According to a federal study in 2012, 11% of post-secondary students may need accommodations for learning. While this is a small percentage of all students using your Blackboard course or sitting in your classrooms, it is important that all students have equitable access to the instructional materials you create.
Accessibility may have different meanings according to different disabilities, such as these examples below:
Provide Alt Text for Images: All non-text elements: images, graphics, tables need to have accompanying descriptions
- Example of how a screen reader is used for alternative text
- Use concise language, no need to write “image of”
- Alt text provides context for images which fail to load
Closed Captions for Videos: All videos have accurate captions
- Simultaneous reading and hearing the content helps focus attention and reinforce learning
- Captions are necessary for a variety of audiences
- Check for accuracy
- Captioning should synchronize with video
- Permission may be needed from copyright holder to caption videos
- ACC has a media captioning department
Transcripts for Audio Files: All audio-only content has transcript
- Transcripts are separate files that users can refer to without playing the audio
- Transcripts benefit all users as they create a searchable version of content
Provide Text Identifiers:
- To highlight information that is color-coded for emphasis
- To identify frames or boxes
- To label headings in data representations
Make Tables Accessible:
- Include a Header Row to assist screen readers in table navigation
- The Header Row or labels should describe the topic or table purpose
- Avoid using merged or split cells
- Avoid blank cells, if possible
- Avoid using screenshots of tables or provide alt text for the table
- Headings are a special type of text style formatting recognized by screen readers
- Using bold or colored font will not allow screen reader to recognize text as a heading
Use Heading Hierarchies:
- Heading 1- page title or main content heading
- Heading 2 - major section heading
- Heading 3 - subsection of Heading 2
- Never skip a heading level; for example, do not jump directly from Heading 1 to Heading 3.
Contrast, Colors, and Background:
- Use high contrast between text and background colors. Avoid colored text on a colored background. Insufficient contrast can cause a readability issue.
- Avoid using only color to convey information; for example, using red font to indicate important information.
- Red-green color blindness is the most common type of color blindness. Red text also has a low contrast level between text and background colors. If red text is used on a white background, use dark red to ensure contrast.
- Font styles such as color, bold, underlining and italics are often meaningless to screen readers. Use of formatting alone to convey a key piece of information is not accessible; add text that accomplishes your goal (for example: Important - etc.)
- Colored or patterned backgrounds can be painful to read over long periods of time.
- Here is a short screen reader example demonstrating the difference between the experience of a screen reader encountering a URL and a descriptive link
- Avoid saying, “Click on ____” as the user on a mobile device does not have a mouse.
Scripts, Applets, Extensions and Plugins:
- These are small, web-based applications that add specific features to your webpages. Examples include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office 365.
- Be mindful that the student opening your file may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to read your pdf or a Microsoft application to read a Word document
- Provide links to downloads, if needed, such as Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Provide text alternatives to non-text content (charts, infographics, etc.)
- Provide synchronized alternatives to media (closed captioning)
- Ensure that content can be separated from presentation
- Make foreground and background contrast so that each may be distinguished
- Functionality must include keyboard access
- Allow users use and control over time limits on content (reading or media)
- Avoid presentation formats that may cause seizures due to photosensitivity
- Structure navigation should be easy for user
- Text content must be readable and understandable
- Support compatibility with accessible software
- Provide accessible alternatives or make content accessible