Accessible Content

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Accessible Online Content


Accessible content is effectively used by people in the following disability groups:

  • Visual - blind or visually-impaired students
  • Auditory - deaf students or those who can't hear well
  • Motor - students with mobility impairments
  • Cognitive - learning disabled students and those with attention deficits
The Importance of Accessible Content

Accessible content provides equal access to students with disabilities and is also useful to those without disabilities. For example, closed captions are useful in noisy environments or in quiet areas (at work, libraries, etc.). ECU is required by state and federal laws to give equal access to students with disabilities by way of reasonable accommodation. And, it’s the right thing to do.

Blackboard, Saba Meeting, and other learning platforms have built-in accessibility. It's equally important that content created and delivered through these learning platforms also be accessible.

So as you create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations or record a short video for your courses, please review the tips and recommendations below to help ensure accessible content for as many students as possible.


Use the tips below to create accessible documents for your students. To check the usability of your Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents, use the Microsoft Accessibility Checker to identify any common issues.

 Software Accessibility Tips 
Microsoft Word
  • Use ALT Text to describe all images, charts, tables, graphs, shapes and objects. If the image is complex, provide detailed descriptions in the text preceding the image.
  • Use styles instead of format changes. For example, use Heading Level 1 or Heading Level 2 to format your text and provide a structure to your document. This consistency is helpful to students using assistive technology for navigation.
  • Use the bulleted or ordered list features for organization rather than inserting asterisks, numbers or dashes.
  • Include a brief summary of any tables.
  • Use column headings to provide context and navigation. Use the Header Row feature within Table Tools Design.
  • Use meaningful hyperlink text.
  • For longer Word documents, create a Table of Contents. If styles are used for headings, Word will automatically build a TOC.
  • Check content accessibility using the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Word to identify common issues.
  • See Creating Accessible Word Documents for more information.
Microsoft Excel
  • Use ALT Text to describe images, charts, tables, graphs, shapes and objects.
  • Use the bulleted or ordered list features for organization rather than inserting asterisks, numbers or dashes.
  • Use column headings to provide context and navigation.
  • Use the Header Row feature within Table Tools Design.
  • Use meaningful hyperlink text.
  • Avoid using blank cells for table formatting.
  • Use a unique worksheet name for all tabs.
  • Check content accessibility using the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Excel to identify common accessibility issues.
  • Visit Creating Accessible Excel Workbooks for more information.
Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Use a simple slide layout.
  • Organize content in a logical order.
  • Use legible fonts. San-Serif fonts are a good choice. Avoid script fonts.
  • Use a unique title for each slide.
  • Use ALT Text to describe all images, charts, tables, graphs, shapes and objects.
  • Use the bulleted or ordered list features for organization rather than inserting asterisks, numbers or dashes.
  • Use column headings to provide context and navigation.
  • Use the Header Row feature within Table Tools Design.
  • Avoid using blank cells for formatting.
  • Use meaningful hyperlink text.
  • Narrated slideshows should have a transcript.
  • Check content accessibility using the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft PowerPoint to identify common accessibility issues.
  • Visit Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations for more information.
PDF Documents
  • Scanned PDFs are not accessible to students using screen readers.
  • Adobe Acrobat has built-in OCR, but it is not always 100% accurate.
  • If exporting content from Microsoft Word to PDF format, be sure to use proper style formatting to make the PDF easy to navigate.
  • When saving your file as PDF, make sure you create a “tagged PDF” to make it accessible.
  • See WebAIM’s PDF Accessibility website for more information and instructions.
Audio and Video

 

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