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NYSED Web Accessibility Requirements for Websites

All new or updated web content MUST be reviewed for NYSED accessibility standards. Inline with NYSED web posting procedures, make sure to notify your webmaster and ITS about updates to the web by using the new content reporting form.  

Web content format requirements. (HTML/documents )

Webpage content should be posted in HTML format for best usability and accessibility. When you create content in Drupal using a “Basic Page” or with any specific content type created for your area, these pages are considered HTML pages.

HTML format is required for the following types of content:   

  • Memos
  • Letters
  • Instructions
  • Policies/Procedures
  • Informational pages (typically less than 5 pages)

At other times, posting of PDF documents may be necessary. PDF and/or Office documents may be an acceptable format for the following:

  • Fill-in forms
  • Large manuals
  • Large Reports which contain data/calculations
  • Brochures
  • Large publications
  • Documents for printing

Technical requirements



  1. Minimum criteria:  
    1. Zero accessibility errors for the site identified via Chrome WAVE tool.
    2. Links are accessible and contain meaningful text. The Webaccess site identifies steps for creating accessible hypertext links.  
  2. Preferred:  
    1. Zero contrast errors using Wave.
    2. Meets all requirements of HHS section 508 HTML checklist.

Videos / Audio

  1. Minimum criteria:  
    1. All video/audio(s) contain Closed Captioning.
  2. Preferred criteria:  
    1. All video/audio(s) contain both Closed Captioning and transcript.



  1. Minimum criteria:
    1. PDF document is tagged using Adobe Acrobat Pro 11.
    2. Title, author and language metadata properties are set.
    3. OCR ran to recognize image-based or scanned text and provide a text alternate.
    4. Zero errors with the Adobe Acrobat Accessibility checking tool. For additional assistance, please review the resources on Webaccess for making PDFs accessible.  
    5. Manual checks
      1. Tagged reading order follows the logical reading order; forms must have logical tab order. Review the webaccess site for more help on checking reading order.
      2. Lists are properly tagged, with List, List Item, and LBody tags. Check the webaccess site for help on making list structure accessible.  
      3. Tables
        1. Data tables are tagged correctly including:
          1. Header cells tagged with TH, data cells tagged with TD.  
          2. Table cell IDs used in complex tables.
          3. Table header summary is appropriate.
          4. The table must have description/summary, based on the type of the table. Please refer to the following resources for more help.
          5. Proper table structure is required.  
            • The table needs to have equal number of rows and columns
            • Tables need headers
            • Don’t merge the cells  
        2. Information Layout Table:  
          1. Don’t tag these tables as tables. Tag them as text and provide the logical reading and tag order.  
          2. Provide a brief description about the content the table has along with the number of rows and columns.  
          3. Also refer to the webaim tips on data and layout tables for more guidelines.  
  2. Preferred criteria
    1. Meets all requirements of HHS section 508 PDF checklist.

PDF Fill-in Forms  

  1. Minimum requirements
    1. All form fields are properly tagged and labeled
    2. Form fields contain understandable labels and tooltips.
    3. Links must be readable. i.e. they must have the actual/alternate text and the title.  
      1. Review the Webaccess site for detailed guidance on how to make the links accessible.  
      2. Whenever possible, link around text in a sentence instead of using the URL. This gives meaningful context to the link when a non-sighted user engages with a links list while using JAWS or NVDA. Avoid terms such as “Click here” for links, or repeated link text in a page, as it. For example:  
        1. Visit Google maps (link is external) website. Instead of the complete URL  
        2. Visit the Special Education website. Instead of the complete URL
        3. Underlining Text:  In general, don’t underline words, sentences and paragraphs, as it looks like a link for low-vision users. All links, in conjunction with hue color, should be easily identifiable by some other means. The industry standard is underlining the link. (Please note, that certain legal documents for program areas may have underlines)  
  2. Preferred criteria:  
    1. Meets all requirements of HHS section 508 PDF checklist.

Microsoft Office documents

  1. Minimum criteria:  
    1. Check MS Office documents using the MS Office Accessibility Checker.
    2. Zero accessibility errors checking MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint.  
    3. If the information is solely presented as a MS Office file, this information is not considered web accessible. You will also have to provide the information in accessible HTML or an accessible PDF.
  2. Resources
    1. The NYSED WEBACCESS site contains links for instructions to make your MS Office files accessible. These steps can be used to correct errors found by the MS Office Accessibility Checker.
    2. For online training on common accessibility techniques for MS Office, see Microsoft’s videos on how to make all your Microsoft Office documents accessible.

Please Note: If, after reviewing these tools, you still have questions about the web accessibility procedures, you may contact your Webmaster or SEDACCESS. You may also submit your question to the NYSED Web Accessibility Support Forum.