Accessibility for Instruction: Getting Started

This guide gives an overview of best practices for making instructional materials accessible to all students.

Seven Core Skills

Start with these seven skills.

Feeling overwhelmed? Pick one of these guidelines to start working on in your instruction. Once you feel comfortable implementing that guideline, choose another. There is more information about each of these skills elsewhere in this guide. You can also learn more about each skill at this page created by the University of Minnesota.

Alternative Text

  • Insert alternative (alt) text for images that convey information. Repeated logos or decorative images do not need descriptive alt text.
  • For images that are purely decorative, insert empty alt text using the html code alt=""
  • Do this for all images, including those used in word processing documents, on the web, and in slide presentations.


  • Contrast - Ensure that the colors you choose can be easily differentiated. Here's a handy color contrast checker. Low contrast colors can be hard to read or interpret.
  • Meaning - Avoid using only color to convey meaning. Users with color blindness may not be able to differentiate the colors you've chosen. For example, you could say "the word with the square around it" instead of "the red word."


  • Headings are essential for screen reader technology to navigate webpages and documents.
  • Use headings to structure documents, whether on the web or in word processing software.
  • LibGuides, Microsoft Word both have built-in heading styles. You can see heading examples in this box.


  • Don't underline text that is not hyperlinked. Users may assume underlined text is a link.
  • Make hyperlink text descriptive. For example, "learn more about making links accessible" is better hyperlink text than "click here."


  • Use lists to structure large blocks of text and facilitate scanning.
  • Use numbered lists for sequenced steps.
  • Use the built-in formatting tools. Don't create lists manually by inserting numbers or characters and indenting.


  • Use tables to organize data.
  • Designate a header row.
  • Don't use tables to create a design or layout. Screen readers can have trouble reading the cells in the intended order.

Video and Audio

  • Ensure all videos you use in your instruction have captions
  • Machine-generated captions are not good enough on their own, but they can provide a starting point for a human to go in and make corrections.
  • Ensure the audio in the videos you use adequately describes the visual information.

KU Resources

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