IT Accessibility Quick Guide

This quick guide is designed to provide a high-level understanding of how to use different types of campus technologies accessibly. For more detailed information follow the links for each technology.

Questions and Help



Our Commitment

  • Universities must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. At NC State, the Disability Services Office (DSO) is authorized to make these determinations.
  • The law does not require us to waive courses or other requirements, lower academic standards, or adopt measures which fundamentally alter a course.
  • Communications with Persons with disabilities must be timely, equally effective, and in an equally integrated manner as compared with non-disabled Persons.
  • NC State has an ICT Accessibility Regulation ( and a set of FAQs accompanying the regulation (
  • Creating an accessible IT environment is a shared responsibility between the institution and the content creator.


  • All content should be made accessible when delivered to a group where the functional limitations are not known, or someone in the group needs an accessible version.
  • Planning for accessibility from the beginning is an order of magnitude easier, both in time and money, than fixing it after the fact.
  • It is the responsibility of the content creator to design accessible content.
Technology Quick Guides
TechnologyOverview of How to Build it AccessiblyHow to Check if it is Accessible
  • include captions
  • use an accessible media player, like VideoJS or Mediasite for the Web, or QuickTime or Windows Media Player for desktop playback
  • Note: some content presented in the video may need to be repurposed in a textual format for people with visual impairments.
  • You should be able to view captions.
  • You should be able to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and toggle the captions for the video using only your keyboard.
Microsoft Word
  • use heading styles (can be customized)
  • use built-in formats for bullet lists, columns, and tables
  • avoid floating text boxes
  • include alternative text for images
  • DO NOT save as a Web page
Microsoft PowerPoint
  • use built-in slide layouts
  • add alternative text for images
  • DO NOT save as a Web page
Microsoft Excel
  • specify column headers
  • DO NOT use blank cells for formatting
Google Docs
  • use heading styles
  • for read-only versions of a Google Doc, export it to an MS Word document
  • DO NOT create PDF files directly from Google Docs
  • PLAN on some users not being able to edit documents online
  • For users with visual impairments, Google Documents will need to be converted into Microsoft Word documents. After conversion, use the process for "Microsoft Word".
Narrated Presentations
  • use screen recording software like Camtasia, or ScreenFlow
  • DO NOT share the movie from the software’s export function
  • REPACKAGE the exported movie and caption file in another video player, like VideoJS
  • Follow the same process as "Video".
Google Sites
  • only insert text, links, lists, and images (with alternative text)  into Google Sites
  • tables and other embedded objects cannot be made fully accessible
  • PLAN on some users not being able to edit content within Sites
  • Follow the same process as "Web Pages".
  • use an accessible theme
  • use headings appropriately
  • add alternative text to images
  • Follow the same process as "Web Pages".
Web Pages
  • design to the WCAG 2, Level AA standard
  • use freely available tools to test for Web page accessibility
PDF Documents
  • use software that creates accessible PDFs, like Microsoft Word (Windows only) or InDesign
  • use the Libraries Course Reserves for scanned articles
  • OCR must be run on scanned items
  • use Adobe Acrobat Pro Accessibility Wizard to check document
  • Fully determining the accessibility of a PDF document is challenging. The following procedure will let you get an overview of a document's accessibility.
    • In Adobe Acrobat choose "Full check" under View, then Tools, then Accessibility.
    • Confirm the correct document reading order by selecting "Read Out Loud" in the View menu to have the document read to you.
Online Surveys
  • use Qualtrics for point-and-click form creation
  • use inFORM for build-your-own HTML form creation
  • use MeToo! for informal surveys
  • use CAUTION when using Google Forms
  • Qualtrics is mostly accessible. If you are not using Qualtrics, use the same process as "Web Pages".
  • use MathType to help you write your equations in either the MathML, LaTeX, or TeX formats
  • use MathJax to insert those equations into Web pages
  • If you are delivering then in Microsoft Word, when you edit the equation in Word, the MathType equation editor should load.
  • If you are delivering them in a Web page, when you control click on the equation you should see an option for "About MathJax".
  • TurningPoint clickers can be used in accessible ways
  • problems usually arise when student responses are directly tied to grades
  • You should use TurningPoint clickers.
  • Some students with mobility impairments may benefit from using ResponseWare in conjunction with TurningPoint clickers.
  • most of Moodle’s functionality is accessible
  • the Choice and Forum activities can cause problems
  • user added content must be designed accessibly
  • The Moodle interface is mostly accessible. The content you will need to check will be content you create in Moodle or upload to Moodle. For content you create in Moodle, follow the same process as "Web Pages". For content you upload to Moodle, use the appropriate guide from this document.
Blackboard Collaborate
  • most of Collaborate’s functionality is accessible
  • Application Sharing will cause problems for screen reader users
  • Note: some content presented in the video may need to be repurposed in a textual format for people with visual impairments.
  • The Blackboard Collaborate interface is accessible. You will need to check for documents that you share with others. Additionally, depending on the activity that is being done in Collaborate, you may need to provide the content in an alternative format. This might include providing PowerPoint files or other text documents. Additionally, live captioning might need to be provided for users with hearing impairments.
  • online recordings can be made fully accessible by adding captions
  • the media player for recordings is accessible
  • Note: some content presented in the video may need to be repurposed in a textual format for people with visual impairments.
  • Mediasite’s interface is accessible.
  • You should be able to view captions.

Publication date: January 2, 2014