Accessible resources

Examples of ways to make digital materials accessible, plus a link to further more-detailed guidance.

It's very important that staff and examiners check that their materials such as slides, lecture outlines, examinations and other electronic documents are accessible. The key purpose is to ensure as many students as possible can utilise these materials in their learning or assessment without the need for further adaption or support.  

Here are some examples of ways to make digital materials accessible:

  • Ensure that filenames, folders and hyperlinked text provide an explanation of the linked material when read out of context by, for example, a digital screen reader. 
  • Provide titles and headings within documents, images, graphs and tables, using template heading styles where available. 
  • Use text and background colours that contrast well. 
  • Avoid overlaying text on textured backgrounds. 
  • Avoid fully-justified text, as this has uneven spaces between words or characters.  
  • Use a plain font of sufficient size, and avoid italic or CAPITALISED text. 
  • Avoid using colour alone to communicate information within text, images or diagrams. 
  • Provide alternative text explanations on non-decorative images and diagrams.  If the image is a hyperlink then the alternative text should also include the link information.
  • Avoid flashing or moving text or images, and give the user complete control over any scrolling text. 
  • Make audio and video resources more accessible to blind, deaf and Deaf students, for instance using audio description, captions, or a transcript. 
  • Provide a statement indicating how to obtain the resource in an alternative format. 

Standard applications for preparing digital materials often include an accessibility checker that can assist the authors by highlighting some of the common issues. You will find one of these in LearnUltra.

Further information and guidance

University of Edinburgh staff can find more-detailed guidance on the Information Services website on topics such as: alternative formats; large print and coloured paper; Words documents and PDFs; PowerPoint; creating accessible exam papers and handbooks; creating accessible courses in Virtual Learning Environments; and more.

Creating accessible materials - Information Services website