Maryland State Web Accessibility Laws

August 8, 2017 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: April 6, 2021


When it comes to an accessible web, many states are implementing their own guidelines in addition to following federal law. In Maryland, they have adopted several web accessibility guidelines that state government web sites must adhere to. The following guidelines pertain to web site design, functionality, and content:

  • Post accessibility policy in footer
  • Employ best practices of universal usability, including handheld devices
  • Usability testing of sites
  • W3C validated
  • Color contrast tested
  • Functionality without images
  • Follow the regulatory standards set forth by the Maryland Information Technology Nonvisual Access (MD IT NVA)

Post Accessibility Policy in Footer

The site’s accessibility policy should be posted on each page of the site, included in the footer of the page. The policy statement should contain contact information for any individual who may have difficulty accessing web pages on the site.

W3C Validated

Web documents are written in a specific computer language such as HTML. The markup validation essentially tests whether a document uses the correct grammar rules for the computer language it uses. Like any language, it is possible to make spelling and grammar errors in HTML, which would prevent the document from being machine-readable, and therefore prevent it from being accessible.

You can easily check the markup validity of Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, etc. by using this simple-to-use validator.

Color Contrast Tested

Based on the WCAG 2.0 Level AA, the minimum requirements for a visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. Exceptions include:

  • Large Text: Large-scale text and images of large-scale text have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1;
  • Incidental: Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that
  • are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.
  • Logotypes: Text that is part of a logo or brand name has no minimum contrast requirement.

Color contrast can be tested easily using tools like WebAIM’s free online color contrast checker.

Functionality Without Images

The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) requires that a text equivalent be provided for all non-text elements including images, video, and other multimedia presentations. For images, alt attributes with a brief description bust be provided. Additionally, all equivalent alternatives for multimedia are required to be synchronized with the presentation. Closed captioning must be included for video presentations that have sound, and audio description must be provided for all visual media content.

Maryland Information Technology Nonvisual Access

Maryland Information Technology Nonvisual Access Regulatory Standards became effective on March 1, 2005.

The MD IT NVA regulations consist of many of the federal regulations outlined in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Some of these regulations have been fully adopted, while others have been partially implemented or paraphrased. In addition to standards included in Section 508, the state of Maryland has included several state-specific regulations that are not part of any federal law. The purpose of the MD IT NVA regulations is to “ensure the nonvisual accessibility of State information technologies to citizens and State employees with visual disabilities.” These rules apply to all agencies and public institutions of higher education in the Executive Branch of State government, with the exception of:

  • Public institutions of higher education solely for academic or research purposes;
  • The Maryland Port Administration;
  • The University System of Maryland;
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland; or
  • Morgan State University.


Learn About Other U.S. State Accessibility Laws

Click on the map below to learn more about captioning and web accessibility laws in other states.

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