Guidelines for Accessible Content

Follow these guidelines in any software or web application to make your content accessible.

Text & Links

Use properly formatted headings to structure the page.

Headings help to organize content, making it easier for everyone to read. Headings are also a primary way for people using screen reading software to navigate a page of text. (Note: this page is a pretty good example of using headings!)

Format lists as lists.

Formatting is conveyed to assistive technologies and mobile devices so they can present information as it’s meant to be presented. Properly formatted documents are more understandable and accessible.

Write meaningful link text.

Links embedded in text should describe the link's destination. This helps all users navigate more efficiently, especially screen reader users.

Color & Images

Use sufficient color contrast.

Without sufficient color contrast between font and background, people who are color blind and low vision will not benefit from the information.

Don't use color alone to convey meaning.

Using color alone to convey meaning will leave those who are color blind or blind unable to interpret the meaning.

Eliminate or limit blinking or flashing content to 3 seconds.

Blinking content is distracting, and it can cause seizures to occur in people with a photosensitive disorder.

Provide alternative text descriptions for images.

Alt text is read by a screen reader. It should adequately describe what is being displayed and why it’s important. This allows screen reader users to benefit from the information being conveyed by the image, even if they cannot see it.


Ensure that any action that uses a mouse can also be completed by keyboard alone.

Mobility and visual disabilities often make using a mouse impossible or ineffective. If content is not keyboard accessible, it will limit who can learn from the content.

Design clear and consistent navigation.

Clear and consistent navigation in your course will allow students to focus on your content rather than on how to find it.

Maintain a proper reading order in tables, forms and slides.

Using the tab key, your cursor should follow through the content in the same order it is intended to be read or completed. This benefits users who cannot use a mouse.

Label form fields and buttons clearly.

A screen reader will identify the button or form field by reading the label. The label should adequately describe the button’s action, and the form field label should indicate what information should be filled in to the form field.

Create tables with column and/or row headers.

Using table headers is important to conveying tabular data accurately.

Screen readers read tables from left to right, top to bottom, one cell at a time (& only once). If cells are split or merged, it could throw the reading order off which may make the table difficult to comprehend by users who are blind and using a screen reader to navigate.

Other Considerations

Don't require inaccessible applications be used.

Inaccessible software and applications will shut out students with disabilities. For questions regarding interactive applications and software you may be using, please submit a ticket at

Write math and science equations accessibly.

For web pages, use the Math Editor in Canvas that outputs LaTeX. For MS Word and PPT documents, use the Math Type plugin.

Optional materials must include a balance of accessible options.

Even if materials are not required for coursework, students should be able to select accessible materials so that they can fully participate.

Include the Accommodations Statement in your syllabus.

Make it clear to your students that you are aware of how they can receive accommodations. Also link to accessibility or assistive technology user information for software or web applications that are required in the course.