Avoid using “click here” or “more info” in your link description. Links should be clear and easy to understand. The link should tell the user exactly where they are going.
While screen readers can read a full page to a user, screen reader users may prefer to instead listen to a list of links. In that case, a screen reader may only read the link text and not the surrounding text.
Speech recognition software allows a user to avoid using a mouse. Users can speak the text of the link that they would like to follow.
Keyboard-only users may not be able to use a mouse to click links. They use a keyboard’s tab button to navigate through a page’s links, buttons, and form inputs. For such users, it is very important for them to see which item has a focus on at all times.
Colorblind users may not be able to perceive color cues. Typically, pages present links in a different color than their surrounding text. Adding underlines or other non-color indicators helps users who may not see color. Users who are not comfortable with technology may also appreciate having links underlined.
Lists are great from an accessibility standpoint because they provide structured order to content in a linear fashion. Lists are recommended as potential replacements for simple tables, as tables can be more difficult to navigate, and sometimes, we provide info in tables that really would be better suited to lists.
You can use lists inside of lists, or nested lists, just check to make sure they are coded properly. Lists should always be checked to make sure that the list items are really contained within one list, check to make sure that spacing does not break a list into multiple individual points, and use the proper techniques described below to create lists. You should never rely on indentation to provide a visual list, use the proper structure instead.
Bulleted lists are for lists where the order is unimportant
Items that can be used for a bulleted list are for when the order does not matter. The example I like to use is that of grocery items, here is an example:
Lettered lists are primarily for unordered lists were referring to a specific item may be important.
Numbered lists are for lists where the order is important
Use numbered lists for when order is important. Here is an example:
Directions to Store
Turn left at Walnut Ave
Travel for 1 mile
Turn right at College Street
Travel for .3 miles
Turn right into parking lot
Things to consider with Lists
Avoid using nonrich content editor symbols like dashes or x’s to indicate a list
Use the proper numbered or bulleted list for the items
Do you have videos in your course or on your website? If yes, then it is best practice to ensure accurate captions have been applied to your video. This post is going to walk you through how to create a caption file using Otter.ai (Opens in new tab).
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Rather watch me do this instead of reading about it? Check out the video below:
This process can be summarized in just a few steps:
Prepare a folder of video files that need to be captioned.
Login to your paid Otter.ai account and create a folder for the group of files you are about to import.
Select the Transcribe Audio and Video Button
Drag all of your videos into the window
Edit the conversations for accuracy
Export the caption files as SRT
Preparing a folder of video files
This step is essential as it will help you gather all of the relevant files in a single location. There are various programs that can help you download a video file if you have lost them. If you have uploaded to YouTube or Canvas then you probably have the video files on your computer somewhere. Gather them all in one spot.
I like to create a folder on my desktop and add them all there.
Log in to Otter and create a folder for the video uploads
This step is for maintaining our organization throughout the process. If you have many videos to caption – this step is even more important.
Select the upload media button
Once you are inside the folder you want to upload all of your videos to, select the Transcribe Audio and Video button.
Move all the video files from the folder on your desktop into the otter.ai upload window
Simply drag all of the video files into the upload area.
The files will immediately begin uploading and transcribing
Edit the Conversations for accuracy
Each video upload will create what is called a conversation. This is what Otter.ai calls individual recordings. Each conversation will need to be edited for accuracy.
Select the conversation to edit it, and select the edit button.
Make any changes required to the text of the file. Simply type over the words where updates need to occur.
Prepare for export
With a conversation open, select the options menu and choose export.
This will allow you to choose SRT as an option.
Change the file format to SRT and use the settings for 2 lines and 32 characters per line.
Then, select export.
This post walks users through how to get organized with their video files that need captions, create a folder in otter.ai for import, transcribe the video files, edit a conversation, and export them as an SRT file.
The reading order in PowerPoint is an important criterion for Section 508 and accessibility in general. The reading order will read from the top down, while the arrange panel will read from the bottom up or in reverse order.
PowerPoint has two options for setting the reading order. On PC, the reading order should be set starting with the top and working down through each element.
The Arrange panel is similar to the Reading order panel and should also be set. On PC this content will read from the bottom element first moving up to the top. (Reverse order)
How to set the Reading Order in PowerPoint
The quickest method to open the correct menu item is to simply use the search feature at the top of PowerPoint. Type in Reading Order into the search box and select Display the Reading Order Pane.
Setting the order with the Reading order pane
Use the Reading Order panel to ensure the content matches as intended. If content does not match, use the arrows in the Reading Order panel to move objects to the appropriate location. In this example, the order is as follows.
The content panel
another content panel
Validating the order in the Arrange Panel
After you set the order in the Reading Order pane, ensure everything is also correct in the arrange panel. The arrange panel is in reverse, so the first item that will read is the one on the bottom. To get to the arrange panel – follow these steps:
Captioning is an important aspect of accessibility, and captioning in Canvas studio can be a breeze. If you are using Canvas and are posting videos; they need to be captioned. This post is not going to explain why captioning is important, but rather; how do you do it in Canvas Studio.
Canvas Studio offers a unique approach to captioning videos for content that you might own or do not own. It is also a premium feature – so be sure to check with your Canvas Admin to see if it is available.
This video will walk you through the steps needed to host a captioned video in Canvas Studio. The watch time is 2 minutes and 5 seconds.
Steps needed to host a captioned video in Canvas Studio
The basic premise is to get an SRT file, and then upload it into Canvas studio. Once you have the video captioned, it can easily be placed on the page. This section will cover the following steps:
Every slide in the slide deck should have a unique slide title.
Why should I have unique slide titles?
People who rely on assistive technology to review presentations will often navigate by the heading or title structure. If you end up converting the document to another format like PDF, the slide titles will come through as headings.
In the example below there are 5 different slides that share the exact same title.
In order to apply unique slide titles simply add a number to the end of each slide. The quickest method to change the title of a slide is to edit in outline view.
Select Outline View
Then simply add a number or change the title altogether. The image below shows an outline view of a presentation with numbers added to make slide titles unique.
The built in accessibility checker within PowerPoint is exceptional at notifying for this error.
The reading order in PowerPoint is an important criterion for Section 508 and accessibility in general. The reading order will read from the top down, while the arrange panel will read from the bottom up or in reverse order. This step is much easier if you have already used an accessible slide design theme! Video … Continue reading Setting the Reading Order in PowerPoint→
Images need accurate descriptions for students who rely on screen readers. Avoid using text-heavy photos and the description should provide enough information within the context of the topic. Keep in mind the context of the picture, which may change the scope of the needed explanation.
Images should never start with a “picture of” or “image of” as the screen reader will identify it as an image. The one exception to this rule is if the context of that information actually matters.
Is this a photography course? Is this an art course? If so, then it might be ok to use “image of” in the description.
Image context will change based on the audience and what you want them to learn about the image. The same image could have different descriptions depending on its intent.
Be sure to check all images as sometimes the file name is inserted as the alternate text area. For example, jordison.png might be the default value in the alt text area for an image – be sure to spot-check all images to ensure that the file name did not get inserted.
Keep alternate text less than 100 – 150 characters. If there is more text needed – be sure to include it next to the image on the page. You can also link to a longer description using a separate document!
When do I mark an image decorative?
When images are used that do not convey any meaning and are just for visual effect, it is possible to mark these elements as decorative with the latest versions of PowerPoint. After selecting the image and opening the Alt Text panel, select the checkbox “Mark as decorative”. This has the effect of making the image “invisible” to assistive technologies.
If an image does not include any alternate text information and is not marked as decorative, then assistive technologies may try to read out a file name or will announce the presence of a graphic, but with no additional information. This has the effect of informing the student there might be content, but the student does not have access to that information.
If sufficient information is described through text and images are used, consider marking the graphics as decorative to improve screen reader readability.
So how do I actually apply alternate text to images in PowerPoint?
Video Walkthrough PowerPoint Accessibility Best Practices In order for content to be the most accessible to people who use screen readers it is recommended that all content appears in outline view of PowerPoint. Outline view shows a text-based version of the content with your file. Additionally, the outline view offers a snapshot of all of … Continue reading Outline View and Textboxes in PowerPoint→
In order for content to be the most accessible to people who use screen readers it is recommended that all content appears in outline view of PowerPoint. Outline view shows a text-based version of the content with your file.
Additionally, the outline view offers a snapshot of all of the major content types in your presentation. It is an excellent method for organizing and chunking your information. It is also a great way to create a quickly accessible version for people with disabilities!
To view outline view
Select Outline view
Review titles and content to ensure all content from slide is located in outline view
Avoid using added textboxes
The textbox feature will allow you to add extra content to a slide but it might not be accessible and it will not appear in Outline View properly. Additionally, it will cause extra problems when adjusting the reading and arrange order.
How do I ensure my content is in outline view
This is purely based on using a theme and a slide template.
On the home ribbon, select Layout
Select the template you would like use
The last step of this process is to actually use the content boxes to place your content. Do not add additional text boxes in this step. Simply click into one of the content boxes to add the desired information. Using a template will not only add all content to the outline view, but it will also be in the correct reading order!
Edit the slide master theme in order to develop custom templates and ensure all the content is in order and available in outline view.
A heading is a style element that affects the structure of the content. Organizing a page by headings assists users with the orientation of the content and design. Typically, headings visually appear larger and more distinct than other text. Using headings and ensuring they are visually apparent is helpful for persons with all disabilities.
If the underlying code for the headings of a page is correct, screen reader users can also benefit from headings. Screen reader users can navigate a page according to its headings, listen to a list of all headings, and skip to the desired heading to begin reading at that point. For example, screen reader users can use headings to ignore the repeated blocks of content like headers, menus, and sidebars.
This is just too complicated. Can you do document remediation for me? How do I get a quote?
The image below shares a few examples of formatting text differently. There is plain text on the left, and then the HTML is shown on the right. One example of text has no formatting, while the other is formatted as a heading and a list.
The Heading 1 is the most important idea on the page.
Skipping heading levels can be confusing
This heading is a heading level 2. The next heading that we should create would either be a heading 3 or an additional heading 2.
If we were to create a heading 3 it would need to relate to our Heading 2 of Do not skip heading levels.
Why should I not skip heading levels?
This is a heading level 3. We do not want to skip heading levels because it can be confusing for people who use technology to read the content. Additionally, it can make the content feel out of order if I would have jumped to a heading level 4 instead.
Visual formatting like using bold or color does not work for a person using a screen reader
This is a heading level 2. I am not using a heading level 1 because I have already used one, and it does not make sense to add another one. Bolding, underlining, and using color for emphasis can be difficult for people who are color blind or visually impaired. Additionally, this reliance on visual aspects does NOT translate to assistive technology.
Only use Heading 1 through Heading 6
Most of the Assistive Technologies will pull only the first 6 headings. Ensure your content fits within this structure. Do not overuse headings. In most cases, content editors will not need more than <h2> rank headings and the occasional <h3> rank. Only for exceptionally long or complex pages would <h5> and <h6> be necessary.
To summarize, here is a shortlist of the requirements for headings:
<H1> is the most important idea on the page. Subsections should begin with <H2>
Documents and pages should have at least one <H1>
Do not skip heading levels
Do not select heading levels based on appearance
Do not use bold or another visual formatting instead of a heading
Only use <H1> through <H6>
Ok, so How do I apply headings?
Applying headings completely depends on what environment you are in. For this example, we are going to use Microsoft Word. Built-in styles are combinations of formatting characteristics that you can apply to text to quickly change its appearance.
Benefits of using styles:
Create a Table of Contents automatically
Reduce time for document wide updates and changes
Ability to use Outline View
How to apply heading styles from quick styles
Select some text you would like to apply a style to
On the Home ribbon under the Styles tab
Select a style from the Quick Styles (the ones in the box)
How do I apply headings in a google document?
This video will introduce users how to apply headings in a google document.
How do I apply headings in a Microsoft Word Document?
This video will walk users through how to apply the heading style to a document in Microsoft word.
A theme is the easiest method for applying accessibility to a PowerPoint. A theme allows for quick and easy access to predefined accessibility elements using slide design.
Any element that is entered into the slide design theme boxes will be much more accessible. If you enter content without using the theme or slide design; it will need to be edited to ensure that it is accessible with assistive technology.
This video will walk participants through how to apply a theme to an existing PowerPoint presentation. View time is 4 minutes and 36 seconds.
Creating a new PowerPoint
Microsoft created a handful of accessible powerpoint templates that are available for free! Start with one of these templates are simply search the templates for “accessible” when creating a new presentation.
How to apply a theme to an already created PowerPoint
This method is ideal if you already have a PowerPoint created and are looking to make it more accessible.
Select the Design button
Choose an appropriate theme
Ensure you are adding content to the slide design theme
Once you have a theme selected you can verify with a couple of methods.
Select the Home Tab
Select the Layout Dropdown menu
Choose the appropriate slide layout
This will change the current slide selected to the predefined slide layout.
Editing the slide itself
Once you have selected a template you can verify if it is the right type based on what you need to enter. In the image below, we have a few different options of what we can add and they include a title and two text boxes underneath it.
Other slide design templates allow for the insertion of tables, images, charts, and other information. If we add anything with the insert feature like an additional textbox, we are setting ourselves up for problems with the reading order, arrange order, and outline view. Make sure you stick to using the theme!
Check out the other videos and blog posts for more information on making PowerPoint files accessible.
Video Overview What exactly is alternate text? Image Context Special Notes When do I mark an image decorative? So how do I actually apply alternate text to images in PowerPoint? Then, enter a description. Video Overview What exactly is alternate text? Images need accurate descriptions for students who rely on screen readers. Avoid using text-heavy … Continue reading Alternate Text and Decorative Images in PowerPoint→