On this page:
Why Accessibility Matters
When you create digital content you want it to work with the technologies people use, whether that is a mobile phone or a dedicated assistive device, such as a screen reader. Just as including access ramps and curb cuts in the built environment can remove barriers to access, incorporating accessibility features, such as alternative text and keyboard control, can improve the digital “environment.”
ADA Digital Toolkit
ADA Digital Toolkit (Word)
This ADA Digital Toolkit is designed to help users understand the importance and impact of digital accessibility and its relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This toolkit is intended to provide you with information, tools, and resources you need to make your websites, documents, and others electronic information accessible to people with disabilities.
What is Digital Accessibility?
Introduction to Web Accessibility – WebAIM
An introduction to digital accessibility that provides a brief overview of how people with disabilities interact with the Web, what you need to consider before implementing accessibility in your organization, and the basic principles of accessible design.
Introduction to Web Accessibility
Provides an introduction to the concept of digital accessibility, explores how it affects people with disabilities, and offers some basic considerations for making your website more accessible.
Considering the User Perspective – WebAIM
A summary of the barriers people with disabilities often face when they encounter common design issues.
The Electronic Curb Cut (Video) – MNDHS
Video produced by the Minnesota Department of Human Services highlighting how digital accessibility can benefit everyone, not just people with disabilities. Audio described version
4 Principles of Digital Accessibility (PDF)
A card that summarizes the four Principles of Digital Accessibility and offers best practices for making your content accessible.
Digital Accessibility and the Law
ADA.gov – Accessible Technology Index
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) broadly protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in employment, access to State and local government services, places of public accommodation, transportation, and other important areas of American life. The Department of Justice’s regulation and enforcement efforts have repeatedly emphasized that websites and other forms of electronic communication are covered under the ADA.
Section 508 – US Access Board
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.
This site provides information and links to guidance, resources, tools and blog articles focusing on helping the government implement the requirements of Section 508. Using this web site, federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508 as they apply to the development, procurement, maintenance, or use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products and services.
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Upon request, federal agencies are required to provide reasonable accommodations–including accessible information and communication–to people with disabilities to ensure equal access to their programs and activities.
Minnesota Statute 16E.03, Subd. 9: State Information and Communications Systems
Effective July 1, 2009 or when standards become effective (which turned out to be September 1, 2010), the statute requires all state agencies to adhere to standards for accessibility developed by the State Chief Information Officer. Those standards were to incorporate both Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 or to have an exception to the requirements granted by the State CIO. Refer to State of Minnesota Accessibility Standard.
Upon request by an individual, records must be made available within a reasonable time period to persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Upon request by an individual, any continuing education or professional development course, offering, material or activity approved or administered by the state, political subdivisions of the state, the University of Minnesota or the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, must be made available within a reasonable time period to persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities….Violation of this section is subject to a penalty of $500 per violation, plus reasonable attorney fees, costs and disbursements.
Executive Order 14-07, Implementing Plain Language in the Executive Branch (PDF)
Requires the Office of the Governor and all Executive branch agencies to communicate with Minnesotans using Plain Language. Plain Language is communication an audience can understand the first time they read or hear it. This executive order provides Minnesotans better state services by reducing confusion, saving time, and improving customer satisfaction.
Executive Order 14-14, Providing for Increased State Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (PDF)
Executive Order 14-14 tasks Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) with developing best practices for the recruitment and retention for individuals with disabilities. The strategies developed are to ensure that state employment of individuals with disabilities reaches its goal of 7%.
Executive Order 15-03, Implementation of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan (PDF)
The Olmstead Plan is a broad series of key activities our state must accomplish to ensure people with disabilities are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. The Plan will help Minnesotans with disabilities have the opportunity to live close to their family and friends, live more independently, engage in productive employment, and participate in community life.
Executive Order 16-01, Establishing the Diversity and Inclusion Council (PDF)
The aim of the Diversity and Inclusion Council is to improve the recruiting and retention of state employees from diverse backgrounds, improve the contracting process for businesses owned by Minnesotans from diverse backgrounds, and promote civic engagement from all communities in the State of Minnesota.
Guidelines and Standards
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of proving a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.
Guide to the Section 508 Standards – US Access Board
The purpose of this technical assistance document is to ensure successful implementation of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
Create Accessible Digital Products – Section508.gov
A collection of best practices and resources for meeting Section 508.
State of Minnesota Accessibility Standard (PDF)
The goal of the Accessibility Standard is to improve the accessibility and usability of information technology products and services for all government end-users in the State of Minnesota. The standard incorporates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Minnesota State Accessible Document Reference Guide: Office 2013 (PDF)
The Office of Accessibility offers a reference guide for the creation of accessible Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. A reference guide for Office 2010 documents (PDF) is also available.
Microsoft Word Accessibility Quick Card (PDF)
A checklist of best practices to help ensure your Word documents are accessible. Use in conjunction with the Minnesota State Accessible Document Reference Guide.
Microsoft PowerPoint Accessibility Quick Card (PDF)
A checklist of best practices to help ensure your PowerPoint documents are accessible. Use in conjunction with the Minnesota State Accessible Document Reference Guide.
Microsoft Excel Accessibility Quick Card (PDF)
A checklist of best practices to help ensure your Excel documents are accessible. Use in conjunction with the Minnesota State Accessible Document Reference Guide.
PDF Accessibility Overview – Adobe
This guide details what is meant by accessibility in the PDF file format. It distinguishes between the accessibility features of the file format, of Adobe Acrobat DC and of the Adobe Acrobat Reader application, and how the features of the software and the file format interact to achieve accessibility for people with disabilities.
Acrobat Pro DC PDF Accessibility Repair Workflow
This guide provides a step-by-step method for analyzing existing PDF files and making them accessible based upon that analysis. This workflow coincides with the workflow provided in the Make Accessible Action wizard and potential issues tested for in the Accessibility Checker tool.
Acrobat Pro DC Accessible Forms and Interactive Documents
This guide describes how to use the forms tools within Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to add descriptions to form fields, tag untagged forms, set the tab order, manipulate tags and perform other PDF accessibility tasks.
Using the Accessibility Checker in Acrobat Pro DC
This guide describes the PDF accessibility checkers that are included in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Even if you generate an accessible PDF file from an authoring application such a word processor or desktop publishing program, you should then follow the steps in this guide in order to identify any items that may have been missed in the initial conversion, or to add PDF accessibility features that were not provided by the authoring tool.
PDF Accessibility Quick Card (PDF)
A checklist of best practices to help ensure your PDF documents created with Adobe Acrobat Pro are accessible.
Email – Office of Accessibility
Tips for creating accessible email.
Outlook 2013 & 2016: Creating Accessible Emails (PDF)
Email is an important communication tool for most of us. One of the unknown factors about email is that we never know who the final recipients of our messages may be. Therefore, we want to be sure that our emails can be read by anyone, including people with disabilities.
Tips on Designing for Web Accessibility
This page introduces some basic considerations to help you get started making your user interface design and visual design more accessible to people with disabilities. These tips are good practice to help you meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements.
Tips on Writing for Web Accessibility
This page introduces some basic considerations to help you get started writing web content that is more accessible to people with disabilities. These tips are good practice to help you meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements.
Tips on Developing for Web Accessibility
This page introduces some basic considerations to help you get started developing web content that is more accessible to people with disabilities. These tips are good practice to help you meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements.
HTML Accessibility – WebAIM
A collection of articles covering various elements of accessible HTML, including:
- Semantic Structure
- Links & Hypertext
- “Skip Navigation” Links
- Alternative Text
- Keyboard Accessibility
Web Accessibility Tutorials – W3C-WAI
This collection of tutorials shows you how to develop web content that is accessible to people with disabilities, and that provides a better user experience for everyone.
How to Meet WCAG 2
A customizable quick reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 requirements (success criteria) and techniques.
Techniques for WCAG 2.0
A collection of techniques–and failures–for meeting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. The techniques listed are only informative; they are not required to meet WCAG 2.0. For important information about techniques, refer to Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria.
Great Lakes Accessible Information Technology Initiative
The Great Lakes Accessible Information Technology (AIT) Initiative, within the Great Lakes Center, provides individuals and organizations with information and resources on Information Technology (IT) and its ease of use to the widest range of end users. They provide technical assistance, education, training, referrals, and materials to individuals and entities that seek information related to information technology accessibility.
Social Media Accessibility
Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad
Created with the input of social media leaders and users across government and the private sector, this living document contains helpful tips, real-life examples and best practices to ensure that your social media content is usable and accessible to all citizens, including those with disabilities.
Accessibility | Facebook
Facebook is committed to creating a great experience for all people. Learn about the built-in features and technologies that help people with disabilities, like vision loss and deafness, to get the most out of Facebook.
Twitter Accessibility (@TwitterA11y)
Dedicated to making Twitter as inclusive as possible.
Accessibility settings – YouTube Help
Help Guide for using YouTube’s accessibility features.
Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions – WebAIM
An overview of the use of captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions in accessible multimedia.
Commercial Services For Producing Audio Description
The American Council of the Blind‘s list of individual, organization, and corporate services that are involved with audio description. The commercial companies typically employ professional audio description personnel who write the description for movies, DVDs, and other media, while the organizations tend to provide audio description services via trained describers for local events.
Testing for Accessibility
The 6 Simplest Web Accessibility Tests Anyone Can Do
A list of six accessibility checks you can perform on a webpage–without needing to know accessibility guidelines or development practices.
Easy Checks: A First Review of Web Accessibility – WAI-W3C
This page helps you start to assess the accessibility of a web page. With these simple steps, you can get an idea whether or not accessibility is addressed in even the most basic way.