Guidelines for Accessible Documents

It is vital that all of the material published by UCD is accessible. This includes reports, documents, teaching materials, websites and any other communication materials. Below you will find guidelines and instructions to help you ensure the accessibility of your own content. It is your individual responsibility to make sure anything you create follows these simple steps. You will notice that the creation of accessible content follows three core principles:

  • Appropriate structure and layout e.g. heading styles
  • Plain English
  • Variety and clarity in message delivery e.g. images and video with captions/text descriptions

If your team, unit or school would like accessibility training please email pauric.holleran@ucd.ie.

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  • WAVE.

WAVE is  a tool to help web developers make their web content more accessible. WAVE cannot tell you if your web content is accessible. Only a human can determine true accessibility. But, WAVE can help you evaluate the accessibility of your web content. WAVE is available as a plugin extension for both Chrome and Firefox.

You can use the WAVE Toolbar here.

  • Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker.

Available in Microsoft Office 2010 and above as standard, just like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.

Learn how to access the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office here.

At a glance

A uniform heading structure is often the most important accessibility consideration in Word documents. 

All images contained in a Word document must have alternative text. It is needed in Word documents to provide a non-visual means of representing the content or function of an image. 

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker

Available in Microsoft Office 2010 and above as standard, just like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.

For more information, and how to access the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office, please click here.

Principles into Practice

Ready to get started? Select your version of Word for specific recommendations:

 

Creating Accessible PDFs

PDF files are usually created in another program and converted to PDF. You can create accessible PDF files using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Adobe tools such as InDesign.

Microsoft Office

To create accessible PDFs with Word and Powerpoint, you must first make sure the file you wish to convert to PDF is accessible.

Guide to making accessible documents with Microsoft Word

Guide to making accessible slides with Microsoft Powerpoint

Once your document is accessible, you can convert it to an accessible PDF.

Guide to creating accessible PDFs from MS Office

Adobe InDesign

Guide to making accessible PDFs with Adobe InDesign

Check if your PDF document is accessible

You can check your PDF accessible here.

Three Accessibility Principles for Content Creators/Curators

These three principles have the greatest impact for improving the accessibility of your website. They can be easily and quickly implemented.

Provide Appropriate Document Structure

Headings, lists, and other structural elements provide meaning and structure to web pages.

Users with disabilities need these structural elements to navigate websites.

Guidelines on Using Headings for Structure

Ensure Link Text is Descriptive

Write links that make sense out of context. Use descriptive link text detailing the destination; not just "click here," or other similar phrasing.

Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself.

Guidelines on Using Descriptive Link Text

Write Clearly and Simply

Create your content with the maximum clarity possible.

Well-designed content illuminates concepts rather than obfuscates them.

Guidelines on Writing Clearly and Simply

Further Resources

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Infographic on Web Accessibility

WAVE

WAVE is  a tool to help web developers make their web content more accessible. WAVE cannot tell you if your web content is accessible. Only a human can determine true accessibility. But, WAVE can help you evaluate the accessibility of your web content.

You can test your website's accessibility with WAVE here.

 

 

How to Make Your Slides Accessible

Click here for a guide to making your Slides accessible

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker

Available in Microsoft Office 2010 and above as standard, just like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.

For more information, and how to access the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office, please click here.