Essential for some, useful for all

CCBC is committed to ensuring that web content is available to and usable by everyone, including users with disabilities.

When developing online content we must consider:

  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Learning differences
  • Mobility
  • Time restrictions
  • Computer security
  • Available software applications
  • Mobile devices
  • Assistive technologies


ADA compliance

ADA compliance is the process of abiding by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) »

Section 504

Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 ensures that a student with a disability has equal access to an education. The student may receive accommodations and modifications.

Learn more about Section 504 »

Section 508

Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal law mandating that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

Learn more about Section 508 »

Universal design

Universal design (also known as inclusive design) is the process of designing products and services to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. Universally designed products accommodate individual preferences and abilities; communicate necessary information effectively (regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities); and can be approached, reached, manipulated, and used regardless of the individual's body size, posture, or mobility. Application of universal design principles minimizes the need for assistive technology, results in products compatible with assistive technology, and makes products more usable by everyone, not just people with disabilities.

Learn more about universal design »

Digital accessibility

Digital materials must be in a format that individuals with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with in the same manner as individuals without disabilities.

Learn more about digital accessibility at CCBC »

Web accessibility

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

Learn more about web accessibility »

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines covers a wide range of international standards for making web content accessible.

Learn more about WCAG 2.1 »
Learn to write for web accessibility »
Learn to design for web accessibility »
Learn to program for web accessibility »

Screen reader

Screen readers are software applications that convey display content via non-visual means, like text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille device. A screen reader is a form of assistive technology (AT) which is essential to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. 

Assistive technology software supported by CCBC
  • NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) – text-to-speech
  • ZoomText – enlarges text on a screen
  • JAWS – text-to-speech
  • Kurzweil 3000 – text-to-speech
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking – speech-to-text

PDF accessibility

A document or application is considered accessible if meets certain technical criteria and can be used by people with disabilities. This includes access by people who are mobility impaired, blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, or who have cognitive impairments. Accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and in the Portable Document Format (PDF) make it easier for people with disabilities to use PDF documents and forms, with and without the aid of assistive technology software and devices such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, alternative input devices, Braille embossers, and refreshable Braille displays.

Learn more about PDF accessibility standards »

Video accessibility

Videos should be produced and delivered in ways that ensure that all members of the audience can access their content. An accessible video includes captions and audio description and is delivered in an accessible media player. For live events simulcast over the web, live captioning is required to provide access to the audio content for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing. Similarly, live audio descriptions may be needed if key visual content will otherwise not be verbalized, such as in a dramatic production.

Learn more about video accessibility »

CCBC Courses

With approval from your supervisor, CCBC employees may participate in a variety of onsite and online digital accessibility courses.

Department of Online Learning

Training for CCBC faculty and staff
  • Digital Accessibility MS Word (OLPD 131) — Microsoft Office Word has many helpful tools that makes creating accessible documents much easier for content creators. In this course you will learn how to utilize these tools, as-well-as learn some basic formatting techniques to create an accessible document that you can then save as an accessible PDF. This course is offered both face-to-face and online. The instructor lead face-to-face session is a two hour class. The self-directed online version can take up to 4 hours to complete. View the course training guide (SharePoint access required) »
  • Digital Accessibility MS PowerPoint (OLPD 164) - Microsoft Office PowerPoint has many helpful tools that makes creating accessible presentations much easier for content creators. In this course you will learn how to utilize these tools, as-well-as learn some basic formatting techniques to create an accessible presentation that you can then save as an accessible PDF. This course is offered both face-to-face and online. The instructor lead face-to-face session is a 2-hour class. The self-directed online version can take up to 4 hours to complete. Prerequisite: Basic Microsoft Office skills
  • Digital Accessibility MS Excel (OLPD 169) - Microsoft Office Excel has many helpful tools that makes creating accessible workbooks much easier. In this course you will learn how to utilize these tools, as-well-as learn some basic formatting techniques to create an accessible worksheet that you can then save as an accessible PDF. This course is offered both face-to-face and online. The instructor lead face-to-face session is a 2 hour class. The self-directed online version can take up to 4 hours to complete. Prerequisite: Basic Microsoft Office skills
  • Content Accessibility Clinic - The Content Accessibility Clinic is for those in need of one-on-one assistance with specific issues/questions that need some additional guidance. If you are currently working on creating digital content that must be accessible such as a document, PDF, spreadsheet, presentation or a closed caption video the facilitator will assist in guiding you in completing the task. Prerequisite(s): ITOR 152 or OLPD 131
Register Online »

A condensed version of OLPD 131 is also available during CCBC's Professional Development Conference, Teaching and Learning Conference, Winter Adjunct Conference and Fall Focus. This one-hour version includes a brief overview with one hands-on exercise.

School of Business, Technology, and Law

Training for CCBC students, faculty and staff
  • CSIT 121 (Web Standards) — Introduces common Web Standards as recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium. Topics include HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, and WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative.) The course emphasizes the important role standards play in Web Site development. Students learn how to use these standards to create and structurally mark-up web pages. NOTE: Course offered fall, spring, and may be offered during additional sessions. (3 credits)

Register Online »

School of Continuing Education

Training for CCBC students, faculty and staff
  • PCP 245 (Intermediate CSS and XHTML) — This course provides instruction on intermediate CSS and XHTML web design techniques. Topics to be covered include: document trees, cascading, CSS style rules, CSS floats, semantic markup, elastic navigation bars, drop-down menus, and accessibility design. (Ed2Go online course)

Register Online »

College Communications Department

Training for CCBC faculty and staff Registration is no longer available. This workshop series was hosted in partnership with Instructional Technology.

We trained 68 web content collaborators, contributors and owners in 8 months.
Thank you for your support! The 17 training sessions were enlightening and action packed with information. This training was phased out in May 2019. Also, Siteimprove Academy tutorials were phased out in January 2023. Tutorials

CCBC students, faculty and staff are encouraged to explore’s vast array of web and PDF accessibility tutorials—all free for Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard county residents. Use your library card number (bar code) and pin to login.

Creating Accessible PDFs

This course walks you through how to take an existing PDF file and remediate it for users of assistive software. You will also learn how to create accessible PDFs from scratch—one in Word and one in InDesign—with some special considerations for Excel and PowerPoint.

Additional topics include what is accessibility, the screen reader experience, setting up Adobe Acrobat DC, tagging content, adding metadata, bookmarks and alt text, controlling tags and reading order and adding hyperlinks.

Login to to view this tutorial »

Advanced Accessible PDFs

This course covers adding advanced features to your document such as security, form fields and links, while keeping the PDF accessible and compliant. You will also learn how to work with tables and create PDF forms.

Login to to view this tutorial »

PDF Accessibility Requirements


  1. Apply text alternative to images with the Alt entry in PDF documents.
  2. Create bookmarks in PDF documents.
  3. Ensure correct tab and reading order in PDF documents.
  4. Hide decorative images with Artifact tag in PDF documents.
  5. Indicate required form controls in PDF forms.
  6. Use table elements for table markup in PDF documents.
  7. Perform OCR on a scanned PDF document to provide actual text.
  8. Provide definitions for abbreviations via an E entry for a structure element.
  9. Provide headings by marking content with heading tags in PDF documents.
  10. Provide labels for interactive form controls in PDF documents.
  11. Provide links and link text using the Link annotation and the /Link structure element in PDF documents.
  12. Provide name, role, value information for form fields in PDF documents.
  13. Provide replacement text using the /Alt entry for links in PDF documents.
  14. Provide running headers and footers in PDF documents.
  15. Provide submit buttons with the submit-form action in PDF forms.
  16. Set the default language using the /Lang entry in the document catalog of a PDF document.
  17. Specify consistent page numbering for PDF documents.
  18. Specify the document title using the Title entry in the document information dictionary of a PDF document.
  19. Specify the language for a passage or phrase with the Lang entry in PDF documents.
  20. Use Adobe Acrobat Pro’s Table Editor to repair miss tagged tables.
  21. Use List tags for lists in PDF documents.
  22. Indicate when user input falls outside the required format or values in PDF forms.
  23. Provide interactive form controls in PDF documents.

Source: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

Best Practices

  1. Write — Write clear and concise content. Write meaningful text alternatives for images. Label all images and table column headers. Use headings to convey meaning and structure. Tips for writing for web accessibility »

  2. Design — Design the PDF with accessibility in mind. Provide sufficient contrast between foreground and background. Clearly identify interactive elements. Don’t use color along to convey information. Use headings and spacing to group related content. Design for different viewpoints (sizes). Tips for designing for web accessibility »

  3. Develop — For interactive documents, ensure that all interactive elements are keyboard accessible. Help users avoid and correct mistakes. Include alternative text for images and multimedia. Associate a label with every form control. Write code that adapts to the user’s technology. Tips for developing for web accessibility »

  4. Test — Use the Microsoft Word accessibility checker. Carefully review the inspection results and repair any issues. Test the PDF with assistive technology. Download NVDA screen reader software »

  5. Share — Save as an unlocked PDF. Upload the PDF to the CCBC website. Sitecore video tutorials: upload a new PDF » and replace an existing PDF »


PDF Compliance Phases
  • PDF accessibility training
    • Summer 2018: Web Management Team
    • Fall 2018: College Communications, Institutional Advancement, and Administrative Services
    • Spring 2019: Enrollment and Student Services, Instruction, President and Trustees
  • Beginning July 1, 2019 all new PDFs uploaded to the Sitecore Media Library must adhere to level A standards of WCAG 2.1.
  • Previously uploaded PDFs will be addressed in phases.
Page Groupings Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Summer 2019 Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Summer 2020
Sitecore Resources X
Enrollment and Student Services X X X
Instruction X X X
Administrative Services X X
President and Trustees X X
Institutional Advancement X X
SmartReach X X
events X X
news X X
Common Course Outlines X X X X X
Articulation Agreements X X
(orphan) X X X X
orphan = unassigned PDFs; PDFs without a web content contributor or owner