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Policy & Standard

Accessibility policy

Access to websites and electronic content is integral to the academic, research, and engagement activities available at Stanford University. Stanford is committed to making its electronic content accessible to its students, faculty, staff, and all other individuals with disabilities participating or engaging in the programs and services of the University.

The Administrative Guide 6.8.1 - Accessibility of Electronic Content policy addresses the responsibilities and processes for Stanford’s electronic content and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.


Accessibility standard

Stanford University has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0, Level AA Conformance (WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA) as the minimum level for electronic content. You are encouraged to adopt this standard for your electronic content that you develop, use, maintain, or purchase in conducting University business.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by electronic content?

Electronic content is a broad category that includes the information and data that accesses, displays, or transmits University or student information within the Stanford University domain or are used in the programs or activities of the University. Examples of electronic content includes websites, web- and mobile-based applications, online applications, audio and video media, and electronic documents.

How should I start?

The Get Started page outlines different steps you can adopt for addressing the accessibility of electronic content in your school, department, or program.

How do I check to see if my website or documents are accessible?

The Office of Digital Accessibility offers several different tools and methods to help check the accessibility of your website:

  • Web-browser plugins are available to perform a quick check on single website pages. Different versions are available for both content authors or website developers.
  • Website scanning is available through the Siteimprove application. This tool will scan your website and identify potential accessibility issues as well as any spelling errors or invalid hyperlinks. Siteimprove can provide an overall score to help you track accessibility progress.
  • Simple manual accessibility checks are intended for manually reviewing specific pages for accessibility issues since automated tools detect only about 30% of  all accessibility errors. We have identified the manual tests that can be performed quickly and easily to determine if accessibility issues exist on your website.

Where can I obtain guidance or assistance on reviewing my electronic content?

Weekly accessibility office hours are available to all members of the Stanford community. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get answers regarding the accessibility of documents, websites, and other digital resources.

Accessibility reviews are available from the Office of Digital Accessibility to assist you in evaluating your existing website, mobile apps, or other online applications you are using to conduct University activities. We can help jump start your accessibility efforts and give you the information you need about potential accessibility barriers of the products you are building or purchasing, and the steps to take to support access for diverse audiences.

I was notified there is an accessibility issue with our website. What should I do next?

If you are notified of an accessibility issue with electronic content, please promptly acknowledge that you have received notification of the issue in writing to the person who reported the issue. Separately, please send a copy to the Office of Digital Accessibility that identifies the date and the reported accessibility issue.

The Office of Digital Accessibility will work with you to coordinate the next steps, including a review of the issue, a recommendation for resolving the accessibility issue, and determining a timeframe by which to resolve the issue with your office. If the electronic content cannot be made accessible, then we will work with our campus partners to engage with the person who reported the issue to find an alternative access solution.

Campus websites should have a link on their website to an Accessibility page with contact information or a form where people can report an issue. The easiest solution is to include a link to the main Stanford Accessibility page as that has the appropriate contact information and an option to report an accessibility issue.

There are videos on my web page, but not all of them have captions. What steps should I take?

All new videos must include captions and audio descriptions in order to meet Stanford's digital accessibility policy. If you have videos on your website, then you can caption those videos yourself or contract with an existing Stanford captioning vendor to complete that work. More information about captions and audio descriptions is available on the Office of Digital Accessibility website.

If an individual informs you that a video on one of our websites or third-party platforms does not have captioning, and they need captioning due to disability, you must promptly facilitate captioning for that individual.

We are reviewing several online platforms and none of them meet accessibility standards. Does this mean I can’t purchase anything? Is there an exception process I can request?

Often there may be no product or service that fully meets the accessibility requirements. Once you have identified which products meet your functional business requirements, the Office of Digital Accessibility is available to help identify those products that best conform to accessibility standards.

For products that do not fully meet the accessibility requirements, you can request a temporary exception while working with the vendor to implement the appropriate accessibility features.


Accessibility resources

Stanford is committed to making its electronic content accessible to its students, faculty, staff, visitors, and all other individuals with disabilities participating or engaging in the programs and activities of the University.

Where to begin

Take these steps to get started supporting accessibility in your school, department, and programs.


Use our testing tools and manual testing techniques to check your electronic content for accessibility.

Accessible content

Learn about basic accessibility concepts and best practices to include in your electronic documents and online content.