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The State of Vermont Web Template is a fully-supported content management system. The State’s ‘Web Look and Feel Standards’ consist of the required components that every official State of Vermont website or app must have and offers the following web-specific accessibility general guidelines and best practices. All the best practices outlined above also apply. Anytime you’re developing web content, you need to consider accessibility throughout design, development, content creation, and ongoing maintenance. It’s a lot easier to make sites accessible from the beginning than it is to remediate something after it’s already built.

According to, there are four common accessibility issues on government websites: 

  • Missing ALT text - Always add descriptive ALT (alternative) text to images, so screen reader software can convey the meaning of an image, even if someone can’t see it.
  • Lack of structure - When creating content, use document styles to organize content and properly tag headings, which makes it easier for screen reader software to navigate through a document or web page.
  • Insufficient color contrast - Follow the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) guidance on color to ensure sufficient contrast between text and background colors.
  • Content quality - Write concisely and clearly using plain language, and put the most important information at the top of the page.

Tips for Websites

  • Typography - Use sans-serif fonts for all body text. The preferred typefaces for web applications are Open Sans and Lato. Header text needs to be larger than body text and use heading styles. Every state website needs to use a font size set to 1em and at a ‘normal’ weight for body text.
  • Hyperlinks - Links to external websites, PDFs, and Word documents should open in a new browser window. Hyperlink titles should describe the action that will happen when the user clicks on the link, such as ‘Download grant application’ or ‘Read more about the grant program.’
  • Video Captioning - Be sure to provide captions in the videos so that users who are deaf or hard of hearing can understand the content without having to rely on the visuals alone.
  • Create Webpages Instead of PDFs - Create webpages to display your content instead of linking from your webpage to inaccessible PDFs or Word documents. If you must link to a PDF or Word document, make sure you are linking to an accessible version. Run the accessibility checker on the file before you put it on your site.
  • Responsive Design - All state websites need to be responsive, meaning they re-stack and re-size all content automatically to work best with the display of the viewing device such as a cell phone, laptop or desktop computer. It is acceptable for menus to collapse into a menu button that a user must click to open, but these menu buttons must appear and stick at the top or bottom of a tablet or mobile screen.

Learn why accessibility is essential for some and useful for all.

Additional Resources

Use the WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) to confirm that your webpages are accessible.