Guidelines for Online Courses
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that all learners can access, engage with, and experience your course(s), including those using keyboard navigation and/or screen readers.
- Avoid hyperlinks like "click here", "this", or "link". Link text should be short and descriptive so the user knows what the link is for.
- Screen readers have an option to list and read all hyperlinks on a page. A list of twenty items all reading "click here" would not be instructive or helpful.
- Research shows that sans-serif fonts (e.g., Arial, Helvetica) are more easily read on computer monitors than serif fonts (e.g., Times New Roman).
- Black text on a white background is recommended.
- Use only one font type (i.e., one consistent font family, not several different ones).
- Use headings when appropriate (format the text as a heading; don't just visually change, the appearance).
- Limit use of all CAPS, italics, or bold text.
- Avoid using underlining for emphasis because it can be mistaken for a link and cause confusion.
- Format lists of information into actual bulleted or numbered lists (i.e., use the list buttons on the toolbar).
- Tables should only be used when necessary for presenting data, not for visual layouts of unrelated content (e.g., to line up two columns of unrelated information). Tables need headings so information is read in the proper order.
- All images should have alternative text (often called "alt text") for ADA Section 508 compliance. Screen readers are then able to read what the image is.
- The alternative text should communicate the same information in text as the image does visually.
- If the image does not convey any meaning and is just for a visual effect, mark it as "decorative" whenever possible so the screen reader knows to ignore it.
- There should be a high contrast between the background color and the font color (e.g., black text on a white background is ideal).
- Avoid extremely bright colors, because they make text difficult to read.
- Color should never be used as the only method to convey meaning (e.g., make sure your charts can be read and understood even if they are changed to black and white).
- Refrain from using animated or blinking images, text, or cursors. These can cause seizures for some people.
Video and Audio
- Provide closed captioning and/or an accompanying text-based transcript for all video.
- Provide text transcripts for all audio files.
Web Accessibility Resources