CBE Intranet

IT Accessibility Initiative

The University of Washington is committed to accessibility — making our websites, videos, newsletters and other electronic communication accessible to users with vision, hearing, mobility and other issues.

Washington State Policy # 188 – Accessibility (2017) requires state agencies to make their “covered technology” (websites, web applications, software systems, electronic documents, E-learning, multimedia and programmable user interfaces) compliant with Washington State Standard 188.10 – Minimum Accessibility Standard (2016). Part of the policy directs agencies to develop a compliance plan and identify an IT accessibility coordinator. The University of Washington’s IT Accessibility Initiative addresses this policy, along with related requirements derived from Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

A great deal of information is available at the IT Accessibility Initiative site and, more broadly, at the Accessibility Resources Services entry UW-IT’s Service Catalog.  The IT Accessibility Checklist & Tutorial page is particularly helpful.

Help for Common Cases


Add descriptive text to the “Alt Text” box when inserting an image into a web page. This allows a screen reader application to describe the image to someone who can’t see it.


Web pages are more easily made accessible than Word documents or PDFs, so if you can provide your document as a web page, that would be best from an accessibility perspective. Having said that, the Creating Accessible Documents page on the Accessibility Initiative site has suggestions for things you can do to make Word documents or PDFs more accessible.

A quick way to do a first pass at converting a document to a more accessible form is to use UW-IT’s Document Conversion Service. Please note that your resulting document will almost certainly need some cleanup after conversion – this service is not a complete solution for accessibility.


Suggestions for captioning, audio description, transcript creation, along with guidance for choosing an accessible media player are available at the Initiative’s Creating Accessible Videos page.