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It is much easier to build your course with accessibility in mind at the start, rather than going back to fix problem areas later. By incorporating these simple steps into your workflow, you’ll be on your way to building an accessible course.

The following guidelines are to be used in creating both new courses and courses with significant changes beginning in the fall semester of 2012. For a new course, these guidelines should be followed during the development of the course. For existing courses, these guidelines should begin to take shape in the course at the point of redesign. In the case of a student with a disability enrolling in the course, these guidelines become effective immediately and must be followed accordingly.

The various components of a course have been broken down into simple to use guidelines with links to further tutorials and resources where applicable. Again, taking the time to make these small adjustments in your course will have a great long-term impact for student accessibility.

General Design Concepts and Standards

Infographic: Web Accessibility Quick Guide

Infographic Web Accessibility Quick Guide with text description below.

Text Version: Web Accessibility Quick Guide

General Principles

  • Reading Order: Reading order should be the same as visual layout order. 
  • Good Contrast: Use high contrast between the background and foreground objects.
  • Color: Don’t use color as the only way to convey content.
  • Table of Contents: User a table of contents for long documents and web pages.
  • Keyboard: Test for predictable keyboard navigation.
  • Accessibility Checker: Using the accessibility checker provide in MS Office can help identify problem areas.


  • Style Guides: Ensure all content uses the appropriate headings and styles. Avoid using spaces and tabs to create lists and columns.
  • Font Size: Use a minimum font size of 12 point on a word document and 14 point on a PowerPoint. Avoid all CAPS, all Bold or Italics.
  • Link: Make sure links are descriptive and recognizable instead of “click here”. Avoid using color alone to differentiate links.
  • True Text: Use true text whenever possible and not image representative of text.

Images & Tables

  • Header: Table headers should never be empty. 
  • Structure: Table structure should be clear and keep it as simple as possible.
  • Alt Text: Use descriptive alternative text (Alt Text) for any images conveying information. Be as detailed as possible.

Video, Audio, and Presentation (PowerPoint)

  • Video: Avoid flashing or strobing content that could cause seizures.
  • Controls: Provide navigational control features such as a play/pause button and captions that can be turned off or on.
  • Closed Caption: Provide closed captioning for videos and text transcripts for audios. Contact CIT for more details.
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