The City of Virginia Beach has made every effort make VBgov.com adhere to the following guidelines and recommendations.
- Section 508 Standard of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.
- To assist in the development of accessible Web pages, the World Wide Web Consortium, through its Web Accessibility Initiative, has developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines - specifications "providing guidance on accessibility of Web sites for people with disabilities."
- Additionally, the State of Virginia has also developed accessibility standards for state agency Web sites. The Technology Access Clause of the Code of Virginia, developed by the State Secretary of Technology, dictates the requirements pertaining to non-visual access to technology.
Site Design & Accessibility
The City of Virginia Beach Communications and Information Technology Department has developed consistent and strategic guidelines for the construction of online pages and services that appear as part of VBgov.com. These guidelines help ensure a positive user experience and easier accessibility by maintaining a consistent page layout, information architecture and navigation schema. In addition, the guidelines assist contributors to the site in developing a site that reflects the suggestions set forth in the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative.
Guidelines for VBgov include:
- All images on the site contain alternate text descriptions for the benefit of user's utilizing assistive technologies.
- All pages are designed and tested for compatibility with all major web browsers and operating systems.
- All navigational image maps will contain alternate, text-based hyperlinks in a clearly defined area.
- All pages (unless specifically unavoidable due to application restraints) will be designed with a percentage width versus a fixed width to ensure maximum visibility regardless of user screen resolution or monitor size. All critical content components will be visible within the 1024 x 768 resolution setting.
- All pages and documents posted to the site will contain appropriate meta-data to ensure useful search functions.
- Links to new information and services will be posted and dated on the main page of VBgov. These links will begin with descriptive, call-to-action verbs such as "Review", "Learn" and "Visit" rather than vague link references such as "click here" or "link."
- Frames will not be used on VBgov as they are not interpretable by assistive technologies such as screen readers and they often cause severe navigational breakdowns.
- VBgov will contain no background images, to ensure consistency and provide optimum visibility.
Tools for Blind & Visually Impaired Users
Adobe, the makers of Acrobat and Acrobat Reader, have developed tools to assist blind and visually-impaired users. Please visit the Adobe Accessibility
area for more information. Please note that the tools designed to create simple HTML documents easily read by standard speech-synthesis software will not retain the graphic images or text formatting of an original Adobe PDF.
Some of the services and information posted on VBgov require that a user download and install additional applications as part of their browser software. The basic versions of these applications are offered, at no cost, on the vendor's Web site. (Recent versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator may have these applications installed. These applications include:
More About Accessibility
- JWPlayer - The City uses JWPlayer to broadcast live and archived sessions of City Council. This application will allow you to view the sessions through your web browser. Alternatively, all minutes, motions and resolutions of City Council meetings are posted online in text format.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader - The City uses Adobe Acrobat to create Portable Document Format (PDF) files to provide online access to City documents in their original formatting. There are several converter applications available online that will convert PDF documents into a variety of alternate document formats, including simple HTML.
For further information and to learn more about the regulations governing the accessibility of Federal electronic information products, visit the Section 508 pages listed below:
Site users who encounter difficulty using this site are requested to contact the City Web Development Team
describing the nature of the problem and the section where the difficulty was encountered.