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 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.
All VCU websites must be compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. Existing 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.
VCU provides hosting space for personal websites for faculty, staff, and students, these personal websites are not official university sites. However, to ensure a safe and consistent hosting environment, these websites are expected to comply with all General (1) and Security (10) requirements. Compliance with the Accessibility (2) requirements is suggested but not required. Personal websites must not give the impression that they are representing, giving opinions or otherwise making statements on behalf of the university or any unit of the university unless appropriately authorized (explicitly or implicitly) to do so. Personal websites may not contain the VCU Web elements or other symbols of the university unless they pertain specifically to a university function. Refer to the design & branding standards for more information.