item (m).

(n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall 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. Explanation and techniques for Item (n).

(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links. Explanation and techniques for Item (o).

(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. Explanation and techniques for Item (p).

The following two items are not part of the Section 508 standards but have been adopted to further enhance the accessibility of CCSF Web pages.

(q) Sufficient contrast shall be provided for foreground and background color combinations. Explanation and techniques for Item (q).

(r) Navigation links shall be clearly titled to identify their targets. Explanation and techniques for Item (r).

Other Guidelines

Each CCSF Web site should have contact information such as a name and e-mail address or office telephone number for the Web page developer or CCSF staff member responsible for maintaining the page. This will allow individuals with disabilities to contact the developer for assistance in the event that the page is not accessible and will promote accountability in general. See also the CCSF Web Page Development Guide for additional guidelines.

Appendix A

This policy acknowledges that there may be certain instances when the application of accessibility features may be inappropriate or conflict with academic design. For example, in the case of an online Foreign Language class with multimedia content in the form of audio clips designed to teach auditory comprehension, it would be inappropriate to provide a text equivalent. In this case, the lesson presumes that the student will attempt to comprehend by listening. Providing alternative text conflicts with the design and purpose of the lesson. In such cases, guidance can be sought from the Alternate Media Specialist of the CCSF Disabled Students Programs and Services. In general, a reasonable good-faith effort to provide accessibility is the essential requirement.


This site is maintained by Thomas Hetherington, Alternate Media Specialist, DSPS.

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Last revised February 5, 2002