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Best Practices for making the content you put online accessible to all students

Accessibility Best Practices


Make sure text is text. Do not include text as part of an image – zooming in on the image can pixilate the text, making it difficult to read. Do not make the text flashy or blinking by adding visual effects. This can make text difficult to interpret.

Sans-serif fonts work best for legibility on computer screen (Arial, Comic Sans MS, Georgia, Courier New, Tahoma, Times, Trebuchet MS, Verdana, Helvetica).

Use bold or italic text rather than underlined words for emphasis. Underlined text often indicates a hyperlink, leading to confusion.

Don’t just depend on the use of color to convey information. Make sure that you have an alternative method to distinguish information for those with difficulty distinguishing color.

Provide sufficient contrast between text and background color.

Make content orderly and easy to navigate by screen readers.

In Word documents, use formatting tags to divide document

In PowerPoint documents, use slide layouts and avoid the use of text boxes.

Describe Images and Links

Images without alternative text (Alt Text) are often skipped by screen readers. Links without descriptions don’t make sense if the link is out of context when read by a screen reader. A simple fix is to be descriptive. Add alternative text to all images, in all documents. Make sure that links are descriptive as to what the reader should expect to find when clicking the link. Avoid “Click Here” or “More” text for links.

Try out easy-to-use tools to check for accessibility.

Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe have Check Accessibility functions. Clicking on this button runs a scan on your document, points out accessibility issues, tells you how to fix them, and why you want to fix them.

Consider the use of HTML instead of Word or PowerPoint.

HTML documents are accessible by a variety of browsers and devices. They are also easy to navigate by screen readers. Some options available to you are Moodle Pages, Moodle Books, and SoftChalk.

Provide transcripts and captioning.

Script all audio and video files! Transcripts provide an additional resource to all students in addition to those that require it. Captioning can then be easily added to video files when scripts are provided.

Be Proactive!

Make a good-faith effort at working to make your courses accessible. It is easiest to ensure accessibility during the course development process. If your course is already developed, prioritize content that you need to work on in reasonable chunks. It will be much easier to work on your course in this manner instead of in a reactive fashion when a student requests it. The Online Learning Office Staff is here to assist you with making your courses accessible!

Accessibility Resource Website

Web Accessibility in Mind - WebAIM

Check accessibility compliance in your course by using the TSTC Harlingen Online/Hybrid Course Accessibility Checklist.

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