Grinnell College is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability.

This website endeavors to comply with best practices and standards as defined by Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act and level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible for people with disabilities. Conformance with these guidelines will help make the web more user-friendly for all people.

If you would like additional assistance or have accessibility concerns, please contact the Office of Communications, 641-269-3400.

All site pages are being run through a W3C compliant validation product, currently SiteImprove™, to monitor compliancy to WCAG guidelines. 

We will continue to test the site to make sure that all content on the site is accessible to all visitors.

We will also continue to work to improve the accessibility standards of our website.

Accessibility Features

This site includes the following accessibility features:

  • Skip to content
  • Alternative text detail for images (currently in progress for older images)
  • Captioned videos

Standards Compliance

  1. All static pages follow U.S. Federal Government Section 508 Guidelines.
  2. All static pages follow priorities 1 & 2 guidelines of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  3. All static pages validate as HTML5.
  4. All static pages on this site use structured semantic markup. H2 tags are used for main titles, H3 and H4 tags for subtitles.

Structural Markup

Web pages include 4 different areas:

  1. A header bar that includes the main navigation,
  2. A main content area,
  3. A side bar,
  4. A footer.

When CSS (Cascading Styles Sheet) are not applied to a document (or when using a screen reader), the 4 areas are read in the above order.

Access keys

Most browsers support jumping to specific links by typing keys defined on the web site. On Windows, you can press ALT + an access key; on Macintosh, you can press Control + an access key.

All pages on this site define the following access keys:

Access key 1
Home page
Access key 2
Forum (Alumni) Home Page
Access key 3
My Account
Access key 4
Access key 0
Accessibility Statement

Additional navigation aids

Search results can be navigated by using the following access keys:

Access key f
First results page
Access key n
Next results page
Access key p
Previous results page
Access key l
Last results page


  1. Unless they are purely decorative items, all images used on this web site have suitable alt attributes.
  2. Content should be usable/accessible with images "off" (disabled).


  1. Many links have title attributes which describe the link in greater detail, unless the text of the link already fully describes the target.
  2. Links are written to make sense out of context.
  3. URLs are permanent whenever possible.


  1. All form controls are appropriately and explicitly labeled.


  1. The static pages of this web site are usable without JavaScript.

Pop up Windows

  1. In visual browsers, the title attribute of links to external resources says "opens in new window".
  2. Browsers with Popup Blockers should be able to access these external documents.

Visual design

  1. This site uses cascading style sheets for visual layout.
  2. If your browser or browsing device does not support stylesheets at all, the content of each page is still readable.
  3. Any information conveyed through the use of color is also available without color (i.e. text based).

Known Accessibility Issues

We are currently working to fix the following issues (as of January 2015):

  • Event listings on the homepage and Latest News pages are provided by a third party and do not comply with WCAG AA standards.
  • New text content is now added to the site using appropriate structural markup. We are reviewing older content and continuously working to make it compliant.
  • New videos are added with captions and transcripts. We are currently working to provide captions and transcripts for older audio and video materials.
  • Images added to the site prior to October 2013 may lack alternative text detail.
  • Heading elements (i.e. <h1>-<h6>) do not descend in order, as the page menus are not coded properly. We are revising our menu structure in the second quarter of 2015.

Accessibility References

  1. W3C accessibility guidelines, which explains the reasons behind each guideline.
  2. U.S. Federal Government Section 508 accessibility guidelines.

Accessibility software

  1. JAWS, a screen reader for Windows. A time-limited, downloadable demo is available.
  2. Easy Web Browsing, a web browser reader for Windows. A downloadable demo is available.
  3. Lynx, a free text-only web browser for blind users with refreshable Braille displays.
  4. Links, a free text-only web browser for visual users with low bandwidth.
  5. Opera, a visual browser with many accessibility-related features, including text zooming, user stylesheets, image toggle. A free downloadable version is available. Compatible with Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and several other operating systems.

Accessibility services

  1. WAVE, a free service from WebAIM to analyze web pages for compliance to accessibility guidelines.
  2. HTML Validator, a free service for checking that web pages conform to published HTML standards.
  3. Web Page Backward Compatibility Viewer, a tool for viewing your web pages without a variety of modern browser features.
  4. Lynx Viewer, a free service for viewing what your web pages would look like in Lynx.

Related resources

  1. WebAIM, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving accessibility to online learning materials.
  2. Designing More Usable Web Sites, a large list of additional resources.