Best Practices in Online Content Accessibility

By Disability

Tips for creating accessible content for use within the Blackboard learning management system

For individuals who are blind:

  • Add alternative (alt) and descriptive text to graphic images to allow identification by screen-reading software
  • Use consistent and predictable layouts
  • Use single column text whenever possible
  • Text descriptions and instructions should stand on their own, without graphics
  • Synchronized audio descriptions are available for video

For individuals with low vision:

  • Increase the contrast between text and the background
  • Place text over a solid-color background; a patterned background can make text harder to discern

For individuals who are color-blind:

  • Avoid use of color only to communicate meaning
  • Ensure that the software/application will run in monochrome mode
  • Use variations in contrast and brightness in addition to color variations
  • Choose elements that increase visual contrast, rather than color, e.g. using texture
  • Keep the overall contrast high
  • Avoid using orange, red, and green in your template and text

For individuals with hearing impairments

  • Provide all auditory information visually
  • Ensure that all visual cues are noticeable, even if the user is not looking straight at the screen
  • Support ShowSounds, a feature that allows the user to assign a visual and caption for each auditory event

For individuals with physical disabilities:

  • Avoid timed responses or when they cannot be avoided, lengthen the time allowed for a user to respond
  • Allow the user to access features built into the operating system, such as StickyKeys, SlowKeys, Key Repeating

For individuals with language or cognitive disabilities:

  • Allow all message alerts to remain on the screen until dismissed by the user
  • Make language and instructions as simple and straightforward as possible
  • Use simple and consistent layouts

For individuals with dyslexia:

  • Give the ability to select their preferred font
  • Use consistent layouts and formats
  • Use plain, uncomplicated backgrounds behind text
  • Avoid flashing text and avoid moving or animated text
  • List hyperlinks at the end of the relevant paragraph or section instead of within the general text
  • Describe the type of information or website pointed to by a link, before inserting the link into the text


Creative Commons Icon Content by Xavier University's Instructional Design and Digital Media Department is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.