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Make your Digital Media Projects Accessible

1. Use appropriate heading levels

Headings are important because they help readers identify the main points of each section in the paper and allows someone with a screen reader to navigate the document.

  • Use headings tags (e.g. H1, H2, H3) to ensure that people using assistive technology can distinguish between headings and regular body text.
  • Use word's styles function, available in the home ribbon, to tag headings.

word's styles function and where it is located, available in the home ribbon

  • Do not use bold, italics or underline to convey a heading. Use proper heading tags to identify headings (e.g. H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.)
  • Page titles should be labeled within an H1 tag, do no label titles with the Title tag. (e.g. an H2 heading called "Apples" becomes a subsection of an H1 headings called "Types of Fruit")
  • Provide heading elements at the beginning of any important sections of content. This will help people use the browse-by-heading feature of their assistive technology.
  • Do not skip levels when a heading is a subsection of another heading. (e.g. an H3 should not follow an H1)​

2. Choose a legible font

To improve accessibility and legibility and to avoid confusion, follow the guidelines below to select a more accessible font for your users. 

  • Choose a Sans Serif font. Sans Serif fonts are fonts without small decorative lines that are added as embellishment to the basic form of a character.
    • Example of Serif font: Times New Roman
    • Example of a Sans Serif Font: Arial
  • Use a minimum 12 point font for the body text

3. Carefully consider the use of colour

Colour choice affects some people's ability to receive the information. Follow the guidelines below to select a colour palette that is accessible to your users.

  • Use a colour contract tool to ensure that the contrast between the link and the surrounding text is at least 3:1.​
  • Any information presented only through colour cues may not be seen by people who are visually impaired. This includes information indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.
  • Ensure that any information presented only through colour cues is available in text or through other (non-colour) visual cues. Try viewing the page in grey-scale to determine what information is unavailable when viewing the page in this state.
  • For complex graphs or data, use patterns or shapes in addition to colour to convey the differences.

Recommended colour contrast tools:

4. Ensure tables are formatted correctly

Tables need to be formatted correctly so that individuals using screen readers can understand the information being shared in the table.

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table and click
  2. On the Table Tools Design tab, in the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row checkbox
  3. Type the column ;headings

table style options available in word

5. Do not use text boxes

Individuals using screen readers are not able to access text boxes because they are not a part of the original document. This makes the information inside the textbox unavailable.

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