Making Digital Content Accessible

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.

Creating and editing headings
  • A uniform heading structure is one of the most important considerations when creating your document. Headings allow screen reader users to easily navigate pages. It is not best practice to simply increase the font size or bold text to make it look like a heading.
  • To create a heading, select the text and choose the appropriate heading level from the Styles gallery.
  • Make sure to change the default color setting to add more contrast. Microsoft Word uses a light blue color as the default for headings, which provides insufficient color contrast.
  • It is best practice to use headings in the correct order. There should be only one Heading 1 per page. Subsequent headings allow you to "chunk" your content, which makes the page easier to read.
Selecting appropriate text
  • Make sure the text font is easy to read. San Serif fonts such as, Arial, Helvetica and Verdana, magnify well for users with low vision.
  • We recommend using 12 point font at a minimum. 
  • Floating text boxes, track changes and commenting are not always accessible with screen readers.
Using meaningful text for links
  • Consider screen reader users when creating your links. Screen readers will say "link" before reading hyperlinked text. Be mindful of how you write your sentence and what you choose to hyperlink, and imagine the word "link" said preceding the hyperlink.
  • Screen reading software can also pull all of the links in a document for quick navigation. If the link pulled doesn't have meaningful text associated with it, the screen reader user may not know where the link goes. For example, ambiguous text such as, "click here", doesn't tell the user where the link leads.
  • The hyperlink should succinctly inform the reader of its destination, is not too wordy, and gives enough information for a screen reader. For example: "Visit Getting Started with SAS to learn more about our registration procedures."