Creating digital content with accessibility in mind is the best way to ensure that materials provide the best user experience for all individuals. "Baking" accessibility into digital materials also promotes proactive compliance with federal law and university policy and is a key component of Universal Design for Learning.
The following guidelines and best practices should be observed when creating or acquiring digital content for use at Kent State University for online and face-to-face courses as well as for general purpose and related business use.
All digital files used in courses and for general business use should be properly formatted so they function correctly with assistive technology such as screen readers or text-to-speech applications. The following formatting should be applied to materials such as Microsoft Word files and Acrobat PDF files. Review the guides below for additional details on how to apply proper formatting to digital documents.
- Documents should be full-text (not scanned images)
- Use heading styles rather than bolding or enlarging text (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Create meaningful hyperlinks (Kent State University vs http://www.kent.edu)
- Add alt (alternative) text to images
- Use Table header rows
- Created structured lists (using bullets/numbers feature rather than manually typing characters)
- Avoid the use of color as the sole means of emphasis; consider using italics or bold
- Provide appropriate high contrast (Learn more about contrast from the American Foundation for the Blind)
- Create concise filenames (BIO12345_syllabus_Fall2017.docx versus syllabus.docx or BIO12345.docx as these are not meaningful)
Video and Audio Content
- Videos posted to the KSU website or used for courses should be properly captioned.
- Videos that are automatically captioned (i.e. YouTube) should be tested for proper captioning/accuracy before being posted on websites or in courses.
- Narrated PowerPoint presentations uploaded to Blackboard should include complete and accurate transcripts.
- Standalone audio files should include complete and accurate transcripts.
Blackboard Learn Courses
- Course format is easy to follow, navigate and understand.
- If required, extended time is given for online tests (see Extending Time in Blackboard Learn for more information).
- Folders, files, modules, etc. are properly labeled and informative so screen readers can relay important information when read aloud to students who are blind/low vision (i.e. Week 2 Study Guide instead of “file”).
- Color themes that are applied are also easy to see and do not cause eyestrain.
- Graphics and images are given alternative text so screen readers will relay important information to students who are blind/low vision.
- Digital content uploaded to Blackboard Learn is accessible to all users (see Digital Documents above).