The Web Development Center provides minimum standards for accessibility, usability and freshness.


To ensure consistency and quality in the web experience for customers who utilize web services developed by the various departments throughout the Health System.


Concerning websites representing UVA Health System including, but not limited to www.healthsystem.virginia.edu, www.medicalcenter.virginia.edu, www.medicine.virginia.edu, www.med.virginia.edu, www.hsts.virginia.edu, www.hsl.virginia.edu, www.nursing.virginia.edu and www.upg.virginia.edu, uvahealth.com.



All UVA Health System sites will comply with University of Virginia guidelines regarding accessibility.

At a minimum, web pages will offer a text only version and include features which streamline the screen-reading experience. All images and other graphic artifacts such as flash should have alternate text supplied which conveys the gist of the content, and every effort should be made to make the experience a quality one - not just meet the minimum standards.

For web managers creating their own content, the W3C has supplied a good starter list athttp://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/.


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.

2. Don't rely on color alone.

3. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.

4. Clarify natural language usage.

5. Create tables that transform gracefully.

6. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.

7. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.

8. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.

9. Design for device-independence.

10. Use interim solutions.

11. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.

12. Provide context and orientation information.

13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.

14. Ensure that documents are clear and simple.


Usability in a web content sense is the ease of which information can be put to use. Standards for web content usability will preserve the value of websites offered by the Health System.

  • Avoid using links that read click here.
  • Avoid linking to network drives.
  • Site styling must work across all current HSTS supported browsers, currently down to IE8. Sites do not need to look exactly the same, but they must degrade gracefully and be usable.


Stale content indicates content which is out of date. Because stale content harms the internal and external impressions of the Health System, it may be removed from any Health System website at the discretion of the Director of the Web Development Center, in consultation with the relevant business owner.

Stale is a relative term, of course - for example, a mission statement may never expire, while calendar events are stale the day after they happen. However, some properties of content can render them instantly stale, for example:

  • Photos of employees who no longer work at the Health System.
  • Contact email links which bounce messages.

Content should be reviewed annually for accuracy and relevance.

Any content which is inherently dated, such as an annual Best Hospital award, must have the content expiration feature set to expire on or before the content becomes stale. This is a protection for the departmental web manager, a protection for the organization, and a protection for the reputaion of quality that the Health System web site enjoys.

Search Engine Optimization

When site content is moved from one location to another, redirects may be put in place to capture search engine traffic. Redirect instructions coming from covered domains shall not be maintained for a period longer than 90 days without an exception from the Director of the Web Development Center.

An attempt to maintain rankings with permanent redirects leads to a fragmented content structure, and prevents both content and search engine results from correcting organically.

Document Supporting Resources