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It is important to make sure that your documents are accessible to as many people as possible.


For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see

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Please write reports and other  research documentation with accessibility in mind. For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see

titleClick to view TxDOT University Handbook requirements...

University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 6 Section 1:

Each university shall provide electronic deliverables that meet federal requirements for digital accessibility (WCAG 2.0 Level AA), particularly alternative text for images, to allow for easy conversion for online, public publication and access meeting legal requirements. If the University does not have the resources to publish an approved deliverable in accordance with RTI’s instructions, the University may contact RTI to discuss potential options. TxDOT may opt to publish the deliverable, using TxDOT or other resources.

University Handbook, 2022, Chapter 1 Section 1:

This handbook, TxDOT’s Research Manual, and the CRIA agreed to with each University, provide an overview and governs certain aspects of the Research Program. Other sources of contractual guidance include individual Project Agreements and Federal Law. Federal Law shall be considered the highest authority should any conflicts arise between these documents. This handbook provides the framework and policies under which Universities may participate in the Research Program and establishes the procedures that implement the policies expressed in the Research Manual. By signing a CRIA, each University, or University system, agrees to TxDOT procedures related to the Research Program, and this handbook presents some of those procedures.

titleExpand to read State of Texas' legal requirement for Texas state agencies and universities....

Excerpt from Texas Department of Information Resources :

State agencies and institutions of higher education are required to comply with Texas EIR Accessibility statutes and rules to provide accessibility. 

  • TGC 2054.451, enacted in 2005, requires that all state agencies and institutions of higher education, provide state employees and members of the public access to and use of electronic information resources. 

  • 1 TAC 206, aligns state web accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • 1 TAC 213 enacted state standards for procurement, development, or usage of EIR for people with disabilities and also aligns accessibility standards with the federal regulations set forth in Section 508.

titleClick to see references to University of Texas accessibility requirements

UT Web Publishing

If your website is used by all of the students at a university, an inaccessible website could put the university at risk for a lawsuit

UTS 150 Access by Persons with Disabilities to Electronic and Information Resources Procured or Developed by The University of Texas System Administration and The University of Texas System Institutions

Sec. 2 Compliance: The U. T. System Administration and all U. T. System institutions must comply with the DIR Accessibility Rules when developing, procuring, maintaining, or using EIRs....

...Definitions: Electronic and Information Resources (EIRs) - defined by statute and rule to include...Internet websites - please note that such websites include, but are not limited to, “state websites”, defined as websites that are owned, operated by or for, or funded by a Texas institution of higher education, and including both ► the home page (the initial page or entry point to a state website), and ► any key public entry points (i.e., web pages that are specifically designed for members of the general public to access official information, including the governing or authoritative documents, from the institution of higher education); multimedia resources... electronic and information resource services provided through hosted or managed services contracts; any of the above EIRs that are developed, procured, or changed by a contractor of a State agency or an institution of higher education, if the contract either requires the use of such EIRs or requires the contractor to use such EIRs, to a significant extent, in performing a service or furnishing a product...

"Print to PDF" will strip out all accessibility tags


previously added in MS Office applications. Instead, use "Export" or "Save As PDF


" when converting your document.

Table of Contents

General Resources

Consult with your research unit's Technical Editor to ensure that you are using the most up-to-date report and technical memo templates that are designed to use accessible styles and reduce the amount of remediation that will be needed before publishing.


Accessible Tables: A PowerPoint presentation by Michael Molina, Oklahoma DOT, June 9, 2021.

Avoid inserting a table as an image. For TRB paper submissions, inserting a table as an image is grounds for an automatic desk rejection.If inserting a table as an image, it must be given alt-text just like any other image. Images containing text must contain–verbatim–all of the text contained in the image unless the image is redundant to the surrounding text. A non-sighted reader must be able to obtain the exact information that a sighted reader can.

Alternative Text for images and objects

Non-text content (images including photos, charts, graphs, Smart Art and most equations) must include alt text that screen readers can use to describe the content. This alt-text is not visible to most people, but will be read when people are using the "Read Aloud" feature and is used by search engines when indexing online documents.

titleTip for multi-component charts, graphs, equations, or Smart Art graphics

If the Word accessibility checker is flagging multiple parts of your image as requiring alt-text, make a screenshot of your figure and re-insert it as a single image so that alt-text can be added to describe the whole image instead of each individual component (e.g., chart lines, arrows, photo collages, photos with overlay drawings, etc). Before replacing your figure with a screenshot, save your original document in case you need to make edits to the figure in the future.

Adding Alt-Text in MS Word

Option 1, run the accessibility checker and toggle through the list of objects that need alt-text:
screenshot of MS Word accessibility checker flgging on image for missing alt-textImage Added

title"But I don't have that button in MS Word...."

You can customize your Review ribbon by right-clicking on the ribbon

screenshot of selecting the option to customize MS Word ribbonsImage Added

screenshot of MS Word ribbon customization optionsImage Added

Option 2, right-click on the image and select "Edit Alt Text":
screenshot of MS Word , left-click on image optionsImage Addedscreenshot of MS word screen to enter alt-textImage Added

Accessible Math

Calculations, equations, formulas, and special characters used to convey scientific or mathematical concepts need to be read accurately by screen readers. There are a few different methods for creating accessible equations.

Color Contrast

Color contrast between background and text must be compliant to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards, at a minimum. See A11y Color Palette, WebAIM Contrast Checker, Paciello Group's Colour Contrast Analyser.


To test color contrast, you need the exact value for each color used. If testing colors that are on a website, try a color picker browser add-on to find this value. For desktop applications, free software such as Paciello Group's free Colour Contrast Analyser may help.


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  • Graph design, color, and accessibility

Make sure that graphs and other images do not rely solely on color to convey information. If necessary, use online tools such as Coblis or Sim Daltonism to test your images.

titleExample of graphs accessibility



Chart design, color, and accessibility

Even if you are color-coding charts, make sure values or labels are included with each bar for screen readers. If the color differences are significant to understanding the chart, make sure that they have sufficient color contrast and difference in darkness for a colorblind user to interpret.

titleExample of chart accessibility

Example 1. The below bar chart includes labels on each bar. Color contrast needs to be checked to make sure that there is enough contrast between the white text (foreground) and the red, orange, blue, and gray bars (background). In addition, if the bar colors are significant and correspond with a key, then the contrast between each bar color also needs to be checked.

  • Image Modified
  • Checked on the Coblis free online colorblindness simulator. In this case, for readers with monochromacy, there is little to no difference between the orange and the gray bars. The difference between the red and the blue bars could also be easily confused.
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  • To check the foreground (text) against the background (bar), check review the color codes on WebAIM's Contrast Checker or other tool.Image Removed

    To test color contrast, you need the exact value for each color used. If testing colors that are on a website, try a color picker browser add-on to find this value. For desktop applications, free software such as Paciello Group's free Colour Contrast Analyser may help