Developing Accessible Websites and Digital Tools

Developing Accessible Websites and Digital Tools

NOTE: UVA follows the WCAG 2.2 AA standard for digital content compliance.

As you begin to consider the accessibility of your digital assets, your first step is to take a deep breath and understand this is a journey, not a one and done.

When creating new assets (i.e. web pages, online documentation, applications) it is always best to embed accessibility into your project at the beginning, not as an afterthought. There are tools available that can be integrated into your Agile or other development and testing processes that will help you spot issues while your product is still in these early phases. Level Access' Continuum (available for free) and Deque's axe DevTools are two examples.

Assessing the accessibility of existing web pages, applications and content can quickly become overwhelming. Again, take a deep breath, understand this is going to take time, and adopt the philosophy of progress not perfection. The follow steps can help you get started:

  • If you are new to digital accessibility, take advantage of the many introductory training options available on the internet. Some examples are:
  • Understand your digital footprint.
    • How many digital assets do you have (i.e. websites/digital documents/interactive web pages/applications)?
    • How many of these assets are under your control?
  • Establish a priority.
    • Which are the most visited/used and which are the most important assets?
    • Can you delete those assets that are no longer being accessed?
  • Build a plan for remediation.
    • Who contributes content?
    • Address high priority items first.
    • Master the core skills, taking one at a time.
  • Establish a plan to continue the testing, remediation and reporting cycle, integrate accessibility in new projects, and sustain the effort over time.

Below are several resources to help you evaluate digital assets for compliance with accessibility standards followed by the University. Keep in mind that automated testing tools uncover less than 30% of potential accessibility issues. It is important that you also conduct a manual/functional evaluation. According to, “Automated testing and evaluation tools are not sophisticated enough to tell you, on their own, if your site is accessible, or even compliant. You must always conduct manual testing to ensure full compliance with the Revised 508 Standards.”

The following groups of tools, vendors and guidance resources (listed in no particular order) are starting points. A simple web search will uncover many more tools - both free and for-fee.

Help From Peers @ UVA


Tools and Checkers

Compliance Checkers

Manual Testing

Color and Contrast

Other Helpful Tools

Browser Built-in Accessibility Tools

Guidance from Peers


Key Consultants, Tools and Products

Advisory: Avoid the use of accessibility overlays