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.

IT Accessibility Initiative Accessibility Resource Guide


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: 

This is a demonstration of how a native screen reader user navigates a website and what feedback they expect and need.  Matt Hackert, our IT Accessibility Program Specialist, is a native screen reader user and will show the differences in experience on an accessible site versus an inaccessible website along with some real world examples.  


For Government

Need Support?

Dear state employee, to request assistance from our team, please utilize the DoIT Service Desk: email us at or call DoIT Service Desk on 410-697-9700.

Procurement Support

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 and our team are available to assist procurement staff as they go through the procurement process.

Non-Visual Guidance Procurement Document

Guidance note, when an RFP is being developed it is important to include a note that states the following “It is vital that the respective IT solution does not require or rely on partnered software (plugin or 'overlay') to make the original IT solution accessible this applies to products being built from the ground up, Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), Modifiable off-the-shelf (MOTS), and Government off-the-shelf (GOTS).

VPAT Template

Sample Accessibility Conformance Report

Accessibility Quick CardsFor quick reference, these quick cards have tips and methods on how to make different types of documents and media accessible for online distribution.

​Microsoft Word
Microsoft Outlook
​Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Excel
​Adobe Acrobat Pro
Social Media
Static Maps
Interactive Web Maps
Map Design

Maryland Statewide Video Accessibility Guidelines
IT Accessibility Glossary

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) (World Wide Web Consortium)

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.

Please feel free to visit our YouTube Channel to learn more about digital accessibility.

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.   



​June 26, 2024 - 1:00 p.m. EST
Accessible Mapping
​July 17, 2024 - 1:00 p.m. EST

Writing for Accessibility: Alt Text, Links, and More

​August 14, 2024 - 1:00 p.m. EST
The Ease of Access Explained
​September 18, 2024 - 1:00 p.m EST

​ Office Document Accessibility

​October 16, 2024 - 1:00 p.m. EST

Mobile Accessibility Features

​Pre-Recorded Session
Document Accessibility 101
​Pre-Recorded Session
Web Accessibility 101
Pre-Recorded Session
Web Accessibility 102
​Pre-Recorded Session
​Comcast Tech Accessibility Webinar

Contact Us

MDOD Accessibility Support Staff 

Stephen Polacek
Director of IT Accessibility Policy and Programs
Phone Number: 410-554-9481

IT Accessibility Program Specialist
Phone Number: 410-554-9552