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Designing Accessible Content in Blackboard

The following list includes the top five things you need to know about designing accessible content:

  1. If you are adding images to your content, you must define alternative (alt) text for them. Alt text should be simple and succinct, and describe exactly what the image is. Example alt=”photograph of a Cell Dividing.” If an image is a diagram that conveys more complicated information, a long description or textual format of the material is required.
  2. If you are adding video or other multi-media content to your course, you must include descriptive captions for the content to ensure users with hearing impairments can consume it.
  3. One of the top complaints from students with visual impairments is the inability to consume attached files. Format attached documents with appropriate headings to ensure they can be properly consumed by screen readers. When creating your documents, use the Formatting and Style options available in Microsoft Office, Adobe, or other word processing tools to define appropriate headings and lists.
  4. Properly tag attached PDF files to ensure their structures can be read by screen readers. Simple methods for “print” or “save” to PDF create a single image of the file. While the document looks like it is properly structured, the screen reader is not able to interact with or read any of the material. To learn more about making accessible PDF documents, see Meet PDF Accessibility Standards on the Adobe Acrobat website.
  5. Be sure that you provide your students with clear expectations, instructions, and directions for all assignments and tests. Students with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities can have trouble focusing on even simple tasks. Clear directions and understandable expectations can help them focus, making them much more likely to succeed.

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