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Accessibility Guide for Digital Content

Creating accessible content is not just for students with disabilities but benefits all learners. Learn how to design course content or documents to be accessible.


The main idea

Use "alt text" to provide an alternative way for a screen-reader user to know what an image depicts.  


What's important?

The rationale for using an image is important for determining what the alt text should be.


Specific use: If you are using the image for a distinct purpose, the alt text should describe the image well. For example, if you were using the photo above for a botany class, you might write alt text that reads "Hydrangeas, which thrive best with full sun in the morning."

Decorative use: If you are using the image for illustration, the alt text can be simple. For instance, with the photo above, you could enter "Flowers." Some platforms will provide a checkbox for you to note that the image is merely decorative, thus requiring no alt text.

Tool Tips

Canvas Tool Tip

Placing your cursor on an image allows you to access the Image Options to create alt text. There, you can enter a short or longer description or check the box next to Decorative Image.

Canvas Image Options with field for alt text

See Manage Alt Text for Images Embedded in the Rich Content Editor (Canvas) for an illustrated guide.


Microsoft Office Tool Tip

Right-clicking an image gives you a menu where you can add or edit alt text.

Image menu in Microsoft Word

See Add Alternative Text (MS Word) for an illustrated guide.