Web Accessibility Process for New Websites

Thank you for joining SF State in its effort to make all websites, software and mobile apps accessible to people with disabilities. One of the steps for “going live” with your Drupal website is to receive accessibility approval from the ATI team. The information below will help you better understand what is involved with this process.

Once you have submitted your request, allow 5-10 business days for the review and approval process. Please consider this timeframe when you a planning for the launch of your website. If you have an especially complex website, it will take longer.

Note: The following process applies to websites that are using the SF State Drupal template. We highly recommend that you use the Drupal template since it has been approved for both accessibility and branding. However, if you are not using the Drupal template we can still assist you in making your website accessible. Be aware that it will take significantly more effort on your part. Contact us at access@sfsu.edu if this is the case.

1. Create accessible content

After you receive a Drupal website in the development (“dev”) environment, you should begin to add content to your website with accessibility in mind. While the Drupal templates are accessible, the content that you add to your website might not be. This includes images, tables, multimedia, forms, documents, etc. While creating and editing your content, please follow guidelines on creating accessible web contentThis will save you time and effort when you begin validating your content for accessibility later. 

2. Validate accessibility of your content

2a. Automated accessibility review

Once you have finished creating website content in the Drupal staging environment and have a near-final version of your website, you will need to validate the accessibility of this content to ensure no accessibility issues were introduced. SF State provides access to an automated assessment tool called Compliance Sheriff that will scan through all pages on your website and provide you with a report on the accessibility of your content. You may either request an automated report or request an account so you may re-run your own reports as you correct issues. Please note that the automated accessibility tool can only test for about 20-30% of the accessibility checkpoints . A manual review is needed for a complete accessibility review (see below).


2b. Manual accessibility review

Once your website has passed the automated checks, the next step is to perform a manual verification of your website. The automated tool cannot test for all accessibility checkpoints, so human verification is needed. This is an optional step for you since the ATI team will conduct manual testing when you submit your website for review. However, if you would like to perform this review yourself, you may use the Website Manual Evaluation Summary (WMES) template.

3. Submit your website for ATI approval

The ATI team will use the same process as steps 2a & 2b above, so please ensure you have fixed the automated assessment errors before submitting your website for review. 

When you are happy with your site and are ready to move it to production, you may submit a request via the ITS Service Catalog


Requests for exemptions to the SF State web accessibility standards are rarely granted. Exemptions are considered on a case-by-case basis and limited to mission critical university activities. If granted, exemptions are only valid for a specific, fixed and reasonable period of time, not to exceed one year.

Website exemption request process

  1. Complete assessment and remediation plan first and consult with the SF State ATI Team
  2. Prepare justification for exemption and fill out the Web Product Exemption Form.
  3. Obtain approval from the Cabinet Area Associate Vice President or Dean you report to
  4. Submit request to DPRC
  5. Await response from DPRC before proceeding
  6. If an exemption is granted, include the interim accessibility language (below) in your website

Document Exemption Process

If our assessment report indicates major accessibility issues within the documents on your website that will be difficult to fix within a short time frame, you will need to create a Document Exemption plan, submit it to the SF State ATI Team at access@sfsu.edu and place the Interim Accessibility Statement on your website.

Please download the following Document Exemption Process and the Document List Excel Sheet.

Interim Accessibility Statements

SF State's Web Accessibility Guidelines require that all web and document content be accessible.  In a situation where accessibility barriers are identified and cannot be immediately remedied, the content owner is required to supply an interim message to the web user.
In line with this goal, the SF State Web Accessibility Group has drafted the following Interim Accessibility Statement:

This website/The documents on this website has/have been identified as having barriers to accessibility. The [department/site owner] is working to remediate these accessibility barriers by [date]. If you experience difficulty in using this website/ the documents, please contact [CONTACT PERSON / INFO].