Course Accessibility Checklist

Whether it is a document, webpage, email, or infographic, designers should always consider the following best practices to create accessible and user-friendly content.

Course Accessibility Checklist
Content TypeDescriptionMicrosoft Office/PDFCanvas


  • Heading styles give a document structure by category or topic (Heading 1 through 6).
    • Heading 1: Document Title or a major section
    • Heading 2: Major subsection titles
    • Heading 3: Further subsection titles, and so forth
  • Use of headings to ease navigation within a document.
  •  Headings allow for a table of contents to be generated automatically.
  • PowerPoint does not use headings instead of using slide title. Every slide should have meaning and unique title. If the same topic, add i.e. 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3.




  • Avoid extremely long and wordy sections.
  • Avoid unusual word, jargon, and acronyms as possible.
  • Provide definition or explanation for abbreviation.
  • Avoid center align paragraph.
  • Use strong not bold; emphasis not italic.
  • Use different visual elements such as color, fonts, spacing and imagery to increase readability.




  • Use alternative text (alt text), a written description of images and/or objects. Be brief and descriptive.
  • “Image of…”or “photo of…” or “graphic of” is not needed.
  • The best method to practice is using captions, this will provide equal access to all users.
  • Best Practices for Accessible Images


  1. Select colors with deep contrast between the foreground and background.
  2. Use the Colour Contrast Analyzer to ensure accessible contrast.
  3. Provide captions if using color to convey meaning i.e. which section is highlighted in red?




  • Links should be clear and directly relate to the title or heading of the linked page.
  • Use “Visit the Universal Design Center” instead of “Click here for more details.”
  • Do not use the same link text to refer to different resources.
  • Do not use different link text to refer the same resources.
  • Best Practices for Accessible Links





  • Use tables to organize data not format as layout.
  • Tables are read from left to right, top to bottom.
  • Do not create table using the Draw Table Tool.
  • Avoid merged, split, or blank cells.
  • If data tables are present in document, they must have:
    1. Provide title (i.e. Caption) and Summary
    2. Heading cells for columns or rows






 Accessibility Checker



Conduct Accessibility Evaluations


This policy is a result of work of the Educational Equity Committee, a Standing Committee of the CSUN Faculty Senate. It requires all faculty to submit their textbook and/or instructional materials requests by a University deadline established by Academic Affairs that is to be included in the University calendar and that is not less than eight (8) weeks prior to the beginning of each semester. Contact the CSUN Campus Store to identify textbook and course pack selections as soon as possible. The purpose of timely submission of textbook and/or instructional materials requests is to allow the CSUN Disability Resources and Educational Services sufficient time to ensure accessibility for all students. 

All print-based and other instructional materials must be accessible to students with disabilities at the same time they are available to any other student (see rationale below EO926 and AA-2007-04), and, the CSUN Disability Resources and Educational Services must have sufficient time to convert materials into the appropriate alternate format to achieve accessibility.  

Library Course Reserves

Books not available in electronic format can be placed on course reserves. See Library Course Reserves, How to Put Materials on Reserve or see Course Reserves FAQ for more information.

Video/Audio Captioning

Videos, captured lectures, recorded presentations – instructional media – must all have captions. (This is existing federal law, state law and CSU policy.) Whether it’s on Canvas or in a classroom, all instructional media with audio must be captioned. Contact NCOD: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ncod@csun.edu) for information on getting closed captions and transcripts for instructional media. For more information about Captioning.


"Universal Design" means design for everyone

Make one design that fits everyone including documents, website, media with captioning.

 Accessibility & Universal Design Tutorial (PDF) PDF icon

Designing for Accessibility: Do's and Don'ts (UK Posters) (PDF)PDF icon