Reminder: Web Accessibility Compliance Law in effect

The new Colorado accessibility law, HB21-1110, affects university websites and went into effect July 1, 2024. This means that university website owners/content managers must ensure your website content meets the minimum web accessibility standards.

Learn how to meet accessibility standards

Web Accessibility

This site serves as the university's hub for information regarding web accessibility, including information on how content editors and site owners can ensure that their web sites are following accessibility guidelines. Web accessibility includes content, page structure, images, videos, documents, and color usage.

Our Commitment

We strive to ensure that everyone has equal, available and reliable access to the university’s services, digital content and technologies by being mindful of differing abilities. Our promise encompasses our offerings made available through both technology and our people.

HB21-1110 AND SECTION 508

Beginning July 1, 2024, the new Accessibility Law for Colorado State and Local Governments (HB21-1110) makes it a civil rights violation for a government agency to exclude people with disabilities from receiving services or benefits because of a lack of accessibility. The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology has deemed web accessibility standards  WCAG 2.1 Level A, AA as minimum compliance standards for web accessibility. Failure to comply with these standards may result in fines and/or legal action against the University. Each CU Anschutz department, school, or college is responsible for making their content accessible.  As a result, each CU Anschutz department, school, or college assumes responsibility for any fines related to accessibility violations related to HB21-1110, identified after July 1, 2024.   

Additionally, University websites are required to comply with the The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 508), as well as provide individuals with equal access to programs, services and activities. The University is required under Section 508 to ensure that websites and any third-party applications (linked or integrated) are compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards. Section 508 standards can be found at Failure to comply with Section 508 puts the university at risk of a lawsuit.

Who Benefits

All web users benefit from proper implementation of web accessibility. In particular, web accessibility encompasses a consideration of a wide array of disabilities which may affect how one perceives and interacts with web content. These may include:

  • Auditory
  • Cognitive
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Speech
  • Visual

However by following WCAG 2.0, web accessibility also benefits those without disabilities, for example:

  • People with "temporary disabilities" such as a broken arm
  • People with slow internet speeds
  • People who are experiencing changing abilities due to age
  • People with "situational limitations" such as being in an environment where they cannot listen to audio
  • People using different types of devices such as mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, etc.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring your web site works for all people, including people with disabilities. In order to achieve this, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 was created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The four principles established by the WCAG 2.1 are: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust, often referred to as POUR. 

Perceivable - Information must be presented in a way that users can perceive it using one of their senses. In other words, a user must be able to comprehend the information presented. It can’t be blocked from all senses. Here are a few examples:  

  • Captions are provided for audio content 
  • Descriptions are provided for video content 
  • Content views are not restricted to a single orientation, such as landscape or portrait 
  • Color is not the only way to convey information  
  • Color contrast ratio is at least 4.5:1 
  • Text can be resized without loss of content or functionality 

Operable - If all users can effectively navigate your website, it’s considered operable. If your site requires users to interact in a way that’s not possible for them, your website is not meeting this principle. Users must be able to interact with the components of the page, such as navigation features and the user interface. For example, people who can’t use a mouse should be able to effectively navigate your website using just the keyboard or voice controls. Examples include: 

  • All content is operable through use of a keyboard 
  • A user can pause, stop or hide content that automatically moves, blinks or scrolls and lasts longer than five seconds 
  • You provide users enough time to read content 
  • Your pages have proper titles and proper focus order 
  • The purpose of each hyperlink can be determined from the link text alone 

Understandable - The principle of understandable is just as it seems—users must be able to understand the information as well as understand how to operate within the user interface. This means that: 

  • The language of the page is specified; 
  • Labels are provided when content requires input from the user; and 
  • Navigation mechanisms repeated on multiple pages appear in the same relevant order on each page.  

Robust - Your content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of possible user agents, including assistive technologies. In other words, your website should have maximum compatibility with current users as well as technologies that may evolve. Examples include: 

  • Elements have complete start and end tags and are nested according to their specifications 
  • The name and role of all user interface components can be programmatically determined 

Find more information about the WCAG principles and guidelines that follow each principle.

WCAG Levels of Conformance: A, AA, and AAA

WCAG guidelines are categorized by three levels of conformance:  

A = the lowest, or bare minimum conformance level 
AA = the mid-range conformance level 
AAA = the highest level of conformance 

The typical goal for most website owners is AA conformance. AA is also the standard by which most legal requirements are judged. Level A is the bare minimum conformance and is typically considered unacceptable. Level AAA is the highest possible conformance level and for some content cannot be achieved. 

Experiencing Inaccessible Sites?

We strive to ensure that the CU Denver and CU Anschutz websites are accessible to people with disabilities. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access information or edit parts of the website then you can send a detailed email to

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