Standards for Web Site Accessibility

The following information is provided for Web site managers as resource material to assist in meeting the DOC Policy, Web Site Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.

The basic accessibility rules for Web sites were developed by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) and are contained in Section 22 of the regulations which implement Section 508. The entire section, which consists mainly of 16 rules (a through p), is given below. Following each rule is a hyperlink to information and guidance concerning that rule. §1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications.

(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).
Additional information on rule a

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.
Additional information on rule 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.
Additional information on rule c

(d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.
Additional information on rule d

(e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.
Additional information on rules e and f

(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.
Additional information on rules e and f

(g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.
Additional information on rules g and h

(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.
Additional information on rules g and h

(i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.
Additional information on rule 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.
Additional information on rule 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.
Additional information on rule 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.
Additional information on rules l and m

(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).
Additional information on rules l and 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.
Additional information on rule n

(o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.
Additional information on rule o

(p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.
Additional information on rule p

Note to §1194.22:1.

The Board interprets paragraphs (a) through (k) of this section as consistent with the following priority 1 Checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0) (May 5, 1999) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium:

Section 1194.22 Paragraph WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint
rule a 1.1
rule b 1.4
rule c 2.1
rule d 6.1
rule e 1.2
rule f 9.1
rule g 5.1
rule h 5.2
rule i 12.1
rule j 7.1
rule k 11.4

2. Paragraphs (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of this section are different from WCAG 1.0. Web pages that conform to WCAG 1.0, level A (i.e., all priority 1 checkpoints) must also meet paragraphs (l), (m), (n), (o), and (p) of this section to comply with this section. WCAG 1.0 is available at

Department of Commerce Web Advisory Council (WAC)
U.S. Department of Commerce

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Page last updated October 12, 2010