Accessibility Checklist for Instructional Designers

Instructional designers are responsible for creating inclusive and accessible courses following the universal design principles to guarantee access for all of our leaners. Any course learning materials posted in the course including Word, PPT, PDF, Excel and LMS reading pages MUST adhere to basic accessibility principles. You can download accessible Word, PDF, and Excel training documents from the T&L accessibility training blog.

Incorporating the ten most basic accessibility principles, below is a checklist you can use to design accessible online courses meeting the accessibility standards.

    • Provide a good heading structure.
    • Ensure all readings (PDF) are downloadable and are not scanned images.
    • Provide appropriate alternative text or text description for images.
      • Check the quiz and exam for any missing text description.
      • Exception: decorative images or images in the linked or external resources
    • Use accessibility format-checked templates like the T&L PPT template for live sessions.
    • Create lists using the bullet or number list tools.
    • Add a meaningful and unique text for links.
      • Exception: simple representative URL with specified purposes
    • Add column and/or row header cells in tables and a table caption for complex tables.
      • Exception: role=”presentation” for a layout purpose
    • Choose highly readable fonts, i.e., san serif fonts like Arial, Calibri, & Helvetica.
    • Avoid using color as the only means to deliver information. For emphasis, use font styles (bold and italic) together with color.
    • Ensure a strong color contrast between text and background color.
    • Provide accurate captions and transcripts for video and audio files.
    • Ensure all the videos have closed captions turned on in the player.
    • Do not set auto-play for videos or audio files.
    • Test with a screen-reader and a keyboard only.

Keyboard navigation short keys

Control Navigate Forward Navigate Backward Activate/Select
Input Controls Tab Shift-tab
Button Tab Shift-tab Enter or space
Radio Left arrow Right arrow Selected upon focus
Checkbox Tab Shift-tab Space to select
Select Options Arrow down Arrow up Enter; esc to close
Range Arrow right, page-down, end Arrow left, page-up, home
Links Tab Shift-tab Enter

If you have any questions or suggestions on this topic, please contact Jinhee Choo (