Accessibility is for Everyone

Ensuring anything a person creates or modifies is accessible has the added benefit of helping everyone. A created object can help people of differing abilities in unexpected ways.


Designing documents with accessibility in mind generally causes them to be better formatted and searchable. This enhances the design of the document itself, while maintaining all the features needed to ensure accessibility. For example, using proper headers creates a navigation structure, allowing for a user to jump around a document easily. The same structure also allows for a single click creation of a table of contents.


Presentations can also have an effect for everyone. Ensuring the arrangement “reading” order of a slide helps to ensure that an outline view is accurate, while also allowing a screen reader device to follow the proper flow of a slide.


Content on the web must often follow similar formatting to what is needed in a document. Extra, and simple, features should be added to web sites to conform to web accessibility standards, especially the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA). Many tools, like WAVE, exist to help evaluate websites and offer suggestions for improvement.


Using the features and extra tools incorporated into Canvas can assist with creating accessible content. Canvas itself is accessible, but it’s still necessary to follow formatting similar to what is needed in a document. Canvas has the added benefit of an added tool, UDOIT, which can check a course for accessibility issues.

A course that is designed to incorporate Universal Design for Learning can make it heavily engaging for all students, and provide needed elements for accessibility at the same time.


Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to watch a video but were unable to as there was simply too much noise? A closed captioned video would have allowed for watching the video while reading its text at the same time. This same experience helps those who are deaf or hearing impaired.