Accessibility Resources for Digital Materials
Digital materials posted or linked in an online course should utilize the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and reflect a commitment to accessibility, ensuring all learners can access all course content and activities and can easily navigate and interact with course components.
On this page you will find resources for:
Accessible Text and Image Guidelines
Text and images used in an online course should be accessible to all learners. The use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines regarding text and images reduces barriers to access so all learners can interact with course content.
Note: All recommendations listed below refer to text and images in all files, documents, LMS pages, and webpages.
- Images: All images that convey meaning must include Alt text. The alt text provides the content in an alternative text-based format which can be read aloud by a screen reader. If an image is merely decorative (non-essential to understanding the content and purpose), it should be marked as decorative, and the Alt text is left empty or null.
- Tables: All tables should be set up as text and not embedded as images. Tables should not be presented as screen captures. Tables should be set up with headings for columns and rows and used only for summarizing data, not for formatting. Tables should have captions, alt-text or alt-tags, and be formatted so that headings repeat.
- Headings: Titles, headings, etc. should be formatted using styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) found in the word processing software (such as Word) or in the formatting toolbar on webpages. Do not merely utilize a larger or bold or italic font. A logical heading hierarchy should be used to show the relationship between main headings and subheadings.
- Lists: Lists should be bulleted (unordered) or numbered (ordered) and convey a hierarchical content structure.
- PDF Files: PDF files that contain text must not be image scans. All text contained in PDF files should be selectable and searchable.
- Color: Text colors alone should not be relied on to convey meaning. The meaning should also be conveyed in another way that does not require perceiving different colors. For example, if the colors red and blue were removed from the list below, the members of teams, Tiger and Cardinal, can still be deciphered.
- Underlined Text: Text should NOT be underlined unless the text is a hyperlink. Underlining is reserved to indicate navigation.
Creating Accessible Microsoft Word Documents:
Whether you are creating a Word document or publishing a PDF that started in Word, it is best to ensure that the original Word document is accessible when you create it or edit the document for accessibility before publishing as a PDF.
Creating Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations:
Whether you are creating a PowerPoint presentation or publishing a PDF that started in PowerPoint, it is best to ensure that the original PowerPoint presentation is accessible when you create it or edit the presentation for accessibility before publishing as a PDF.
Creating Accessible Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets:
Whether you are creating an Excel spreadsheet or publishing a PDF that started in Excel, it is best to ensure that the original Excel file is accessible when you create it or edit the file for accessibility before publishing as a PDF.
Creating Accessible PDF Files:
If publishing a document as a PDF file such as a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation, it is best to ensure that the original file is accessible when you create it or edit the file for accessibility before publishing as a PDF. Additional remediation using Adobe Acrobat may be needed. PDF files must not be image scans. All text contained in PDF files should be selectable and searchable. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in Adobe Acrobat can be used on some scanned documents.
Accessible Text and Images in D2L Brightspace:
Creating Accessible HTML Files (Webpages):
Accessible Multimedia Guidelines
Multimedia, such as audio and video, must be accessible to all learners. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines regarding multimedia address reducing barriers to access so all learners can interact with course content. All audio in an online course should have a transcript and all video should have closed captioning.
- Audio: A transcript should be provided for all audio recordings.
- Video: Provide closed captioning for all video recordings.
Creating Accessible Multimedia:
With advances in technology, transcripts and closed captioning can easily be automatically generated for audio and video files. The transcripts can also be easily edited for accuracy if needed.
Note: Video files should not be uploaded to D2L. Video files should be uploaded to Kaltura then linked in D2L.
Web Accessibility Checkers:
Accessibility Checklist for Online Course Development: