Accessible Technology Toolkit

Accessibility Checkers

Create Accessible Documents

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology in Your Devices

Anyone can use assistive technology to make their devices more usable.

Blackboard Ally

Which format should I use?

  • Electronic braille for reading on a braille display
  • Audio MP3 file to listen offline, adjust speech rate, rewind
  • PDF with optical character recognition for scanned documents to copy and paste, make bookmarks, add notes, read or listen to offline
  • PDF with tags for accessibility to read or listen to offline, copy and paste, make bookmarks, add notes,
  • HTML displays better on small screens, adjust font size and color, background color, listen with screen reader
  • ePub read like an e-book on a tablet, adjust font size and color, background color, listen with screen reader, highlight or mark, read or listen offline
  • BeeLine Reader uses font colors to help reading focus, displays well on small screens, can be read offline
  • Translate into over 30 languages


  • CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
  • Choose a visual or audio test to prove you are a human


Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) or real-time captioning is the instant translation of speech into text.

All videos at NIU must have captions.

Introduction to captions, transcripts and audio descriptions

Courseware Accessibility Information


Laws about Technology Accessibility

NIU Technology Accessibility Policies

Purchasing Accessible Technology

Screen Readers

A screen reader is a text-to-speech system that converts digital text into spoken words. People who are blind or have a visual impairment use screen readers as well as people who benefit from hearing content.

Built into operating systems

  • Apple Voiceover - toggle Command F5 to turn on and off
  • Windows Narrator - Windows key > Narrator
  • iPhones VoiceOver - use any of the following methods
    • Use Siri and say “Turn on VoiceOver” or “Turn off VoiceOver.”
    • Triple-click the side button (if you have Face ID).
    • Triple-click the Home button.
    • Go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver, then turn the setting on or off.
  • Android phones - use any of the following methods
    • Press and hold both volume keys on the side of the phone for 3 seconds. To confirm that you want to turn TalkBack on or off, press both volume keys for 3 seconds again.
    • With Google Assistant, say “Hey Google. Turn off TalkBack” or “Turn on TalkBack”
    • Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack

Free screen readers for PCs

Universal Design

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®)

Web Pages

NIU Web and Internal Communications Accessibility Standards.

Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights

OCR Video Series

Basic accessibility for online documents and web applications