It is imperative that website admins ensure their content is accessible. Borrowing from the Accessibility at Johns Hopkins University website, here are a few quick ways to ensure your website’s content is accessible:

  • All media (video, audio, images) on all pages in your site should have alternative text (alt text) descriptions.
  • All pages should be designed around the principle of distinguishability–easy to read colors, fonts, and buttons.
  • Each page in your site should be fully readable by a screen reader. For most users, this means using headers to break up content (starting with h3), adding alternative text, using simple tables, and avoiding pdfs or making sure pdfs pass accessibility screens.

The Web Services Team reserves the right to edit or remove any content or images that fails the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.1 Level AA conformance.

Image Accessibility

All images must contain alt text to satisfy accessibility requirements. These describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Images that do not have alternative text descriptions will be removed without notice.

  • Images with embedded text are not accessible. You should not use text in an image to get your message across, as the content will be too long to add to an alternative text field. Do not add these type of images.
  • Images that are missing alternative text descriptions will have a red dashed box around them when viewing the page logged in. An example of both the type of image to not post, and what the alt text warning looks like:
a screenshot of a website with an image of a silhouette, but the image has red dotted lines around it

Learn how to add alternative text in our Images section.

Interested in what a screen reader sounds like? Check out this demo video from Siteimprove to understand why things like headings and alternative text are needed.


PDFs of scanned book pages or posters, and other PDFS that are not machine-readable, are accessibility violations because a screen reader cannot read the words on the page. Making a document machine-readable allows users to search the contents of the PDF, and copy and paste its text. It also enables screen-reader users to access the content.

We suggest reading WebAIM’s tutorial on PDF Accessibility in addition to following these tips to create accessible PDFs.

Johns Hopkins also offers a useful, detailed training on creating accessible event flyers and announcements, availably to anyone with a JHED id.

Create Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Word Documents or PowerPoint

Create Accessible PDFs from Scanned Documents

  • This requires Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is available on most computers.
  • Open your non-editable PDF document in Acrobat Pro and click on the “Tools” option. In the sidebar, select Text Recognition and then select “In This File”. Click ok on modal popup.
  • Save file and replace it on your website

Enabling password protection on a pdf file is not allowed due to quality assurance and accessibility issues. Users should place sensitive and secure documents on a University IT-approved tool, and set appropriate permissions therein.

Note: The KSAS Web Team reserves the right to remove PDFs that are not machine-readable or have passwords without notice.

PDF Uploads in Forms

Because all Krieger Web Properties are on a public web server, they are indexable by google and other search engines. Therefore admins should not create forms with fields that require or request file uploads that may violate FERPA, HIPAA, or other privacy laws. These files include unofficial transcripts, health records, or any other sensitive information. It is the responsibility of the form-builder to capture that information more securely, either directly or via another form builder solution.