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Website Accessibility Statement

The Victoria and Albert Museum is committed to providing an accessible website. This accessibility statement describes what we have already done to make our website accessible, what we intend to do to improve its accessibility, and how we plan to maintain these standards.

Scope of this Statement

  • This statement refers to the V&A South Kensington website.

  • This statement does not yet apply to exhibition microsites. The next stage of our accessibility project is to ensure that microsites published in the last three years meet the requirements of this statement, and that microsites older than three years are brought as close as possible to being accessible.

  • There is a separate accessibility statement for the V&A Museum of Childhood website.

  • There is currently no accessibility statement for the V&A Theatre Museum website.

Standards Compliance

  • Our aim is to meet all priority 1 requirements of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0). Meeting this standard is commonly known as Level A compliance.

  • We also aim to meet as many priority 2 requirements of the WCAG 1.0 as possible. Meeting this standard is commonly known as Level AA compliance.

  • In commissioning new websites and maintaining the accessibility of existing sites, we aim to follow the best practice guidelines described in the British Standards Institution's Publicly Available Specification 78 (PAS 78).

Current State of Compliance

Level A Compliance

We currently meet all but two of the Level A compliance checkpoints. These are:

  • Checkpoint 1.4 (synchronise captions with videos) - We are working to comply with this checkpoint. As of 8 June 2006 we have 130 videos on the main site, of which 11 meet this requirement. Of the rest, 87 have non-synchronised textual transcripts, and 32 have neither transcripts nor synchronised captions. We intend to create synchronised captions for all these remaining videos, and ensure that all new videos are published with synchronised captions.

  • Checkpoint 4.1 (specify the language of all non-English words) - We do not intend to comply with this checkpoint at this stage. This is because in version 2.0 of the WCAG , which is currently being ratified, this requirement has been reduced to priority 2. We will revisit this decision once the WCAG 2.0 is officially released.

Level AA Compliance

We currently meet all but four of the Level AA compliance checkpoints. These are:

  • Checkpoint 2.2 (colour contrast) - We fail this checkpoint with some of our top navigation buttons, and are investigating what needs to be done to meet this requirement.

  • Checkpoint 3.2 (validate to W3C grammars) - Our search system does not validate to W3C standards (though the rest of the site should validate to XHTML 1.0 Transitional). This is because we use Google University search, and we do not have control over the format of the search results.

  • Checkpoint 8.1 (make all applets and scripts accessible) - We use Flash in some sections of the website, and Flash is not fully accessible. Where it is possible, we provide accessible versions of Flash content, but we cannot provide accessible Flash content until Flash itself is accessible.

  • Checkpoint 10.1 (don't open new browser windows) - We do not intend to comply with this checkpoint at this stage. In version 2.0 of the WCAG , which is currently being ratified, this requirement has been split into three separate checkpoints: 3.2.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.5. We currently meet the first two checkpoints, both of which are priority 1, and while we fail to meet the last checkpoint, it has been relegated to priority 3 in the new guidelines.

Maintaining Accessibility Standards

Once a section of the website has been made to meet the above accessibility standards, we continually review the site and modify pages to ensure they continue to be accessible. This review process includes, among others, the following processes:

  • Some WCAG 1.0 checkpoints - such as making sure pages validate to W3C web grammars -  can be checked automatically. We run automatic checks regularly on the site to ensure compliance in these areas.

  • Our content management system has been set up to ensure that accessibility information has to be entered before content can be published. Furthermore, all pages have to be checked by members of the Web Team before they can be published, and part of this checking process is to ensure adherence to the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints.

  • New sections of the site will only be added once they meet the above standards.

  • We will continue to develop our in-house editorial guidelines to ensure we produce accessible content.

  • Once we have finished making our exhibition microsites accessible, we will work with our Disability and Access team to iron out any further issues, and will then look to employ a third party to check our website for compliance on a regular basis.

Access Keys

This site supports a subset of the UK Government's access keys standard, as follows:

1 - Home Page
2 - News
3 - Site Map
4 - Search
5 - About this Website
6 - Help
8 - Terms and Conditions
9 - Contact Us
0 - Access Key Details

We do not support 'S - Skip navigation' because the navigation is placed after the page content.


If you have any questions or feedback about the accessibility of the V&A website, we would like to hear from you. You can contact the Web Team on webmaster@vam.ac.uk