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Web Standards

Small Standards IconVA, along with all other executive departments and agencies, must adhere to all applicable laws and regulations when building and maintaining websites.

A comprehensive list of all applicable Federal laws and regulations have been compiled and posted to DigitalGov.gov, including Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policies and guidance.  Please refer to this online library as they are updated regularly with the latest resources.

In addition to Federal laws and regulations, there are a number of policies and directives in place that address VA websites and usage specifically.  Refer to our “Policies” web page.

The Administrations may have additional standards or rules.  For VBA, refer to M27-1, Part III, Subpart i, Chapter 2, Web Content.

VA websites will…
  • Use a va.gov domain unless approved by the Web Governance Board and the VA CIO IAW VA 6102
  • Serve the mission of VA and be relevant and useful to VA’s website visitors.  This also applies to web page links.  Link content must be organized in ways that is relevant to website visitors and must use information architecture principles and standards.
  • Test links when posted to VA web pages to ensure their viability and usability, and they must refer to the correct domain.
  • Ensure that no government or agency mandates or standards are violated prior to posting an external link.
  • Ensure that information collected from the public minimizes burden and maximizes public utility in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
  • Protect the privacy of people by complying with all privacy requirements.
  • Evaluate customer satisfaction and the usability of its websites in accordance with Executive Order 13571 and OMB Memorandum M-11-24.  Refer to DigitalGov.gov for more information.
  • Implement Digital Analytics on all websites to allow the government to share common performance measures within a common measurement framework.  Refer to our “Analytics” web page.
  • Be registered in the intranet-based VA Web Registry Database (http://vaww.va.gov/webregistry/).  All registered sites will be reviewed and certified at a minimum annually or as changes occur.
VA websites will not…
  • Give the appearance of favoritism to a single commercial website when there are multiple sources of the same information or services.
  • Endorse or promote vendors or products, or information that purports to sell goods or services to Internet customers.  Websites are also prohibited from being used for direct or indirect lobbying.
  • Link to external websites that are not related to VA’s mission.
  • Use active intranet links, actively link to internal VA resources, or fail to remove/redact active internal hyperlinks prior to external publication of any internet web page or document.  Web Communications Offices or the Web Governance Board may immediately remove any page or document containing active intranet links from internet production servers.  Content managers will be notified and those pages will not be permitted to be restored until corrected.
  • Link to sensitive information regarding Personally Identifiable Information, Protected Health Information, VA sensitive, budget, procurement, and human resources or other information that is privileged and confidential unless access is restricted.  These types of information are protected information and must be secured by passwords that are assigned to specific persons or groups who need, and are authorized, to access this information.
  • Use copyrighted materials without appropriate permissions and payment of any applicable fees.
  • Be used to convey information for VA employees unless appropriately justified.
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