How can I quickly make my content more accessible?
Accessible course materials allow students of all abilities to learn from the content you create or post in Canvas. There are many simple, low-effort adjustments that you can make to create more accessible content.
Considering a Few Simple Questions Can Help Ensure Your Success
When creating accessible content, begin by asking yourself these questions:
- Are the sizes, fonts, and colors of my text easy to read?
- Is there a structure to my headings, subheadings, and body texts that a screen-reading machine could interpret?
- Did I input this content directly, or did I scan a PDF that is not inherently accessible?
By keeping the capabilities of accessible technology in mind when creating new content, you can efficiently design materials that meet your wide array of students' needs.
Consult this Checklist to Create Accessible Content
- Choose a font size that is at least 12px.
- Check the contrast between your text and background. The Paciello Group Contrast Analyzer, available for download here, is a tool that can help you evaluate your contrast levels.
- Ensure that proper heading styles are used by applying "styles" in Microsoft Word or Google Docs to increase scannability.
- Create your own logical heading structure so your content is easily navigable. Using heading tags for web pages and paragraph styles for documents makes the structure of your content accessible to screen readers, and without this structure, screen readers perceive a document as one long section.
- Add alternative descriptions to your images that convey the full meaning of the image.
- Use tables for tabular data only to avoid confusion.
- Confirm that all of your tables have row and/or column headings. This allows screen readers to navigate through a table one cell at a time while reading the headers aloud.
- Use built-in number or bullet features when creating lists, rather than typing in the numbers yourself.
- Rather than posting long links, create a hyperlink with text that describes your link.
- Avoid using scanned PDFs, because these documents are inaccessible to screen readers. When sharing PowerPoints or Slides, share the PowerPoint slides directly rather than downloading them as PDFs.
- If you place a digital PDF in your course, confirm that the PDF is tagged for accessibility before uploading it.
There are Many Resources Available to Help You Make Your Content Accessible
The internet has a wide variety of informative documents related to accessibility. WebAIM, or Web Accessibility in Mind, provides tutorials, accessibility training, certifications, evaluations, and technical assistance.
For localized support, Academic Technology in Library 311 is available Monday-Friday (8am-5pm) to aid in your understanding of creating accessible materials.