What is an Accessibility Checker?

These automated tools are built into many commonly-used programs, including the Microsoft Office suite and learning management systems like Canvas.  Most accessibility checkers find problems and provide step-by-step instructions for fixing them.  These checkers are very helpful but can’t detect all accessibility problems!  

Why Use Accessibility Checkers?

Accessibility checkers can catch many design issues that could create accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.  For example, lack of alt-text on an image would cause problems for a person with a visual impairment using screen reader technology.  Many checkers can also measure color contrast and use of color, accessibility of data tables, reading order in Powerpoints, and more. 

What should I do?

Accessibility Checkers are simple to use.  Make them part of your workflow.  Just click the checker after you’ve finished creating material, and it will generate a list of any errors.  Or leave the checker activated while you create content and the checker will catch errors as you go.  Use these links to learn where to find and how to use accessibility checkers for Canvas and MS Office.  Note that the accessibility checker is located in different places in different versions of MS Office for Windows and for Mac.

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checkers

Canvas Accessibility Checker

Be aware!

There are some errors that accessibility checkers cannot detect:

  • Headings & lists: Accessibility checkers cannot tell if headings and lists are needed or if they’re being used correctly.  Check this manually.
  • Named links: Hyperlinks should be given meaningful names, which is a subjective determination that the content creator needs to check.
  • Alt-text quality: Checkers can tell if alt-text is present but not if it’s any good.  Learn how to write great alt-text at ODS’s Keep C.A.L.M. and Describe Images
  • Video captions: Make sure your videos have accurate captions.

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