Wednesday, November 22, 2017

10 Do’s & Don’ts for Creating Accessible School Websites

contains wheelchair, closed captioning, magnifying glass
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law most known for protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. It also gives them the right to a reasonable accommodation. This includes making all public-facing content accessible to them. In more and more places, this refers to website content as well. For example, as of 2016, New York City has local law 26. It requires that the City of New York make its websites accessible to the disability community.

Like New York City, more and more school districts are realizing that serving everyone is the right thing to do. By making sites accessible we include people of all education levels, who speak many languages, and have varying physical abilities. 

At the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit on Diversity Matters, educators discussed the following do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to help ensure school websites are accessible.


  1. Follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines  so it is accessible for all audiences: Blind, deaf, languages other than English, etc
  2. Start with clear and easily understood content at a 6 - 9 grade reading level 
  1. To make it scannable, follow headline sequence regardless of aesthetics i.e. Heading 1, 2
  2. Add descriptions for all non-text content  (i.e. images, audio, video).
  1. Make it convenient for parents to find the information they’re looking for i.e. school schedule, lunch menu, staff, contact info


  1. Use color to convey meaning (like red for bad and green for good)
  2. Label hyperlinks with “click here” or “read more. Instead, create hyperlinks by describing where—or to what—they are linking
  3. Use PDFs
  4. Put text into an image—it cannot be read, nor translated  
  5. Use tables for anything other than tabular data (columns and rows of numbers)  

What do you think? Are you keeping these considerations in mind for your school website? What are some ways you might get started?

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