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Best Practices

The Canvas Course Accessibility Checklist provides instructors with a guide to use when determining the usability of their instructional materials. The goal of creating accessible courses is to remove barriers that students with disabilities face and help create an equitable learning environment for the diverse student population here at UNF. These needs can be met by making small changes to the design and creation of materials, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

 

Here are some Do’s & Don’ts for creating accessible courses and content:

 

Do: Use legible fonts (i.e. Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Verdana, and Tahoma) with a minimum size of 12 points.

Don’t: Use fonts that are difficult to read and small font sizes This makes content hard for any user to read.

 

Do: Use simple colors with high contrast. Black text on a white background is the most preferred. Maintain at least a contrast ratio of 4.5:1. Use WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker to verify the ratio.

Don’t: Use bright contrasting colors or colors with low contrast. This makes content hard for any user to read, but especially those who are color blind or have low vision.

 

Do: Use lists, separate content, provide text labels, or use icons for explaining information.

Don’t: Use color coding or highlighting as the only way of conveying information. This is called “color reliance” and should be avoided as it is not accessible for individuals with visual impairments.

 

Do: Use built-in headers to break up content.

Don’t: Use pseudo-headers, which are created by increasing font size and using bold typeface. These will not be read aloud to a screen reader and will make navigation difficult.

 

Do: Provide alternative text for images and graphics that are descriptive and accurate.

Don’t: Use the image name for alternative text or provide text that does not provide enough information. If the image is complex, consider providing a caption. This will be beneficial for individuals with visual impairments.

 

Do: Provide captions and/or transcripts for audiovisual materials.

Don’t: Turn captions off, forget to edit captions, or assume that individuals will be able to use the material without them. Captions and transcripts are beneficial to all students, as it provides an alternative route for comprehension. This will also benefit individuals that are deaf or hard-of-hearing by providing.

 

Do: Use the hyperlink tool with a descriptive phrase indicating what the link is for.

Don’t: Copy and paste a URL into content and use phrases like “Click here.” This makes the content visually appealing and easier for individuals that use screen readers to navigate.

 

Do: Use tables for presenting data. Be sure to include headers that repeat on each page and caption in the table settings.

Don’t: Use tables for formatting content. By forgetting to include a table header and a caption, the table is inaccessible and confusing for individuals using a screen reader. Repeated headers will make the table easier to read for all users.

 

Do: Use original documents or link to articles available through the UNF Library.

Don’t: Rely on scanned documents. These are not accessible and if they are low quality, can be hard to read.

 

Do: Use built-in accessibility checkers for Word, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, Canvas Rich Content Editor, and Ally for Canvas files.

Don’t: Assume that course content is accessible. Accessible course content provides a better learning environment for all students.

 

Do: Ask for help! Instructors are not alone in making their courses accessible. Contact CIRT at cirtlab@unf.edu or (904) 620-3927 for any questions or concerns.