Making Accessible and Inclusive Content

If you create content that will appear on a website, we strongly recommend that you attend one of our accessibility workshops. They're free and take place both during and after the school day!

Below are links to online resources and accessibility tips for most of the DOE's content creation platforms. It is not intended to replace the step-by-step guidance provided in the accessibility workshops. 

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.

Accessibility Workshops

Learn how to make accessible documents. Register for one of our accessibility workshops. The ones listed below focus on formatting in MS Office products:
  • Digin Camp: Beyond Basics
  • Accessibility Certification via SiteImprove Academy


  • 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:
    • Wave for overall accessibility

Accessibility Workshops

Learn how to make accessible Google Docs. Register for our DigIn Camp: Beyond Basics accessibility workshop.


  • 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.
    • If you don't have the source document, use the Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC built-in accessibility checker. Your department can buy Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC.


Inclusive websites’s hyperlink never use the phrases “click here” or “find out more.” Instead, they incorporate descriptive hyperlinks--ones that tell people:

  1. Where they'll be going
  2. Why they are going/what they can do there. 


  • 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.

Accessibility Workshops

Register for our DigIn Camp: Intermediate 1 accessibility workshop to learn how to make videos accessible.

Digital Accessibility Checklist

  • Family content should be written at a grade 6-9 reading level. Too high? Try:
    • Shorter sentences
    • Simpler words
    • Bulleted lists
    • more sub headings
  • Images must have alt text 
  • Hyperlinks are linked with descriptive text. For example:
    • "Register for the March 27 Website Accessibility Workshop"
    • Not “Register Now!” or “Click here to Register”  

Document Checklist

All documents on all of our websites must have:

  • A title
    • indicated by H1 formatting from the formatting ribbon
    • populated in either the MS Word or PDF Title field under document properties
  • Headings and subheads are made using the formatting ribbon
  • The DOE logo in the upper left corner
  • Auto-generated page numbers in the footer, if it is more than one page
  • A date (month and year, or season and year are acceptable) on the document
  • A link to the digital version somewhere embedded in the document. 
    • Visit our Making Print Documents Accessible page for more details

Inclusive Language Tips

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.

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