Digital Accessibility and Inclusion

An accessible and inclusive website is one formatted for people with disabilities (accessible) and is easy for people with different abilities and languages (inclusive) to use.

Making our website accessible to everyone is an important part of our commitment to equity and excellence.

Our Commitment

By law, all DOE websites must be accessible by certain deadlines:

  • All pages on the main DOE sites— and the InfoHub—must be accessible by December 31, 2019.
  • School websites must show progress toward accessibility by December 31, 2020.

This includes the content on the page as well as the documents and media hosted on the website.

School Websites

Does your school have its own website? If so, principals should assign staff members to the webmaster role in Galaxy by December 2. The webmasters will then be able to register for learning opportunities where they will learn how to make your school’s site accessible. The learning opportunities are available both during and after school hours.

Accessible and Inclusive Content 

Accessibility Tips

Our sites must follow the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA guidelines. This applies to both the content on the page, as well as all documents, images, and videos posted on it. Broadly, that means you must:

  • Use everyday language.
  • Use Heading
    • Format your page so it works well with screen readers and keyboard controls.
      • Use the Styles bar to add an H1 heading for the title, and H2 headings for subheads.
      • Don’t just change your font size or bold your text. Screen readers won’t know it’s a heading.
  • Create meaningful hyperlinks
    • Hyperlink the description of where people will go—and why they’d want to go there.
    • Do not hyperlink the phrase “click here," or "read more."
  • Give all images descriptive text (alt-text)
  • Provide translations for all parent-facing content.
    • This applies to both the content on your webpages, as well as any documents you post there.
    • Contact the Translation and Interpretation Unit to translate documents, fliers, and notices.
  • Caption your videos

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Avoid outdated terms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

Making Content Accessible

Most of the programs you use already have tools built into them to check that your content is accessible. Below is a list of frequently used programs and their checkers 

Microsoft Office



  • 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.


Parent-facing sites like schools sites or our family website should have videos that are:

  • Captioned in the ten languages the DOE uses.
  • Hosted on an official site for the school or office—with more than one person having administrative rights.
  • Central users must host videos on the DOE's Vimeo account. Contact Christian Fernandez for more video information.

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

  • Captioned in English.
  • Hosted on an official site—with more than one person having administrative rights.


NYC DOE staff can visit the Accessibility Learning Opportunities for hands-on classes. for more details.

Apps and Vendors 

Online apps like FlipGrid, Kahoot or Minecraft come from third-party vendors. Those vendors are responsible for making their content accessible. In turn, we are only allowed to partner with vendors who provide accessible content. If you are unsure about an app you use, email the vendor, or provider, and ask.

Print-Only Content

Having a digital version of print documents (yearbooks, programs, awards, and certificates) makes content easy to share. Fliers sent home with students should also be posted on your website or classroom page. However, that can only be done if they are accessible for people with disabilities.

Review our Making Print Documents Accessible page for more information.


All content on the website must be accessible. That includes:

  • All DOE-sponsored or sanctioned websites and webpages
  • All documents including the Microsoft, Google, and Apple Suite as well as other digital formats
  • Multimedia content, like pictures, videos, or audio files
  • Online tools and applications
  • Letters and forms
  • Information posted to social media sites like Facebook or Instagram
  • Online learning environments for students and staff, and their resources, such as:
    • Google Classroom
    • Schoolology
    • iLearnNYC
  • School websites
  • Parent and student portals, like Skedula


Still have questions?  Email us at

Back to Top