Accessibility Checklist for Media Team

In addition to the ten most basic accessibility principles, below is the list of the considerations to design accessible multimedia resources meeting the accessibility standards.

    • Provide captions and transcriptions.
    • Use the accessible slide layouts.
    • Use shorter sentences with fewer clauses.
    • Avoid using background images and watermarks.
    • Ensure sufficient color contrast between text and background.
    • Use font size at least 24 pots for a slide.
    • Avoid using underline, color alone, and CAPITALIZATION.
    • Use crisp and legible graphics.
    • Avoid using blinking or flashing content.
    • Coach the instructor elaborate complex graphics verbally during recording.

Multimedia accessibility can be categorized into three sections: caption, design, and description.


Captions and transcripts are required for multimedia resources. 41% of videos are incomprehensible without sound or captions and 98.6% of students find captions helpful for learning ( 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound and 75% of all videos are played on mobile (accessibilityoz). All of this shows the importance of caption for the videos.

However, just providing a caption is not sufficient. We are required to provide a quality caption as shown in the two lawsuits filed by the National Association of the Deaf against Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These two universities were accused to provide inaccessible MOOC courses and other video content with either not captioned or inaccurately captioned videos. It is our responsibility to make all content including both video and audio files on our websites, Mediaspace, Compass2g, and Coursera courses accessible regardless of where it comes from.

In addition, for live broadcast and live sessions, we are required to provide live captions if requested.

Design: Slide

    • Use the T&L template or built-in accessible slide layouts with each slide having a unique title.
    • Use shorter sentences with fewer clauses for easier reading to help people with reading difficulties or language learners.
    • Avoid using background images, busy background, or watermarks.

Design: color & contrast

    • Ensure text legibility with strong contrast (1:3 ratio for headers, 1:4.5 for body text).
    • Avoid red and green together.
    • Avoid light text on a dark background.

Design: Text

    • Use font size at least 18 pts for regular text in print, 24 pts for PPT slide, 72 pts for Poster headlines.
    • Avoid using a variety of typeface to avoid confusion.
    • Avoid using funky, stylistic typefaces.
    • Use line spacing at least 1.2 or 120% of the font size for more than three lines of text.
    • Use font styles (bold or italicized) for emphasis.
    • Avoid using underline, color alone, and CAPITALIZATION.
    • Use Left-alignment.
    • Avoid hyphenating across line breaks

Design: Image

    • Use crisp and legible images and graphics.
    • Do not use images of text.
    • Make sure to correct the font style and size of SmartArt and Table (Arial 28).
    • Avoid squeezing a SmartArt (or other images) onto the same slide as at the text.
    • Use the full slide space for the image.
    • Add copyright statement for images and articles.
    • Create a Reference Slide with any images, graphs, articles, books, or other sources referenced in the slides following the T&L Style Guide.

Design: Flashing Content

    • Avoid using blinking or flashing content, including gifs for decoration or emphasis.
    • If a flashing object needs to be used, make sure that it must not flash more than three times in any one second period.

Design: Player

    • Do not set auto-play.
    • Make sure that the player can be paused and resumed.
    • Ensure keyboard-only navigation in the Compass2g and Coursera.


Though providing a quality description for visuals used in the videos or live sessions is the instructor’s responsibility, the media team can train the instructors and make the process more efficient during the recording or editing stages. For example, ask instructors to speak as clearly as possible without much background noise. For complex images and graphics, in particular, coach the instructor to explain them verbally with details in front of the camera.

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