News and Information

Statewide IT Accessibility Initiative


What is the IT Accessibility Initiative?

The Maryland Department of Disabilities Information Technology (IT) Accessibility Initiative supports state agencies to meet Maryland's Non-Visual Access standards. The IT Accessibility Initiative's purposes are to improve policies and practices in state IT procurement and ensure equal access to state agency information technology for citizens with disabilities  

The IT Accessibility Initiative staff provide the following supports and services:

  • Evaluations of technology platforms
  • Consultation  
  • Technical assistance
  • Information technology accessibility training

Concern about a State Website 

To report an accessibility concern that pertains to a state website or application, please fill out the Information Technology (IT) Accessibility Concern Form.


Our Services

  • Consultative support to all state agencies in the areas of digital accessibility and accessible IT procurement
  • Training offered on document accessibility, website accessibility and accessible IT procurement
  • Snapshot accessibility testing of state websites
  • Internships and mentoring of future accessibility professionals


What is Digital Accessibility?

The term 'digital accessibility' can be defined as the ability of a website, mobile application (app) or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by users with and without disabling conditions including visual, auditory, motor or cognition.


Website Accessibility

Accessible information and technology enhance usability for all Marylanders and it is essential that websites available to our community are presented in a manner that is accessible to everyone. Websites that have not been designed with accessibility in mind may prevent users with disabilities from accessing some or all of the content within the site. The following webpage focuses on ensuring non-visual access to the web. 

The following video contains important guidelines that are strongly recommended for implementation on all websites: 


Nonvisual Access 

On March 1, 2005, Maryland Information Technology Nonvisual Access (MD IT NVA) Regulatory Standards became effective. 

Compliance with the standards is mandatory in the procurement of information technologies, and the provision of information technology services. Except for information technologies incidental to a contract, where technologies simply do not exist, or compliance is cost prohibitive, all information technologies, including services that are procured, used, maintained, developed or provided by or on behalf of non-exempt units of the Executive Branch of State government will be non-visually accessible. In developing the MD IT NVA regulations, the State has adopted or paraphrased many, but not all of the federal regulations commonly referred to as Section 508*. In addition, Maryland has adopted several IT NVA regulations that are not found in federal regulations. 
 

General Accessibility Resources 

Some basic elements for an accessible webpage:

    • Include a text equivalent description for every image or figure ("alternative text")
    • Use text-based file types for documents such as:.txt,.htm, and .rtf versus utilizing PDF image files that may be read as a picture
    • Provide controls for users to select the colors that they can see best on web pages
    • Include captions or transcription for all video content
    • Include a "Skip to Main Content" link at the top of each webpage
    • Properly assign titles and headers to ensure your webpage is formatted with a structure that allows for easier navigation to the content pages
    • Remove parallax images, minimize blinking or otherwise distracting visual features
    • Online forms should include tags to describe fields (and alternative options for completion available such as printable forms or in-person completion)
    • Clear visual notifications for any sounds that play automatically
    • use an accessibility checker tool prior to publishing new content

For more information about creating or maintaining accessible web page content, please refer to the following web links: 

The following links will also further support website accessibility:

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) 

W3C.org (World Wide Web Consortium)


Information Technology Procurement

Our team provides training and consultative support to any state agency that is looking to make a purchase of software, mobile app or web-based application that will be forward-facing for the constituents of Maryland.  Accessible information technology procurement is covered under COMAR 14.33.02.01-.12 and our team are available to assist procurement staff as they go through the procurement process.


Document Accessibility

It is imperative that all content authors create accessible documents.  Documents created using traditional word processors like MS Word can quickly and easily create accessible documents.  It is possible to remediate existing documents and make them accessible but it can be extremely labor-intensive.  We strongly encourage content creators to author all documents from in a manner that is accessible for all.  To learn how to create accessible documents.



Training Calendar

Participants of our webinars earn 1 Continuing Accessibility Education Credit (CAEC) for each hour attended through the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) towards professional credentials renewal.  For additional information about the IAAP or their Continuing Accessibility Education program requirements, go to the IAAP website.   

DATE

SESSION

11/18/2020

​Document Accessibility with NFB Center of Excellence in Non-Visual Access

12/16/2020
​Website Accessibility 102



Contact Us

MDOD Accessibility Support Staff 

Andrew Drummond
Information Technology Accessibility Coordinator
Phone Number: 410-554-9552

Stephen Polacek
Information Technology Accessibility Evaluator
Phone Number: 410-554-9553

John Nweke
Information Technology Accessibility Intern
Phone Number: 410-554-9554