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GW and LAI are committed to making all web properties and web content accessible and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities, by employing principles of universal design and striving to conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. These guidelines were created by the Web Accessibility Initiative in order to establish a worldwide shared standard for accessibility best practices that meet the needs of all kinds of people and organizations.

Accessibility needs to be built in to any website from the ground-up. Some of the responsibilities lie with the web team in our stylesheet, back-end HTML, and ARIA labels. Responsibility also rests with content creators. Please review the following information to ensure existing content you’re editing and new content you’re creating meets these standards.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility means that our web properties can be used by and information can be delivered to users with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities.

  • Perceivable: The information should be presented in a way all users can “see” or perceive it. No content should be hidden.
  • Operable: The user interface should be operable with any device or software tool, such as a keyboard, touchscreen, or screen-reader.
  • Understandable: In addition to being able to operate the user interface, users must be able to understand the information presented.
  • Robust: Content should adhere to guidelines and best practices to ensure it can be interpreted by a variety of devices and assistive technologies.

Our goal is not only to make our content accessible to disabled users, but to ensure that this access is comparable to that of non-disabled users. Additionally, making our information accessible to these users typically makes it more accessible to all (just like curb cuts, or captions for an online course). Thus, prioritizing accessibility results in a net positive for all users who interact with our web properties.

Common Content Issues


Headings are an important part of navigating pages for internet users who use screen-readers. Screen-readers will typically read out all of the headings in a page and then allow the reader to select the selections they wish to read. This way, the screen-readers avoid reading out the entire page unnecessarily.

Visit our page on headings for best practices and examples.

Alternate Text

Alternate text (or alt-text) for images and other graphics is incredibly important while creating/editing online content. Alt-text is vital for low-vision and blind internet users who browse websites using screen-readers.

Visit our page on alt-text for best practices and examples.

Contextual Links

Making hyperlinks more accessible not only helps low-vision and blind web users, but also tends to make your content look more cohesive. Don't use “here” to describe links (such as, “click here” or “view the guidelines here.”

Visit our page on links for best practices and examples.

Other Considerations

  • If you need to use video, it must be captioned. Email the web team at laiweb@gwu.edu to make arrangements for captioning.
  • Avoid tables where feasible.
  • Web content is generally easier to make accessible than a PDF. If you do need to convey information through a PDF, make sure the document is accessible.

Additional Resources

At GW, there are a number of resources to help content creators, managers, developers, purchasers and approvers of digital online content and related technology understand and meet accessibility standards, ranging from self-paced tutorials to in-person support and training.

Additionally, there are many tutorials regarding web accessibility available online. For example:

Video Tutorials

Watch WebEx recordings from previous workshops. The first video is a recording from the LAI web team. The second recording is from External Relations's Online Strategy team. The university's Drupal is slightly different, but the same principles apply.

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