Making Accessible Content

If you create content we strongly recommend that you take some of our FREE on-demand digital accessibility courses. Find out how to take these classes at

Get Started

Bookmark the How to Make (Almost) Anything Accessible checklist for quick reference.

Digital Accessibility Checklist: The Big Four

  1. Family content should be written at a grade 6-9 reading level. Too high? Try:
    • Shorter sentences
    • Simpler words
    • Bulleted lists
  2. Use headings to structure your content, but be sure to
    • Use the formatting ribbon (H1, H2, etc) in MS Word of Google Docs..
    • You can't use boldings, italics, or underlines as headings.
  3. Images must have alt text.
  4. Hyperlinks are linked with descriptive text. For example:
    • "Register for the March 5 Website Accessibility Workshop" NOT “Register Now!” or “Click here to Register”

Microsoft Office

Most Microsoft Office products have built-in checkers. Below are links to how to use them--and some caveats about how they work.


  • Google Docs
    • Tables in Google docs cannot be made accessible
  • Grackle Docs
    • It can be used to check for alt text, heading structure, and color contrast
    • It can assess your document. But you may not be able to remediate all the issues in the add-on.
  • Use other Google Chrome add-ons such as:


  • InDesign
  • Acrobat
    • It is easiest to check accessibility in your source document (for example, Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) before converting to PDF. See above for instructions.
    • Use the Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC built-in accessibility checker.
    • See what's involved in making Accessible PDFs and Fillable Forms


  • All images must include an alt-text description
  • Don’t use pictures or images that features text, as they cannot be:
    • Read by screen readers
    • Translated online

Image Sizing

  • Make sure the image less than 1 mb. in size, or it will take forever to load.
  • Never make an image bigger than the original—it will become distorted.
    • Keep the ratio between horizontal and vertical the same as the original when you resize an image.


Family-Facing Videos

Family-facing sites like schools sites or our family website must have videos that are:

  • Captioned in all ten languages the DOE uses.
  • Hosted on an official site for the school or office—not one's personal or individual account.
    • In order to be able to respond to issues, more than one person at the school or office has to have the administrative rights to the account.
  • Central users must host videos on the DOE's Vimeo account.

All Other Videos

All other videos—including training videos that record an instructor’s computer screen—need to be:

  • Captioned in English.
  • Hosted on an official site for the school or office—not one's personal or individual account.

Inclusive Language

Put the person first

  • Say “Person with a disability” rather than “disabled person” 
  • Say “People with disabilities” rather than “the disabled” 
  • For specific disabilities, say “Person who uses a wheelchair” or “Person who has Cerebral Palsy” 
  • If you are not sure what words to use, JUST ASK

Avoid outdated terms

Never use:

  • Crazy
  • Crippled
  • Differently-abled
  • Handicapped
  • Physically challenged
  • Retarded 
  • Sufferer 
  • Suffers from
  • Special needs
  • Victim
  • Wheelchair bound

Source: Presentation on Disability Awareness from the NYC Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities.

Trainings and Workshops

We offer FREE accessibility sessions available on-demand. Find out how to register for classes at

Submitting Content to the Website

Visit the Making Updates to the DOE Websites page on the Employee InfoHub.

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