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Simple ways you can make your content accessible
Use descriptive headings to organize content.
Headings are critical when creating accessible content. They provide the ability to directly jump to content and can save assistive tool users hours of time. Keep it simple and use the heading styles provided by the tool you are writing in.
- Headings in Blackboard Content Areas
- Headings in Word Documents
Don't use font styles alone to indicate importance.
Screen readers don't identify font styles such as bold and color. When you need to give a strong visual cue, make sure that you use an accessible alternative. For example, use an exclamation mark at the end of your sentence if it is important. Screen readers intonate exclamation and question marks. Meaning it will not read "question mark" but will give a questioning tone to a question.
Add alternative (alt) text to your images.
If you don't know the meaning or purpose of the image, don't use it! It is clutter and will be overwhelming to those with learning disabilities. Next, add alt text that is simple, succinct, and describe exactly what the image is. For example, alt="photograph of a Cell Dividing". If the image is a diagram that conveys more complicated information a long description or textual format of the material is required.
Make your links descriptive
Include descriptive captions to your videos.
Ensure PDF files are readable by screen readers
Simple methods for "print" or "save" to PDF may create a single image of the file. Scanning documents to PDF will often result in an image of the file. While the document will look like it is properly structured the screen reader will not be able to interact with or read any of the material.
For details about making accessible PDF documents, see:
- Meet PDF Accessibility Standards (Acrobat Pro DC)
- Meet PDF Accessibility Standards (Acrobat Pro XI)
- Use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Tools in Acrobat
Provide students with clear expectations, instructions, and directions for all assignments and tests.
Students with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities can have trouble focusing on even simple tasks. Clear directions and understandable expectations can help them focus, making them much more likely to succeed.