Short Story

SMC’s standards for accessible web design are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 of the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. Refer to Designing Accessible Web Pages for an overview of how to make the content and navigation of web pages accessible to everyone.

Long Story

Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998 specifies our standards for web design accessibility. As 1998 is many technology ages ago, a 508 revision has been in process over the last few years. This overhaul is on the brink of being finalized. The web standards in the soon-to-be-officially-amended Section 508 will be those of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, conformance level AA, developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. There are 12 guidelines organized under four principles.

WCAG 2 Guidelines and Principles


  1. Provide text alternatives for non-text content.

  2. Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.

  3. Create content that can be presented in different ways,
including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.

  4. Make it easier for users to see and hear content.


  1. Make all functionality available from a keyboard.

  2. Give users enough time to read and use content.

  3. Do not use content that causes seizures.

  4. Help users navigate and find content.


  1. Make text readable and understandable.

  2. Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.

  3. Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


  1. Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Conformance Levels

For each guideline, there are success criteria with possible three levels of accessibility referred to as “conformance levels.” Level AAA is the most strict. SMC is expected to comply with Conformance Level AA.

A: Critical for access

AA: Removes barriers that make access difficult

AAA: Removes barriers that make access somewhat difficult

More Information on Meeting the WCAG 2 Guidelines

Navigate to the How to Meet WCAG 2.0. Choose the AA conformance level and the corresponding success criteria will be listed under each guideline.

WCAG includes massive documentation for how to achieve compliance with these guidelines principally in “Techniques for WCAG 2” and “Understanding WCAG 2.”

Additional Resource

WebAIM’s WCAG 2.0 Checklist