Computer Accommodations Program - Advancing Access for Everyone
Computer Accommodations Program > Website Accessibility Assessment

Website Accessibility Assessment

Disability Services has purchased a one-year HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff application site license for use by the University of Minnesota Web community.  The software aids in identifying accessibility issues, provides information on the importance of accessibility features, provides resources for understanding and resolving accessibility issues, and highlights accessibility issues in both the rendered view and the source code.

HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff Features

  • Checking the accessibility of Web sites;
  • Checking for broken links;
  • Spell checking;
  • Checking for private information.

The software is available free of charge to anyone at the University of Minnesota seeking to improve the accessibility of their Web presence.  All Web designers are encouraged to request an account and scan their site for accessibility.  It’s easy to get started, just submit an account request.

Getting Started with HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff

You can begin using Compliance Sheriff as soon as you receive your account credentials. Point your browser to and log in with your received credentials.

Note: Please make a note of your password, as the software does not use the UMN Internet login.  It is recommended that you change your password to something that you can easily remember in the Admin tab of the application.

General Usage

  1. Start a Scan
    • Enter the URL of the site to be scanned.
    • Select how many levels deep to scan the site.
    • Select the checkpoints to scan against.
  2. Run the Scan
  3. View the Results 
  4. Make Improvements to the Site (based on the results of the scan)
  5. Repeat the Scan (note changes in the “Health” score)

The recommended checkpoints for the scan configuration are WCAG 2.0 A and AA.  Beginning January 1, 2014, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA, shall serve as the Web accessibility standards for the University of Minnesota.

Note: UMN Web Designers can see each other's scans and also scan each other's sites.  Please be considerate of other people's work. 

The Health Score

The initial Compliance Sheriff scan of a Website may return a low “Health Score.”  Do not be discouraged or upset.  Rather, consider this score a starting point for analysis, discussion, and planning.

There may be many factors that contribute to a low Health Score.

  • The number of checkpoints used in the scan — Typically, a relatively large number of checkpoints will result in a lower Health Score.  
  • Components of the Website that are not directly under the Web designers control — For example, the code generated directly by the content management system.  Typically these types of issues are more difficult to address and may require long term evaluation of a Web hosting strategy.
  • Components of the Web site that are directly under the Web designers’ control

An analysis may reveal that a Web designer may have numerous items to address in order to bring a Website into compliance with the University of Minnesota Accessibility of Information Technology standards.  It is recommended that a Web designer engage their units’ IT director to plan a strategy for addressing the identified accessibility issues.

The HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff application is a tool intended to help Web Developers make their sites to be the best they can be.  We hope you will find Compliance Sheriff to be a useful and valuable tool.  The goal is to make the University of Minnesota Web presence welcoming and accessible to all users and visitors.  Thank you for your efforts towards this goal.

Naming Conventions

Let's adhere to some naming conventions to help us with the organization of scans in HiSoftware.  When naming scans, please construct the scan name to consist of 3 parts separated by an underscore:

  1. Unit abbreviation that performs the scan - this will help sort the scans by unit
  2. Site URL - to know what site was scanned
  3. Checkpint group(s) - to help with what checkpoints were used in the scan

Using this convention, an example scan name would be DS_ds.umn.edu_Sect508.