Documents with accessibility applied are more easily read by people using assisstive technology and screen readers. Faculty and staff of all technical levels who create content using Microsoft Office 2013 Word and PowerPoint should keep accessibility in mind.
So, what is the difference between an accessible document and regular document? The answer is simply, document structure.
- Headings in a document allow users to skim the structure of a page and navigate to or skip over sections.
- Alternate text on images allows users who cannot see to know what the image is by the description.
- True lists, either numbered or bulleted, emphasize to a reader a sequence of steps or important points (this bulleted list displays all the important points!).
- Table structure allows users to distinguish headings versus table data.
Ponder this question for a moment, does document structure sound low tech or high tech?
Most users are aware of headings and have created a numbered or bulleted list, etc. These are simple low tech enhancements you can apply to your document that will enhance the lives of people with disabilities.
Use the following cheat sheets created by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education to create simple accessible documents:
- Creating Accessible Microsoft Word 2013 Documents (Windows)
- Creating Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 Presentations (Windows)
For additional cheat sheets, visit the National Center on Disability and Access to Education website.
The National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) exists to address issues of technology and disability in education policies and practices to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families.