Accessibility Tips

 Watch this 3-minute video from the National Center on Accessible Education Materials about key principles for designing materials. 1 Then, explore the how-to resources below.

Create Accessible Documents

If your district uses Google tools, read Make Your Document or Presentation More Accessible for tips and instructions. 2

If your district uses Microsoft tools, visit the Accessibility Video Training page for demonstrations and instructions. 3

Use High-Contrast Colors

Black text on a light background reads High Contrast. Light green text on a white background reads Low Contrast.
There should be a high contrast between the text color and background color.

Using high-contrast colors makes it easier for students to read your materials. If you’re not sure whether your color scheme will be legible enough, you can use the WebAIM Contrast Checker. 4

Use Legible Fonts

The word Homework appears in a clear sans serif font, an ornate font, and a small italicized font.
Which of these fonts is easiest to read?

Make sure to choose simple fonts that are large enough for students to read. Avoid crowding your page or slide – leave white space to help chunk content and avoid overwhelming students.

Add Alternative Text to Images

An image of the word keywords spelled out in letter tiles appears on the left. A broken image icon and the description 'The word keywords is spelled out in letter tiles' appears on the right.
Alt text provides a short description of an image.

Alternative (alt) text is a short description of an image in a document or on a website. When a person with a visual impairment uses a screen reader, the screen reader will read the alt text. Alt text is also displayed if an image does not load, which can be helpful for students with low internet connectivity.

Add Captions to Videos

Closed captioning makes videos accessible for students who are deaf or who have hearing loss. However, it can benefit all students by supporting comprehension and increasing their attention.

Read Use Automatic Captioning to learn how YouTube will automatically adds closed captioning to videos. 9 You can then edit the captions to make them more accurate. (Remember to never upload any video with students or students’ work to YouTube! Only use this option for an instructional video that you are making on your own.)

If you are presenting or recording a Google Slides presentation, you can use its built-in closed captioning option. This one-minute video from G Suite demonstrates how to use closed captioning in Google Slides. 10

You can provide captions in your video conferences as well. Watch this brief video clip from G Suite to learn how users can turn captions on in Google Meet 11, or read the Google Meet Help article. 12

Watch this 1-minute video from Paul Bloom to learn how users can turn captions on in Microsoft Teams 13, or read the Use Live Captions in a Teams Meeting article from Office Support. 14

You can enable closed captions in Zoom 15 and in Blackboard Collaborate 16, but you or a participant in the meeting will need to type the captions. There is not a built-in automatic captioning option.

Provide Transcripts for Videos

Video content can add interest and engagement to your lesson, but it may present challenges for some learners. Additionally, streaming videos requires internet bandwidth that all students may not have. By providing a transcript of your video, you ensure that this learning experience is accessible for all learners.

Assistive Technology Options

Microsoft Immersive Reader can be used with programs like Microsoft Word and OneNote and is supported in other tools as well. 17 There is an extension available for offline use. Watch this 2-minute video from Microsoft Education to learn how Immersive Reader works. 18

Chromebooks also have a number of built-in accessibility features. Watch this video from Google for Education for an introduction 19, and visit the Chromebook Accessibility page for more details. 20

Sources

  1. National Center on Accessible Educational Materials. (2018, February 26). Designing for accessibility with POUR {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/dzzlJQXmJIw
  2. Google. (2020). Make your document or presentation more accessible. Docs editors help. https://support.google.com/docs/answer/6199477
  3. Microsoft. (2020). Accessibility training. Office support. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/video-check-the-accessibility-of-your-document-9d660cba-1fcd-45ad-a9d1-c4f4b5eb5b7d
  4. Center for Persons with Disabilities. (2020). Contrast checker. WebAIM. https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/
  5. Instructure. (2020). How do I manage alt text and display options for images embedded in the new rich content editor as a student? Canvas: Guides. https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-18276-42121157929
  6. Byrne, R. {Richard Byrne}. How to add alt text to images in Google Documents {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/lUtp0VjOI6k
  7. Microsoft. (2020). Add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object. Office support. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/add-alternative-text-to-a-shape-picture-chart-smartart-graphic-or-other-object-44989b2a-903c-4d9a-b742-6a75b451c669
  8. Schoology. (2020). Upload images/media to assessment questions. Schoology help center. https://support.schoology.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004113474-Upload-Images-Media-to-Assessment-Questions
  9. Google. (2020). Use automatic captioning. YouTube help. https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6373554
  10. G Suite. (2020, February 25). Closed captions in Google Slides – the suite life {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/NXGJQ5UO2Bk
  11. G Suite. (2020, March 10). How to: Turn captions on in Google Meet {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/KEC0xhCvW3w
  12. Google. (2020). Use captions in a video meeting. Google Meet help. https://support.google.com/meet/answer/9300310
  13. Bloem, P. {Paul Bloem}. (2019, December 17). Microsoft Teams: Live captions {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/F40tWttrKaQ
  14. Microsoft. (2020). Use live captions in a Teams meeting. Office support. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/use-live-captions-in-a-teams-meeting-4be2d304-f675-4b57-8347-cbd000a21260
  15. Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (2020). Using closed captioning. Zoom help center. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/207279736-Using-closed-captioning
  16. Blackboard Inc. (2018). Captions in Collaborate. Blackboard help. https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Administrator/Accessibility/Captions
  17. Microsoft. (2020). Immersive reader partners. Office support. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/immersive-reader-partners-8ce56191-83cd-490f-9dfc-4e69d4bf5308
  18. Microsoft Education. (2018, October 4). You can improve reading skills with Microsoft Learning Tools {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/3n5emMEm3Uk
  19. Google for Education. (2019, January 30). EDU in 90: Chromebook accessibility features {Video}. YouTube. https://youtu.be/G8aztCnvv7U
  20. Google. (2020). Chromebook accessibility. Google for education. https://edu.google.com/why-google/accessibility/chromebooks-accessibility/
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