Guidelines for Creating Accessible Content

teacher at the front of the class

Creating accessible content breaks down barriers and leads to more seamless access to information which leads to less need for accommodations. The principles for creating accessible content on social media, in your Canvas course, on a webpage are outlined below.

See Tools for Creating Accessible Content for guides on how to use a variety of accessibility tools.

For website design, see the SJSU IT department's website specific accessibility guidelines.

  1. Alt Text: Provide descriptive alternative text (alt text) for images, conveying the visual content for screen readers and users with vision impairments. For example, the Alt text for an image of students looking at a laptop screen would say “Four students studying together on a laptop”. It isn’t necessary to say “Image of” because the screen reader will already say that. For complex images, charts, or graphs, captions can be used or it may be necessary to link a text document that provides more detail.
  2. Clear and Concise Language: Use straightforward language and avoid jargon to enhance readability and comprehension for all users.
  3. Caption Videos: Include accurate captions for videos to accommodate Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. If automatic captions are used, be sure to edit the captions for 100% accuracy to adhere to accessibility standards.
  4. Descriptive Hyperlinks: Use descriptive text for hyperlinks instead of generic phrases like "click here." For example, do not write “register here”. Instead write “Accessibility with Ally Course Registration” and hyperlink that whole phrase.
  5. Consistent Formatting: Maintain a consistent layout and organization to assist users in navigating content easily.
  6. Readable Fonts and Colors: Choose legible fonts and high-contrast colors for better visibility. To check color contrast, see WebAIM’s Contrast Checker.
  7. Avoid Auto-Play: Allow users to control multimedia elements like videos and audio to prevent unexpected disruptions.
  8. Consider Link Descriptions: When sharing external links, provide brief descriptions to help users understand their relevance.
  9. Test Accessibility: Utilize accessibility tools to verify your content's compatibility with different assistive technologies.
  10. Offer Transcripts: Provide transcripts when possible for audio content, making it accessible for individuals with hearing impairments.
  11. Document Accessibility: Ensure PDFs are not scanned and have the correct tags. Use headings correctly and correct table structure. Check the color contrast and font size in your PowerPoints. Always add ALT text to images. Learn more about PDF Accessibility.
  12. Canvas Accessibility: Use headings, bulleted lists, numbered lists, tables and clear color contrast in your Canvas assignments, discussions, quizzes, announcements and pages. Leverage the Canvas Accessibility checker, Ally and Canvas best practices for creating accessible content.