Create Accessible Course Content
Planning for accessibility in your course materials is much easier than you might imagine. And by following a few accessibility guidelines, you can ensure that all students in your course are able to access your content and experience the rich learning experience you have planned for them. Use the following guidelines when creating new materials and revising existing materials that you have used in previous terms.
Use Semantic Structure, Style and Tags
- Organize your content by using true headings (i.e. Heading 1, Heading 2, or <H1>, <H2>, etc. The document title should be the first-level heading.
- Use true bulleted and numbered lists, rather than using the tab key, as screen readers cannot interpret tabs.
- Use strongstyle (or <strong>) instead of bold and emphasis (or <em>) instead of italics, as screen readers do not understand bold and italics.
- Long documents should contain a Table of Contents – which is easy to create when using proper Heading tags.
- Use simplest language appropriate for your content.
- Convert large blocks of text to smaller, more manageable text.
- Avoid using long, complex sentences.
- Use a sans-serif font (like Arial or Helvetica) in 12 point.
- Abbreviations or jargon may confuse the reader.
- Avoid the use of ALL CAPS, which can make text difficult to read.
- Check grammar and spelling.
Use Descriptive Hyperlinks
- Use link text that describes the destination.
- Avoid using Click Here text.
- Avoid URLs as link text.
Provide Alternative Text
- Use alternative text (the <alt> tag) to describe images, graphics and pictorial data.
- If image is solely decorative, use the null feature of tool or "" when using HTML.
- For assistance in describing complex images or diagrams, see suggestions and tools at Diagram Center.
Avoid Color Coding
- Do not convey information solely by color.
- Highlighting of text is not accessible.
Use Sufficient Color Contrast
- Use sufficient color contrast between text and background.
- Avoid backgrounds with distracting patterns or that interfere with text.
- Use the Colour Contrast Analyser Tool by the Paciello Group to test for color contrast.
Adobe PDF Documents
- Start with an accessible document before converting to PDF. On a Mac, use OpenOffice to convert a word document to PDF to ensure accessibility.
- Scanned images of text are not accessible; use OCR before converting to PDF.
- Use font that allows characters to be extracted to text.
- Make forms interactive by allowing values to be entered into fields and defining a tab order.
- Use hyperlinks, bookmarks, headings and a table of contents to make navigation accessible.
- Identify document language and title.
- Ensure security features do not interfere with text being available to screen readers.
- Use document structure tags and alternative text descriptions of non-text elements.
- Use sans serif fonts (like Arial, Helvetica or Calibri).
- White space is your friend.
- Use punctuation at the end of each line.
- Use simple language.
- Use <alt> tag for images.
- Use high contrast templates.
- Use colorful borders instead of colorful text.
Video and Multimedia
- Add narration with captions/transcript.
- Avoid auto-play feature.
Use available automated accessibility checkers available with software programs and also manual checklists to ensure your web-based content is accessible.