In Word, it is recommended that you use Word styles to provide the document structure. Many people have not been using true styles in Word. For example, when creating a heading (title), they change the font, enlarge the font size, make it bold, etc. If this is done, the document has no real structure that can be discerned by a screen reader.
Word 2007 does a good job of encouraging the use of proper styles, and about half of the default toolbar is devoted to styles. This is undoubtedly the single greatest accessibility improvement in Word 2007.
The advantage of having true structure in Word documents is that the structure will be retained if you export to PDF. The added structure increases the readability of the document for people using screen readers.
Pages should be structured in a hierarchical manner, with 1st
degree headings (
the most important (usually page titles or heading), then 2nd
degree headings (
usually major section headings), down to 3rd degree headings
(sub-sections of the
<h2>), and so
on. Technically, lower degree headings should be contained within
headings of the next highest degree.
In terms of font accessibility, there are a number of principles to keep in mind:
The use of color can enhance comprehension, but do not use color alone to convey information. That information may not be available to a person who is colorblind and will be unavailable to screen reader users.
You will need to add alternative text for all of your images. To add alternative text,on the picture and select .
A dialog box will appear. Select thetab. You will notice that the image filename is entered into the field by default. The filename is never appropriate alternative text. This functionality will almost certainly result in misuse of the alt attribute.
There is no way to assign the table header or
element to a table cell within Word. While you can indicate that a row
should "Repeat as header on the top of each page" in the Table
Properties menu, this does not create the appropriate table headers.
Instead, the cells will all be contained in a
are used to divide the tables into the three main parts of a data
table. While the inclusion of the
element poses no problems, it does not replace the need for the
If you create complex documents, with embedded charts, tables, or other elements, the conversion process will probably not create a file that is completely accessible to screen readers. The embedded elements will likely be ignored by the screen reader because they are unreadable. In these instances, you should consider providing a text description of the elements within the context of the document itself.
Once you have included structure in your Word document and have made accommodations for font, color, images, and tables, you can save your Word document and upload it to BeachBoard.
When saving a Word document as HTML, the structure and alt text will
be retained in the final
document. To save as HTML in Word 2007, select the Word logo in the upper left corner, select Save As, and then select Other Formats.
A dialog box will appear. At the bottom of this dialog box, select
the Save as type: drop down list.
You have two options for exporting to HTML:
The advantage of the first option is that your page will look almost exactly like the printed document. The advantage of the second option is that it will have much less junk HTML. The file size in the second option is significantly smaller, and it still retains most, if not all, of the look and feel of the original document.
Information on this page provided with permission by WebAIM.