SF State - Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI)

Image: Photos of the SF State campus and students using a headset, a braille keyboard and a blind cane

Web Accessibility Home

Welcome to the Web Accessibility section! We hope that these pages will help you to better understand web accessibility and help you make your website more accessible to a variety of people. The pages will be regularly updated and inform you on the latest discussion and decisions San Francisco State University (SF State) is making regarding web accessibility. In the future we will expand this section and include more information on new technology and multimedia.
If you are missing important information or have other feedback on the Web Accessibility section, please contact access@sfsu.edu and let us know how we can improve our pages.  We appreciate all feedback.

What Is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility means that web, design and content developer are creating websites and web applications without barriers to people with diabilities, so that people with disabilities can navigate, understand, perceive and interact with the Web. The disabilities that are addressed by web accessibility include physical, visual, auditory, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. Currently, many websites are not accessible for people with disabilities.
Web accessibility can also benefit people without documented disabilities such as older people who might have vision challenges.

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Why Should I Make My Websites Accessible?

Can you imagine your life anymore without the Web? Many people can not, and this shows how important the Web has become in our daily life. We use it for work, study, information, communication, pleasure and more. Many people with disabilities would agree that the Web has changed their lives. For many people with disabilities the Web provides many opportunities to get information and interact with other people that they did not have in the past. However, the Web also provides many barriers to people with disabilities.

The CSU and SF State community includes many students, faculty and staff with disabilities. The CSU and SF State recognize the principal importance to provide equal access and equal opportunity to all its students and employees. Therefore, the CSU and SF State have instated policies on web accessibility.

Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require SF State to provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to all its programs, services, and activities. Access to the Internet and its resources is covered by the ADA. The need to make websites, web applications, and digital content accessible is also underscored by California Government Code 11135, which applies Section 508 requirements to the CSU.

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What is the California State University (CSU) policy on web accessibility?

The CSU Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI), as mandated by Coded Memoranda AA-2006-41 and AA-2007-04 (PDF) , requires that all new and major redesign web projects will meet accessibility standards.New and updated administrative websites, web applications, and web content produced by the CSU or by third-party developers should, at a minimum, conform to baseline accessibility standards as defined in Section 508, Subpart B, and where appropriate, Subpart C. (www.access-board.gov/sec508/standards.htm). SF State, through, the Web Accessibility Work Group, a subgroup of the President’s Task Force on Accessible Electronic and Information Technology, is working to comply with this policy. The Web Accessibility Work Group has started to implement the policy by focusing on new sites that are under development and sites that are undergoing a major revision. The goal is to ensure that new websites and services incorporate accessibility in the design and authoring process.

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Which Set of Web Accessibility Standards Is SF State Following?

SF State has adopted standards which incorporate all checkpoints of Section 508 and eight additional checkpoints from WCAG 1.0.

More information on SF State’s Web Accessibility Standards.

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Why is it recommended to use the SF State Web template?

We strongly recommend using the SF State Web Template, which has been developed by University Communication in collaboration with Division of Information technology (DoIT) and the DPRC. It guarantees, if correctly used, that the basic features of a website such as navigation, search functions and layout structure are accessible to people with disabilities. By using the template you will pass many of the SF State Web Accessibility Checkpoints. However, you still have to ensure that the content you fill in the template is accessible.

More information about the SF State Web Template.

If you need help for using the template, please contact the webteam.

What Is My Department Or Unit Required To Do?

For new websites:

All new websites need to be accessible to people with disabilities. If you are starting to create a new website, we strongly recommend using the SF State Web Template.

Before you can go live, you need to do a manual self-assessment of your website and send the summary to the SF State ATI team in the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC). We will assess your summary, write you a report and offer you help and training if needed.

More information on the assessment process.

For updated websites:

If you are making major changes to your website, (such as adding a complex data table, video, Flash or a form), you also need to follow the manual assessment procedure. Before you can go live, you need to do a self-assessment of your website and send the summary to the SF State ATI team at access@sfsu.edu. We will then assess your website and write you a report.

More information on the assessment process.

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How Do I Know If My Website Or Web Application Is Compliant?

The SF State ATI team has created a step-by-step manual assessment procedure which helps you to assess your website and check for compliance.

More information on the SF State’s manual assessment procedure.

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Where Can I Get Help And Training?

The SF State ATI team offer a variety of training and help for making your website accessible such as an accessible web template, workshops and online training resources.


The SF State ATI team periodically offers accessibility workshops. If you are interested in requesting training, please go to www.sfsu.edu/access/support.


Our website offers a selection of relevant websites to learn more about accessibility. You can find the resources on the right sidebar. Since there are debates about some checkpoints and how to make certain features accessible, it is important that you see the external links as additional information, but still keep in mind that you need to comply with the SF State Web Accessibility Standards.

Online Trainings

This web site contains tutorials on web accessibility, creating accessible videos, PDFs and other documents, and how to procure accessible technology.

More information on the web accessibility training section.


If you have specific questions on the assessment process or the manual assessment procedure, please contact access@sfsu.edu.

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