All digital content – on websites, in courses, in blogs, everywhere – must be accessible.
Accessibility is not difficult; it requires attention to detail and a bit of patience until you grow accustomed to using heading styles and alt tags. It can, however, be stressful if you feel that you have no idea what needs to be done or how to begin.
Here is what to check for in your courses, whether they are online, hybrid, hy-flex, or brick-and-mortar:
Text and Links:
- All text is in a font size of at least 12 pt.
- Only sans serif fonts are used throughout the content (such as Calibri or Arial).
- All bulleted or ordered lists are designated using the editor toolbar (not dashes from your keyboard).
- Text is not underlined unless it is a hyperlink.
- Hyperlinks use descriptive text to provide meaning and context for links. (Links are not designated with text such as “read more” or “click here.”)
- Text formatting (shape, color, and styling) is not used exclusively to convey information. Example: do not designate “homework assignments are red, quiz due dates are blue”. Instead, use, “homework assignments have red ‘hw’ indicators, quiz due dates have blue “Q” indicators.”
- Headings have been created using heading styles.
- A logical heading structure has been used so that subheadings have been designated and nested appropriately. (Follow an appropriate outline structure with headings.)
- Images do not blink, flash or use sparkling animation.
- All pictures, charts, and graphs that contain information or data also have alternate text or a text description that conveys the same information.
- Images of text have been avoided except where a particular presentation of text as images is essential to the information being conveyed. If that happens, provide a text transcript of the text that is in the image.
- Scanned image PDFs are not used.
- Proper heading styles and structure have been used throughout all documents.
- PowerPoint presentations have been created using templates with master slides.
- Each slide in a deck has a unique title.
- Accessibility checkers in programs such as Word and PowerPoint indicate that the content follows your intended reading order.
- Documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) are formatted and saved as HTML or PDF accessible.
- Tables are used for tabular data, not for layout purposes.
- Complex tables with merged or split cells have been broken down into smaller simple tables.
- Tables include properly identified column and/or row headings.
- Headings repeat on each page
- Course can be navigated with only a keyboard.
- Navigation menu items are consistent throughout the site.
- Text and background color have sufficient contrast on all documents and site pages.
- These color combinations are avoided: red/black, red/green, and blue/yellow.
- Color alone is not used to indicate meaning. Example: You could not have a list of items and state that the items in red are overdue; they must also have a clear “late” indicator other than color.
- All audio content includes transcripts.
- All videos include synchronized, and correct, captions.
Check Your Content:
Once you have completed your course content, here are a few checks you can do to ensure your information is digitally accessible:
- Try navigating your course with your keyboard. Can you do everything you would need to do as a student? Watch this keyboard accessibility video for more information.
- Download a browser extension that will run an accessibility check. WebAIM’s WAVE tool works in Blackboard using Chrome or Firefox.
- For Microsoft Word documents, select “Check Accessibility” to generate a report about the accessibility of your document. Google the version of Word that you are using to get instructions for accessing the tool. Watch this Productivity/Accessibility video from the Office of the Texas Governor for more info.
- For PowerPoint presentations, select the “Outline” view to see the reading order of the text from your PowerPoint. (Using the pre-made PowerPoint templates typically ensures proper reading order.)
- Try to highlight some text within your PDF documents. If it highlights, you’ll also want to see the Adobe Accessibility Report to ensure that the reading order in your document is correct.
- Select the HTML view in your editor toolbar in Blackboard and check the semantic structure of your content. Are all of your headings appropriately identified?
- Use a tool like the Paciello Group’s Colour Contrast Analyser to ensure that you have sufficient contrast between your text and background.
- WCAG 2.1 at a Glance provides a paraphrased summary of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
- WebAIM’s WCAG 2 Checklist
- UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Guidelines
by Digital Ink
For complete text, visit https://www.dgtlnk.com/accessibility/infographic-website-accessibility.
Checklist items are derived from Section 504 and Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, WCAG 2.0 requirements, Office of Civil Rights rulings involving online education, and principles outlined by the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
Interactive checklist at Angelo State University
Website Accessibility Infographic from Digital Ink
Top image from Digital Ink