The VA.gov Experience Standards is the criteria that the Governance team will use to assess VFS products for design, IA, content, and accessibility as VFS teams bring their work through the Collaboration Cycle.

Key

  • An x in the following columns indicated that that practice area is impacted by the specified issue:

    • A11y

    • Content

    • Design

    • IA

  • Severity:

    • D - depends

    • LB - launch-blocking

    • N - not launch-blocking

Category

Category Number

Standard
(the expected behavior)

Issue
(the problematic behavior)

Issue Number

WCAG Reference (if applicable)

A11y

Content

Design

IA

Severity

TestRail Test ID

TestRail Test ID Grouping

Assistive tech and device support

11

UI orientation supports both portrait and landscape mode.

UI orientation doesn't support both portrait and landscape mode.

01

WCAG SC 1.3.4_AA

x

D

C5167

Mobile

Assistive tech and device support

11

Mobile or tablet inputs don't require multi-finger or complex gestures.

Mobile or tablet inputs require multi-finger or complex gestures.

02

WCAG SC 2.5.1_AA

x

D

C5159

Mobile

Assistive tech and device support

11

Single pointer functionality is valid.

Single pointer functionality isn't valid.

03

WCAG SC 2.5.2_A

x

D

C5160

Functionality

Assistive tech and device support

11

Buttons are the appropriate size.

Buttons aren't the appropriate size.

04

WCAG SC 2.5.5_AAA

x

x

N

C5162

Mobile

Assistive tech and device support

11

Page functionality is keyboard accessible.

Page functionality isn't keyboard accessible.

05

WCAG SC 2.1.1_A

x

LB

C5145

Keyboard

Assistive tech and device support

11

Content doesn't cause the user's keyboard focus to get trapped.

Content causes the user's keyboard focus to get trapped

06

WCAG SC 2.1.2_A

x

LB

C5146

Keyboard

Assistive tech and device support

11

Character key shortcuts can't be made active when not on focus.

Character key shortcuts can be made active when not on focus.

07

WCAG SC 2.1.4_A

x

D

C5147

Keyboard

Assistive tech and device support

11

Keyboard navigation order is meaningful and sequential.

Keyboard navigation order isn't meaningful or sequential.

08

WCAG SC 2.4.3_A

x

LB

C5154

Keyboard

Assistive tech and device support

11

Focus state is visible.

Focus state isn't visible.

09

WCAG SC 2.4.7_AA

x

LB

C5158

Keyboard

Assistive tech and device support

11

UI components don't initiate a change of context when they receive focus.

UI components initiate a change of context when they receive focus.

10

WCAG SC 3.2.1_A

x

D

C5137

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

Pages don't require sensory characteristics to be understood or operable.

Pages require sensory characteristics to be understood or operable.

11

WCAG SC 1.3.3_A

x

x

LB

C5166

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

An option for skipping to primary content is included.

An option for skipping to primary content isn't included.

12

WCAG SC 2.4.1_A

x

LB

C5152

Functionality

Assistive tech and device support

11

UI components don't initiate a change of context when they receive user input.

UI components initiate a change of context when they receive user input.

13

WCAG SC 3.2.2_A

x

N

C5138

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

Reading order can be programmatically determined.

Reading order can't be programmatically determined.

14

WCAG SC 2.3.1_A

x

LB

C5151

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

Text can be resized without assistive technology or loss of content or functionality.

Text can't be resized without assistive technology or loss of content/functionality.

15

WCAG SC 1.4.4_AA

x

LB

C5171

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

User doesn't need to scroll in two dimensions for resized content to be legible.

User needs to scroll in two dimensions for resized content to be legible.

16

WCAG SC 1.4.10_AA

x

x

N

C5174

Mobile

Assistive tech and device support

11

User applied text, line, letter and word spacing doesn't result in loss of content, functionality, or legibility.

User applied text, line, letter and word spacing results in loss of content, functionality, or legibility.

17

WCAG SC 1.4.12_AA

x

x

x

N

C5176

CSS

Assistive tech and device support

11

Suddenly visible content on hover or focus is dismissible, hoverable, or persistible.

Suddenly visible content on hover or focus is not dismissible, hoverable, or persistible.

18

WCAG SC 1.4.13_AA

x

x

x

LB

C5140

Visual

Assistive tech and device support

11

Time limits set by the content can be turned off, adjusted, or extended, or are longer than 20 hours.

Time limits set by the content can't be turned off, adjusted, or extended, or aren't longer than 20 hours.

19

WCAG SC 2.2.1_A

x

LB

C5148

Functionality

Assistive tech and device support

11

User can continue when an authenticated session expires and doesn't lose data after re-authenticating.

User can't continue when an authenticated session expires or loses data after re-authenticating.

20

WCAG SC 2.2.5_AAA

x

N

C5149

Functionality

Assistive tech and device support

11

Users are warned that their inactivity could cause data loss.

Users aren't warned that their inactivity could cause data loss.

21

WCAG SC 2.2.6_AAA

x

N

C5150

Functionality

Assistive tech and device support

11

Alert and status messages are announced without receiving focus.

Alert and status messages aren't announced without receiving focus.

22

WCAG SC 4.1.3_AA

x

N

C5134

HTML

Color, typography and visual elements

06

Your content or feature doesn't use color as the only method to provide information.

Your content or feature uses color as the only method to provide information.

01

WCAG SC 1.4.1_A

x

x

x

LB

C5168

CSS

Color, typography and visual elements

06

Text meets AA compliance for color contrast.

Text doesn't meet AA compliance for color contrast.

02

WCAG SC 1.4.3_AAWCAG SC 1.4.6_AAA

x

LB

C5170,C5173

CSS,
CSS

Color, typography and visual elements

06

UI components meet AA compliance for color contrast.

UI components don't meet AA compliance for color contrast.

03

WCAG SC 1.4.11_AA

x

D

C5175

CSS

Components and pattern standards

04

All components of the navigation system (i.e. URL, breadcrumb, left nav) within your content or feature must accurately and consistently represent the location of the page within the IA.

The components of the navigation system (i.e. URL, breadcrumb, left nav) within your content or feature don't accurately and/or consistently represent the location of the page within the IA.

01

WCAG SC 2.4.4 A

x

x

LB

C5155

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Your content or feature uses standard global navigation components or isn't missing a standard navigation component.

Your content or feature doesn't use standard global navigation components or is missing a standard navigation component.

02

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

x

LB

C5140

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Left nav links for a page live within that section of the site.

Left nav links for a page don't live within that section of the site.

03

x

LB

Components and pattern standards

04

Links were added to a benefit hub page with the appropriate approval.

Links were added to a benefit hub page without the appropriate approval.

04

x

x

N

Components and pattern standards

04

Links were added to a sitewide nav component (i.e. header, footer, home page, or top nav) with the appropriate approval.

Links were added to a sitewide nav component (i.e. header, footer, home page or top nav) without the appropriate approval.

05

x

x

LB

Components and pattern standards

04

Form labels are positioned near the form input.

Form labels aren’t positioned near the form input.

06

WCAG SC 2.5.3 A

x

x

x

N

C5161

HTML

Components and pattern standards

04

Design components or patterns align with Design System guidelines.

Design components or patterns don't align with Design System guidelines.

07

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

x

x

D

C5140

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Design components or patterns in use are up to date.

Design components and patterns in use are outdated.

08

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

x

x

D

C5140

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Design component or pattern in use is mobile-friendly.

Design component or pattern in use isn't mobile-friendly.

09

WCAG SC 1.4.10 AA

x

x

x

x

D

C5174

Mobile

Components and pattern standards

04

Navigation mechanisms are consistent across the pages.

Navigation mechanisms aren't consistent across pages.

10

WCAG SC 3.2.3_AA

x

x

x

x

LB

C5139

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Components with the same functionality within a set of Web pages are consistent.

Components with the same functionality within a set of Web pages aren't consistent.

11

WCAG SC 3.2.4_AA

x

x

x

D

C5140

Visual

Components and pattern standards

04

Design component or pattern is functioning and working as expected.

Design component or pattern is not functioning or working as expected.

12

x

x

x

x

LB

Content organization

02

Your content or feature is placed at the right level within the VA.gov hierarchy.

Your content or feature isn't placed at the right level within the VA.gov hierarchy.

01

x

x

D

Content organization

02

Your content or feature is placed within an appropriate or relevant area of VA.gov.

Your content or feature isn't placed within an appropriate or relevant area of VA.gov.

02

x

x

D

Content organization

02

The findability of your content or feature was tested with users to validate its placement within the VA.gov IA.

The findability of your content or feature wasn't tested with users to validate its placement within the VA.gov IA.

03

x

x

N

Content organization

02

Your page follows heading hierarchy. Headings are properly nested, and headings and labels are relevant to the page.

Your page doesn't follow heading hierarchy. Headings aren't properly nested, and headings and/or labels aren't relevant to the page.

04

WCAG SC 1.3.1_AWCAG SC 2.4.6_AA

x

x

x

x

D

C5165,C5157

HTML,
Visual

Content organization

02

Long or complex sections of content are broken up into content chunks or bulleted lists.

Long or complex sections of content aren't broken up into content chunks or bulleted lists.

05

WCAG SC 3.1

x

x

x

x

N

Content organization

02

Content organization and categorization is clear and actionable.

Content organization and/or categorization isn't clear or actionable.

06

WCAG SC 3.1

x

x

x

D

Content organization

02

Content organization and information within the user flow properly supports all users.

Content organization and/or information within the user flow doesn't properly support all users.

07

x

x

D

Content style guide

05

Content, entry points, and link labels use plain language or familiar words, terms, and acronyms that users understand.

Content, entry points, and link labels don't use plain language or familiar words, terms, and acronyms that users understand.

01

WCAG SC 3.1.4 AAA

x

x

x

D

C5136

Visual

Content style guide

05

The content contains no spelling, punctuation, or typo errors.

The content has spelling, punctuation, or typo errors.

02

x

D

Content style guide

05

The content is written consistently across static pages, tools, and devices.

The content isn't written consistently across static pages, tools, and devices.

03

x

D

Content style guide

05

Content aligns with VA.gov voice and tone content principles.

Content doesn’t align with VA.gov voice and tone content principles.

04

x

D

Content style guide

05

The content is written in plain language and doesn't contain excess words or modifiers.

The content isn't written in plain language and contains excess words and modifiers.

05

x

D

Content style guide

05

The content has correct information.

The content has incorrect information.

06

x

LB

Content style guide

05

Form labels and questions align with the VA.gov form labels masterlist and plain language principles.

Form labels and questions don’t align with the VA.gov form labels masterlist and plain language principles.

07

x

N

Content style guide

05

Content aligns with style guidance in VA.gov content style guide.

Content doesn’t align with style guidance in VA.gov content style guide.

08

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

D

C5140

Visual

Content style guide

05

Content includes an error message or validation error to indicate an error or empty state.

Content doesn't include an error message or validation error to indicate an error or empty state.

09

WCAG SC 3.3.1 A

x

x

x

LB

C5141

Visual

Content style guide

05

Typography in use aligns with Design System guidelines.

Typography in use doesn't align with Design System guidelines.

10

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

x

N

C5140

Visual

Content style guide

05

Labels or instructions are provided when content requires user input.

Labels or instructions aren't provided when content requires user input.

11

WCAG SC 3.3.2_A

x

x

x

LB

C5142

Visual

Link and button labels

08

If your content has multiple CTAs, each CTA has a unique descriptive label and/or gives the user the intended result.

If your content has multiple CTAs, the CTAs don't have a unique descriptive label and/or give the user the intended result.

01

x

x

x

N

Link and button labels

08

Your content uses correct and consistent labels across links, entry points, navigation components, and H1s.

Your content doesn't use correct and consistent labels across links, entry points, navigation components, and H1s.

02

WCAG SC 2.4.6_AA

x

x

x

D

C5157

Visual

Link and button labels

08

Button and link language is descriptive and/or their purpose is clear.

Button and link language isn't descriptive and/or their purpose isn't clear.

03

WCAG SC 2.4.4_A

x

x

x

D

C5155

Visual

Markup and meta data

09

HTML markup is valid.

HTML markup isn't valid.

01

WCAG SC 1.3.1_A

x

D

C5165

HMTL

Markup and meta data

09

The language attribute is in use.

The language attribute isn't in use.

02

WCAG SC 3.1.1_AWCAG SC 3.1.2_AA

x

LB

C5365,C5135

HTML,
HTML

Markup and meta data

09

HTML markup parses correctly.

HTML markup doesn't parse correctly.

03

WCAG SC 4.1.1_A

x

LB

C5132

HMTL

Markup and meta data

09

Page title tag is unique and meaningful.

Page title tag isn't unique and/or meaningful.

04

WCAG SC 2.4.2_A

x

x

x

D

C5153

HMTL

Markup and meta data

09

Visual labels are included in the accessible label.

Visual labels aren't included in the accessible label.

05

WCAG SC 2.5.3_A

x

LB

C5161

HTML

Markup and meta data

09

Name and role can be programmatically determined for UI components.

Name and role can't be programmatically determined for UI components.

06

WCAG SC 4.1.2_A

x

D

C5133

HTML

Non-text content and media

10

Non-text content has a text alternative.

Non-text content doesn't have a text alternative.

01

WCAG SC 1.1.1_A

x

x

x

D

C5050

Functionality

Non-text content and media

10

Text alternative is provided for prerecorded audio or video files.

Text alternative isn't provided for prerecorded audio or video files.

02

WCAG SC 1.2.1_A

x

D

C5051

Functionality

Non-text content and media

10

Synchronized captions are provided for prerecorded audio content.

Synchronized captions aren't provided for prerecorded audio content.

03

WCAG SC 1.2.2_A

x

D

C5163

Functionality

Non-text content and media

10

Synchronized captions are provided for live audio content.

Synchronized captions aren't provided for live audio content.

04

WCAG SC 1.2.4_AA

x

D

C5164

Functionality

Non-text content and media

10

Controls are available for audio or video content.

Controls aren't available for audio or video content.

05

WCAG SC 1.4.2_A

x

x

LB

C5169

Functionality

Non-text content and media

10

Page doesn't contain content with a high flash rate.

Page contains content with a high flash rate.

06

WCAG SC 2.3.1_A

x

LB

C5151

Visual

Non-text content and media

10

Design doesn't use images that are purely text.

Design uses images that are purely text.

07

WCAG SC 1.4.5_AA

x

x

x

D

C5172

Visual

Other

00

No VA.gov Experience Standard for the issue found.

No VA.gov Experience Standard for the issue found.

00

Overall user experience

01

Design component or pattern in use is considered a best practice.

Design component or pattern in use isn't considered a best practice.

01

x

x

N

Overall user experience

01

Your feature focuses users on the primary task

Your feature doesn't focus users on the primary task.

02

x

x

x

N

URL standards

07

URL is unique and/or distinctly different from other URLs within VA.gov.

URL isn't unique and/or distinctly different from other URLs within VA.gov.

01

x

LB

URL standards

07

URL accurately reflects the location of the page within the site.

URL doesn't accurately reflect the location of the page within the site.

02

x

D

URL standards

07

URL is human-readable, uses plain language, and/or includes appropriate keywords.

URL isn't human-readable, doesn't use plain language and/or doesn't include appropriate keywords.

03

x

x

D

URL standards

07

URL provides clear and specific context in as few words as possible.

URL doesn't provide clear and specific context in a few words as possible.

04

x

x

D

URL standards

07

URL follows formatting standards.

URL doesn't follow formatting standards

05

x

LB

User flows and navigating

03

A user flow has valid or appropriate closure, and doesn't result in a dead end where a user can't complete a task due to a functional issue (i.e. blank page, missing field or CTA, 404 error).

A user flow doesn’t have valid or appropriate closure, and results in a dead end where the user can't complete a task due to a functional issue (i.e. blank page, missing field or CTA, 404 error).

01

x

x

x

LB

User flows and navigating

03

A user flow provides content or navigation to help users understand where to go or what to do next.

A user flow doesn't provide content or navigation to help users understand where to go or what to do next.

02

x

x

LB

User flows and navigating

03

A user flow includes a prominently placed CTA that doesn't lead the user out of the primary flow without notifying them or providing a clear way for them to return to the original flow.

A user flow includes a prominently placed CTA that leads the user out of the primary flow without notifying them or providing a clear way for them to return to the original flow.

03

x

x

LB

User flows and navigating

03

A user flow doesn't have repetitive or redundant steps.

A user flow has repetitive or redundant steps.

04

x

x

N

User flows and navigating

03

The primary CTA is clear and/or prominently displayed within the flow or content page.

The primary CTA isn't clear and/or prominently displayed within the flow or content page.

05

x

x

x

D

User flows and navigating

03

There are entry points implemented for your new content or feature.

There are no implemented entry points, or a recommended entry point for your new content or feature is missing.

06

WCAG SC 2.4.5_AA

x

x

x

D

C5156

Functionality

User flows and navigating

03

Static content pages and entry points (including CTAs) are updated to support a tool or feature launch.

Static content pages and entry points (including CTAs) aren't updated to support a tool or feature launch.

07

WCAG SC 3.2.4 AA

x

x

x

x

LB

C5140

Visual

User flows and navigating

03

Error messages include a path to resolution and follow guidance in the error messages dictionary and error messages style guide.

Error messages don’t include a path to resolution and/or follow guidance in the error messages dictionary and error messages style guide.

08

WCAG SC 3.3.1_AWCAG SC 3.3.3_AA

x

x

x

x

D

C5141C5143

Visual,
Visual

User flows and navigating

03

A user can review, edit, or confirm transactional information before submission.

User can't review, edit, or confirm transactional information before submission.

09

WCAG SC 3.3.4_AA

x

x

x

LB

C5144

Functionality

User flows and navigating

03

Your content or feature supports all necessary user flows and scenarios.

Your content does not support a necessary user flow or user scenario.

10

x

x

x

D

User flows and navigating

03

Link or button is working as expected and navigates to the intended destination.

Link or button is not working as expected or did not navigate to the intended destination.

11

x

x

x

x

LB