10 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Accessibility

“Supports to make learning accessible should be built into learning software and hardware by default…Modern public buildings include features such as ramps, automatic doors, or braille on signs to make them accessible by everyone. In the same way, features such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, enlarged font sizes, color contrast, dictionaries, and glossaries should be built into educational hardware and software to make learning accessible to everyone.” - 2017 National Education Technology Plan

Accessibility of digital materials is federally mandated, and a key part of the national vision for transformative educational technology. But while universal and accessibly designed technology is a legal obligation, creating content that all students and their families can access is also an essential part of meeting our mission as teachers. If our content and learning opportunities exclude some of our students, we can't be effective educators. 

So how can you get a jumpstart on making your content more accessible? Here are 10 simple fixes you can apply today when creating documents, websites, blog posts and other educational resources in your classroom: 

  1. Give your document a clear and meaningful title
  2. Use true headings and ordered lists to organize your content
  3. Write in plain English and avoid large paragraphs                                             
  4. Provide text alternatives for audio and video content
  5. Use descriptive links – avoid “click here”
  6. Add alt-text to images; use null (“”) for images that are purely decorative
  7. Ensure tables have headings and labels                                 
  8. Check color contrast. Level Access is one good tool you can try!
  9. Avoid using images of text
  10. Be sure that forms are labeled and can be filled out using keyboard only

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