Accessibility Tips for Faculty Web Pages

When creating online courses, consider the ease of access to all students. There are barriers that may be in place for a student who has a disability that can be avoided by removing the barrier in the beginning. This page contains information to help you make your courses more accessible.

Alternative Text (ALT Text)

  • Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element
    • This includes:
      • Images
      • Graphical representations of text (symbols)
      • Animations (animated GIFS)
      • Scripts
      • Graphical buttons
      • Sounds (played with or without user interaction)
      • Audio tracks of video
      • Video
  • This can be done with ALT tags using:
    • “alt”
    • “longdesc”
    • In element content
  • ALT Tags are descriptions of the images which do not appear in the text, but are read aloud to blind users on a screen reader
  • ALT Tags should describe the image and be concise. Usually no longer than 150 characters.

Closed Captions and Transcripts

  • Captions should be included
    • Should be synchronized to the audio
    • Be equivalent to the spoken word
    • Be easily accessible
    • Type of caption needs to describe the activity on the screen
    • Captions of lectures should be included in the notes section of PowerPoint slides
      • Becomes a caption when converted through Adobe Presenter
    • Captions are also beneficial to non-native speakers
  • Audio
    • Audio needs to tell what is happening on the screen
    • Avoid having the audio play automatically on web pages
      • It can be distracting or even interfere with speech recognition software
    • Meant for the visually impaired
  • Transcripts
    • Include transcripts of audio content as well as synchronized alternatives
    • Provide a text of the content
    • Enable content to be searchable
    • Does not have to be exact, but should be as close as possible
  • Video files should be embedded or displayed in a player that a screen reader can access using keyboard commands
    • Accessible players are:
      • QuickTime
      • RealPlayer
      • iTunes
      • YouTube
  • Captioning Resources

Colored Text

  • Use of color on web pages
    • Web pages should be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup
    • You should avoid using just color in order to convey important information
    • Approximately 25% of students cannot distinguish the colors red, green, or blue
      • In addition, students with dyslexia, ADHD, or cognitive impairments can find the use of multiple colors to be very distracting
      • Students who use screen readers also tend to have the announce color feature turned off, so they may end up missing important information
    • There are certain barriers for individuals with cognitive disabilities and color blindness
      • An individual using a screen reader may not see information that is colored
      • Multiple colors can be distracting
      • Colors may not be able to be distinguished
    • You should pick just one color to use and then bold and/or italicize important words to draw the readers’ attention
    • If you use colors in your documents and are unsure about the accessibility of the document, use the free Color Contrast Checker provided by WebAIM.

Formatting Tables

  • Data table
    • When you need to specify a row or column with header information
  • Formatting table
    • When no informational header is needed
  • Simple Table
    • Maximum of one header row and one header column
    • No merged cells within a simple table
    • It is easier for a screen reader to present the information in a simple table
  • Mark Table Headers
    • Screen readers are only able to read table cells one by one from left to right from top to bottom
    • First row and first column should be tagged TH for table header in order to enable screen reader to read them effectively
    • Do not merge cells
  • UCF breaks down the proper way to build a table:
Small MammalExotic
  1. Chinchilla
  2. Ferrets
  3. Rabbits
  1. Fennec Fox
  2. Tamanduas and Two-Toed Sloths
  3. Bennett's Wallaby

Avoid Causing the Screen to Flicker

  • Avoid using animated gifs, Flash, or other features that cause a portion of the screen to flicker.
    • Flickering of the screen can cause seizure in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Structuring Content Properly

  • Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or not supported.
    • If this cannot be done, you should provide equivalent information on an alternative accessible page.


  • Screen readers announce when a link is present, so you do not need to say that there is a link.
    • You should embed the link in the html and have the link as only the word or name.
      • For example: Please visit the SDRC web page for more information.
      • Do not do: Click here to view the SDRC web page in order to obtain more information.

Logical and Consistant Navigation 

  • Page structure
    • The proper structure should be:
      • Title
      • Heading
      • Quote
      • Block quote
      • Paragraph
      • List
  • ATC breaks down the structure of the page on their website

Tips for Word and Powerpoint


  • Apply heading styles to the document in order for screen reader to be able to read the document
  • If there will be more than one column of text, create a table with column or row headings
  • Use bullets or numbers in order to create lists
  • Insert active hyperlinks for your URLs
  • Use bold or italic text to display emphasis
  • Do not use colors to indicate meaning


  • Use the slide layout templates when possible
  • When this is not possible, at least use the one with the slide title only
  • Write presenter’s notes in the provided area
  • Apply ALT text to images
  • If embedding a video, make sure the video is captioned
  • If embedding audio, include a transcript
  • Use built-in accessibility checker: File>info>check for issues>check for accessibility