Canvas Accessibility

Red lettering Canvas logo

Canvas is a huge portion of our faculty, staff, and students lives.  Accessibility and usability are the most important items of making our experiences with Canvas pleasant and useful.  This guide is dedicated on how to make items more accessible and usable within Canvas.  

Rich Content Editor (RCE)

The Rich Content Editor is used in announcements, assignments, discussions, pages, quizzes, and the Canvas syllabus tool.   
According to the Rich Content Editor's creator there are shortcut keys and works with screen readers.

Hyperlinks

All hyperlinks should have informative text - Link to information within your sentences instead of listing the URL itself.  Example:  "Our five colleges at the Alamo Colleges District offer a vast array of programs and two-year degrees." instead of "Our five colleges at the Alamo Colleges District  found at https://www.alamo.edu/about-us/ offer a vast array of programs and two-year degrees."

Don’t use phrases like ‘Click Here’ and other non-informative link phrases that don't make sense when taken out of context.  

 

See Canvas Link Validator.

Styles

Canvas pages and information should follow the format of page title, section title, paragraph information, and repeat, if needed.  Screen readers will read this structure but will not read font size changes.

image showing proper document structure

In Canvas, page titles are automatically generated at H1 with the page titles. And it's important to have descriptive page names since the page titles also are important portions of the navigation.

 

Page titles automatically use the H1 tag

Within Canvas, you can find the text style on the Rich Content Editor.  Select the text you wish to modify and click the Paragraph drop-down menu to change the text style. You can choose from paragraph, heading 2, heading 3, or heading 4, or preformatted styles.

Image showing the Canvas styles and location

Images

Tables

It is important to organize your content as well as provide "guideposts" for navigation, especially for diverse learners who use assistive technology.  Here are some key factors to consider to ensure your content is accessible.

  • Data is organized in tables and have appropriate headers.
  • Consider using tables to organize your data (e.g., multiple office hours, task lists and dues dates, etc.)

Creating Accessible Tables in the Rich Content Editor

Example Table
Day Times
Mon
  • 11:00 - 12:00
  • 2:00 - 3:30
Tues - Thurs
  • 9:30 - 10:45
  • 1:30 - 4:00

Accessibility Checker

The Canvas Accessibility Checker is a tool used within the Rich Content Editor in Canvas (edit mode) and can be accessed via the icon of a circle with a figure in it.  All places that the rich content editor is available (pages, announcements, discussions, and quizzes) will have this accessibility checker tool.

RCE Accessibilty

Available Canvas Tools

Link Validator

The Link Validator in Canvas is a convenient tool that helps you check your links within your course. As websites change links can get broken or invalidated, so it is always good to check the links prior to publishing your course and periodically throughout the semester.

Link validator button within course settings

Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool (UDOIT)

The Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool (UDOIT) was created by the Center for Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida. UDOIT will scan your course content, generate a report and provide instructions on how to correct accessibility issues.

This tool is meant to be used as a guide, not a certification. It only checks for common accessibility issues, and is not comprehensive; a clean report in UDOIT does not necessarily mean that your course is fully accessible. Likewise, the tool may indicate a possible accessibility issue where one does not exist. In order to understand a UDOIT report, you need to understand the basics of webpage accessibility. 

The UDOIT tool is located in every staging Canvas course. It may need to be enabled in the course navigation to see it in menu.  For more information about UDOIT contact your IIC/DL department and/or your campus Instructional Designer.

Additional Canvas articles

Canvas Guides and Online Community

Ever tried to get help but no one was available? The Canvas Guides, accessed via the Help icon in the left global navigation bar, is also a great resource for accessibility issues and questions. In addition, the Canvas Community also is a great repository of questions and answers from peers as well as Canvas Support. 

Here's a helpful Canvas post regarding accessibility by Doug Holton How to Fix and Prevent Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course.  

Articles that were a great help in this guide were General Accessibility Design Guidelines and Accessibility within Canvas.

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