When choosing to build a custom or vendor-built website (e.g. on McGill's Virtual Host platform) you are accepting responsibility for compliance with all legal and institutional requirements. Any site managers you nominate will be accountable to you concerning compliance with the digital standards and other requirements.
For these reasons, it's of critical importance that you familiarize yourself with all related mandatory and legal obligations. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to human rights issues, legal action, and damage to McGill's reputation. For additional details on all obligations, see our Custom or vendor-built project toolkit.
Web accessibility requirements
Websites and web platforms will be expected to meet the following requirements:
WCAG AA complianceCompliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at the AA level, defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This compliance should encompass all aspects of the site or platform, including content, user interface, navigation, and multimedia elements.
Refer to the Standard sur l'accessibilité des sites Web (SGQRI 008 2.0) for legislation applicable to McGill websites and confirm your site meets the requirements outlined
Keyboard navigationFully operable through keyboard navigation alone, without the need for a mouse or other pointing device. All interactive elements, menus, and functionalities must be accessible via keyboard commands.
Alternative text (Alt Text)All non-text content, such as images, diagrams, and infographics, must have appropriate alternative text (alt text) descriptions. These descriptions should accurately convey the meaning and context of the visual content to users relying on screen readers or other assistive technologies.
Captions and transcriptsVideo and audio content should be accompanied by synchronized captions or transcripts. Captions must accurately represent the spoken dialogue, include relevant sound effects, and indicate speaker identification. Transcripts should be provided in an accessible format alongside the multimedia content.
Color contrastColour schemes should comply with WCAG AA guidelines for sufficient color contrast. This ensures that users with visual impairments or color blindness can perceive and differentiate between interface elements, text, and background content.
Clear and consistent navigationNavigation structure should be intuitive, logical, and consistently implemented throughout the interface. Users should be able to easily navigate between different sections, courses, and resources, with clear labels and headings.
Assistive technology compatibilityWebsites and web platforms must be compatible with a range of assistive technologies commonly used by individuals with disabilities, such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and speech recognition software. The platform should not hinder or disrupt the functionality of these assistive tools.
User feedback and support
- An accessibility page must be added to your site*. The Standard sur l'accessibilité des sites Web (SGQRI 008 2.0) specifies that this page should include:
- A clear mechanism for users to provide feedback regarding accessibility issues or challenges encountered while using the site or platform must be provided. Additionally, responsive customer support should be available to promptly address and resolve any accessibility-related concerns.
- A link to the Standard sur l'accessibilité des sites Web (SGQRI 008 2.0)
- The tools used to verify accessibility compliance
- Relevant documentation, certifications, or independent audits that validate the platform's compliance with WCAG AA standards.
- A list of icons used on the site
* The McGill global footer can be used as template but you'll need to connect the accessibility link to your own accessibility page. To see an example of an accessibility page, click the Accessibility link in the footer of this webpage.
- McGill Digital Standards: Make sites accessisble
- Web compliance accessibility guidelines (WCAG) checklist (The A11y Project)