Digital Accessibility

This page highlights common questions about web accessibility. You may also want to read my eBook on Digital Accessibility [PDF]. The University also has an Assistive Technology Center and an Accessibility website. The Accessbility website includes links to testing tools and easy checks for web accessiblity. Another reference is the UMass Libraries Digital and Accessibility Resources.

Take it a step further. Join the UMass Amherst Accessibility & Inclusion Microsoft Team


Only use tables for columns or rows of data and not for layout purposes. Remember screen readers will read the HTML code that makes up the table. One of the best resources on tables and accessibility is from WebAim: Creating Accessible Tables.

Images & Alt Text

I really like this explanation on images and alt text: 3 Questions to Help Decide If an Image Doesn't Need Alt Text.

Is your PDF an Image of Text? Convert it.

Make sure your PDF is not an image of text. Not sure how to tell? Do this:

How to Convert an Image of Text into Text

Lucky for us, you may use a free tool to convert it.

  1. Use this web based Document Conversion tool:
  2. Upload your fiile.
  3. Select document conversion.
  4. The converted document is returned via e-mail as an attachment.
  5. You will need to edit the file before it is saved to an accessible PDF.

Video Captions

Your video must have accurate captions. Video captioning is one of the University requirements for accessibility, and it it the right thing to do.

One of the most interesting informative sites I've visited is The Complete Guide to Captioned Videos written by Meryl Evans who described herself as "profoundly deaf." The other resource is Closed Captioning from the UMass Brand Guide on Video Recording Tips.

Charts and Accessibility

Learn how to make your charts and graphs accessible. Don't rely on color alone to convey your message. Get help at Charts and Accessibility from Penn State University. 

As an example, visit the Budget website's planning calendar. Notice that the sidebar tells the visitor that "The timeline is shown in the image and also detailed below the image." A detailed description of the timeline is below the image, because we cannot rely on color to convey information. The text makes it accessible to everyone. 


Everyone loves cheatsheets. Use NCDA's (National Center for Disability and Access to Education) cheatsheets.

Penn State: An Excellent Site for Web Accessibility Help

Penn State has great resources. Visit Accessibility and Usability at Penn State.  Includes Software and Accessbility including making a PDF accessible.


Browse through the resources above, and you will learn. You may also use LinkedIn Learning - available for free to University employees.

Contact Me

You may contact me, Joanne Patalano, Web Developer, AFIT, at

This page last updated: 2/4/2022