You are here


What's Accessibility and Why is it Important?

Accessibility means that content is equally available to all users regardless of their means of access.  There are certain, basic rules for creating accessible content that will make a big difference for many people.  WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) is a key resource for information on producing compliant content, including detailed instructions for:

Accessibility Practices for Building Courses in BeachBoard 

  • Organize your content into modules to promote easy navigation.  
  • Provide clear titles for each module 
  • When uploading content, give your files clear and specific names.
  • Provide alternative formats for materials (eg. audio or video recording, e-pubs, etc.).   
  • Use alt-text for all images

Other key items all content editors should keep in mind when developing content:


  • Screen reading software reads alt-text in place of images.
  • All images in digital content require alt-text, which should be a short, concise descriptions of what the image displays.
  • It is unnecessary to use the phrase "image of" or "photo of" in your alt-text
  • If there's text on the image it needs to replicated in the alt-text, or the alt-text should indicate that the image is explained in the traditional text of the document.


Suggested heading structure

  • Header should be used to break up the content of your document into sections and subsections.
  • There should be just one 'Heading 1' per piece of content (be it a web page, or word document, powerpoint slide, etc).
  • Headers should nest within each other. The image to the right shares an example of headers properly nesting within one another. 


  • Use row and column headers when placing tables on the web or in a document.
  • Try to only use simple tables on the web. Complex, multi-layered and nested tables may benefit more from other means of production such as an accessible spreadsheet.
  • Always use a heading or caption to identify the title of your table.

Color Use and Contrast

Contrast examples

  • Low contrast color pairings such as yellow text on a white background can be extremely difficult for users to comprehend.
  • Standards for contrast are explained on the WebAIM site.
  • Use of color only to convey meaning, such as using a red or green checkmark to denote success or failure, need to be paired with text to identify the meaning of the visual.