Accessibility in short is the process of making websites and website content percievable and usable by people with disabilities.

With Georgia Tech receiving federal funding, all colleges, schools, research centers and other departments and divisions of the institute are legally required to adhere to the official accessibility standards defined in Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitaion Act.  These standards define how information is to be presented in websites and other online materials so that users with disabilities can still properly access that information.

As a good starting point for anyone creating web content, the Ivan Allen College has provided a short fifteen minute Accessibility Primer that addresses the most common problems and how to prevent or correct them.  It covers accessibility issues with images, headings, lists, page layouts, navigational aides, and handling audio and video content.  In addition, the WebAIM organization provides simple explanations of the general principles of accessibility.

OIT now has an Accesibility Resources page covering a wider range of IT accessibility beyond just web pages and web applications.

Accessibility Sub-Topics

Accessibility Compliance Resources

Accessibility Compliance Resources

The following list of resources document the accessibility compliance requirements for Georgia Tech websites.  Links are also provided to tutorials for understanding those requirements.

In short, all Georgia Tech websites must follow the Official Section 508 Specifications as prescribed by federal law, but Georgia Tech and University System of Georgia policies may add additional requirements.  As of January of 2018, Section 508 now specifies that the guidelines for accessibility compliance are effectively those outlined in the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  The current version of those guidelines is 2.0, and links to this specification and a guide to understanding it are provided below.

We also have an Accessibility Testing and Tools page, which provides a list of software applications and browser extensions that can aid in checking a website for accessibility compliance.

State and Institute Resources and Policies

Official Section 508 Specifications

General Accessibility Compliance Resources

Accessibility Resources Sub-Topics

CIDI (On Campus Accessibility Organization)

CIDI (On Campus Accessibility Organization)

Center for Inclusive Design & Innovation is a Georgia Tech entity operated by the College of Design that provides accessibility support to the entire University System of Georgia. However, its services are also made available to entities outside of the university system on a subscription basis.

They can help with any accessibility compliance concerns you or your faculty might have.

Using CIDI

Each campus department/unit that wants to use CIDI services has to become a 'member' of CIDI.

The person to talk with is Doug Neal (, who can help a department/unit get enrolled as a CIDI member.

Registration Point of Contacts

Per CIDI's request:

[CIDI recommends] that each school create an account to manage the budget manipulations in order to receive payment for services that we render. Then the school can let [Doug Neal] know who needs access to order when the membership application in completed.

Registration Process

To register, follow the directions below:

  • Open a web browser and navigate to the CIDI Membership page.
  • Fill out the Become a Member form, choose your membership type ( Georgia Board of Regents Post - Secondary) and select Next to view the agreement.
  • Select the check boxes at the bottom, (print for your records) and electronically sign the membership agreement when you submit.
  • CIDI will contact you with login credentials to the ordering system.

Captioning and Transcription Questions

Please see the CIDI captioning and transcription for information about captioning and transcription services.

Accessibility Compliance Tips

Accessibility Compliance Tips esembrat3

This page details tips and best practices for specified accessibility standards for usage on our webpages across campus. 

Please note that you should always check to make sure your content is applicable to the specified changes before incorporating changes below. Don't hesitate to ask a web developer if you have any questions about a remediation effort or an accessibility issue on a website.



The 1194.22(m).1 section relates to applet, plugin, or application boilerplate text present before file uploads of specific types. 

This includes content such as Adobe PDFs, Microsoft PowerPoint, etc.

Footer Link

Websites can meet this requirement by placing a link in the footer of the page linking to a single page highlighting the accessible readers for files on the website.

For a link to the accessible documents disclosure, please see the Accessibility Disclosures for Attached Document Files.

File Types

Appropriate text for declaring accessible readers for file types:

Adobe PDF

Consider using text prior to the PDF link, such as the following:

  • File downloads below contain PDF files. Please note that some more-recent browsers have the ability to download and view PDFs. To download and view PDF files, please download a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader

Microsoft PowerPoint

  • File downloads below contain Microsoft PowerPoint files, which require an application to open. Please note that Microsoft PowerPoint is a paid product, however, free alternatives such as Apache OpenOffice exist to view the file.


Accessibility Testing and Tools

Accessibility Testing and Tools

A list of helpful tools and checklists to make it easier to create and evaluate accessibility.

Accessibility Testing

In addition to the tools listed below, the Office of Information Technology's Enterprise Information Systems department provides on-campus accessibility testing services using a campus licensed copy of Compliance Sheriff.

A note on browser extensions:  These utilities are installed by going to your browser's extension management area (the Web Store in Chrome, or the Add-ons area in Firefox) and searching for and installing the appropriate extension.  Both the WAVE and aXe extensions work by scanning the page you are currently viewing.  aXe works as a panel in the developer tools, while WAVE reopens the page in the browser window with inline notations.  Both can be helpful in identifying exactly where a problem exists in the underlying HTML or CSS code.

Other Tools

Accessible Documents and Files

Accessible Documents and Files esembrat3

This page lists resources for accessibility for files and documents attached to your website.

Accessible Documents and Files Sub-Topics

Accessibility Disclosures for Attached Document Files

Accessibility Disclosures for Attached Document Files

Some document files attached to Georgia Tech website pages may be in a format that requires an additional browser extension or a special application on your computer or device to be able to open them.  The following disclosures describe how to utilize the most commonly found types of files in use at Georgia Tech:

Adobe PDF

Some more-recent web browsers have the ability to download and view PDFs.  If your browser does not have this support, you will need a PDF reader on your computer or device such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files

These document files are produced by the Microsoft Office application.  If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, then your web browser should be able to open these files automatically.  If you do not have Microsoft Office, there are other alternatives including the Apple office applications (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) found on most Macintosh computers, or the free Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

Creating Accessible Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF Documents (Video Tutorial)

Creating Accessible Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF Documents (Video Tutorial) esembrat3

This one hour presentation was provided via Adobe Connect and incorporates a demo of JAWS screen reader accessing a Word document (Demo 1 which begins at timestamp 8:11).

For those who may be new to Adobe Connect:

  • Closed captioning is provided in the Captioning Pod
  • Adobe Connect Accessibility Features
  • The Events Index (visually located on left side of Adobe Connect screen) contains a list of topics covered during the webinar
    • Each topic can be expanded to access direct hyperlinks to that specific section

Courtesy of AccessGA.


The checklists from are available via the USG Accessibility Tutorial, under Training, Intermediate/Advanced and Creating New Content.

June 2017 WAG Meeting - Creating Accessible (Word and PDF) Documents

June 2017 WAG Meeting - Creating Accessible (Word and PDF) Documents

Please see the Web Accessibility Group (WAG) presentation from June 2017 on accessible documents.


There's a recording of the meeting as well as a link to the presenter's slides. The presenter's website has more resources, including information on a book about Accessible PDFs that the presenter wrote.

All About Image Carousels

All About Image Carousels

While carousels are traditionally seen as a good way to squeeze more content into a limited amount of screen space, studies (see Should I Use a Carousel?) show that site visitors are most likely to ignore anything beyond the first slide, and a poorly built carousel can irritate users, leaving them with negative feelings towards your site and your organization.

From an accessibility standpoint, it is possible to build an accessible carousel, but this usually has to be done from scratch, as most popular carousel widgets (e.g. Flexslider) have been unwilling or unable to update their code to make it properly accessible.  If you are interested in building your own carousel system, the AccessIQ tutorial and W3C tutorial will give you a good framework to help you code your system properly.

So, in short, for the time being it's best to avoid carousels whenever possible, especially with Drupal sites, as there is yet to be a really simple, easy to configure carousel system for Drupal.


On-Campus 508 Compliance Testing

On-Campus 508 Compliance Testing

From the Office of Information Technology's EIS Quality Assurance Team:

Presently, the EIS Quality Assurance team provides these value-add services to the Institute, both Load Testing and Compliance Testing, at no charge.  However, if a requester wishes to learn how to use the many tools in our toolkit, our team can work with the requester until they become proficient.  It's more of a consultation and testing service.

The EIS Quality Assurance​ team has access to over 1000+ mobile handsets for testing the responsive design web site approach.

Contact Information

Tutorials on using Compliance Sheriff

Video Captioning and Audio Transcripts

Video Captioning and Audio Transcripts esembrat3

Georgia Tech is legally required to caption any video content and provide transcripts of any audio-only content used on its websites. This includes video and audio content created for academic (classroom) and non-academic (promotional) purposes.

For a list of possible transcription and captioning services and systems, please see our Video Captioning and Audio Transcription page in our Recommended Systems and Services section.