Accessible Web Media

Are you interested in social media outreach? Then you might want to make sure your content is accessible to as many people as possible. We’re going to discuss a few ways you can do this.

WCAG: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines can be found here, WCAG 2 Overview. This is the current standard we at the Help Desk use when writing up our own social media content and it’s one we recommend.

Social Media Accessibility: How do I make my social media content more accessible


If you want to link to something on Facebook, you have to past the full link, at which point a clickable image link will appear. Make sure there are no other forms of media on the post (i.e., graphics, polls, etc.), delete the actual link you pasted in, and make sure that the clickable image link at the bottom is still there (it should be). Now you’re ready to post. Unfortunately, Facebook does not support simplified hyperlinks (trust us, we’ve tried).

Twitter behaves similarly, but instead of deleting the initial link, you just leave the link there in its entirety and Twitter will automatically remove it upon posting while maintaining the blip. And just like Facebook, be sure to clear out any other non-text media attached to the post to ensure the clickable image link remains. Also, if your link is not accessible to viewers, a clickable image link will not appear. Is this the least obvious way to do it? Yes.

Alt Text and Captions

If you can, you’ll want to add alt text or captions to graphics. This can be difficult depending on the format of your social media platform.

For example, Facebook/Meta only allows for alt text and captions when using the Meta Business Planner. Instagram only allows for alt text and captions if you own a professional account.

Twitter posts are easy enough to add alt text to to a graphic just by selecting the “edit” option on a post’s image and then selecting “alt” above said image and entering the text you think best summarizes the image.


Check out the WCAG guidelines linked above for some handy tips and tricks to making your content more accessible. It can be difficult navigating the UI of some social media accounts, so be sure to poke around and do some research.

Tech Tip: Setting Default Apps for File Types, Windows

Inspired by a real call to the Help Desk! This week’s Tech Tip will show you how to change the settings on your Windows computer to open certain file types in set apps by default. For example, if you want to open a PDF in Adobe, but your computer is set you default open PDFs in Adobe, it may instead have been defaulted to open in web browser

  1. Navigate to “Settings” which can always be found in the Windows Logo Start menu on the bottom left corner.
  2. From the list of Settings pages, select “Apps” and on the Apps settings page, select “Default apps.” From here, you can change the default of the more frequently used apps, such as email application, web browsers, and media players.
  3. On the bottom of the page, there is the “Choose default apps by file type.” On the following page, there should be a much longer version of the previous page, but organized by file type rather than web browser, email, media player, etc. Scroll to the file type you would like to open in a particular app, and change the default by selecting one of the apps on your device that appear among the options.
  4. If you do not see the app you want to use, you may need to download that app first. (I.e., if you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can’t select Adobe Acrobat until the app is installed.)
  5. You may also go back a page, and below “Choose default apps by file type” you can choose similar menus to sort through, such as “Set default by app”.

Tech Tip: Using Canvas Text Editor

This one’s for the professors and anyone else running a Canvas course site, especially if you’re having a hard time transferring content from one semester to the other. If you follow our guide, you’ll have one less hurdle to worry about.

Rubric of original semester to next semester, and from external link to internal/course link

Links created by copy+pasting from the address bar are external links, and usually work just fine on Canvas. However, these external links will default to the course page where they were originally taken from. i.e., the course page associated with the initial link. This can complicate updates to or transferring content from those links to new Canvas Course pages for future semesters.

Links that access your Canvas Course page, and are made using the Text Editor’s “Course Links” option are internal/Course links and work better for keeping your Canvas up to date with new semesters and any alterations you might make. These internal links will not be stumped as course pages update from semester to semester.

TL;DR It’s important to use internal/Course links using the Canvas Text Editor Tool when making your Canvas Course Site. If you don’t do this, and instead take the more familiar method of copy+pasting external links from the address bar, those links will lead back to the semester they were originally made in, leaving students scratching their heads as to why the link leads to an unpublished course site that they can’t access.

Check out the Help Desk Wiki for more information, here. See the full link at the bottom of the page.

Tech Tip: LibGuides

LibGuides is an easy-to-use Content Management System used by thousands of libraries worldwide. Librarians and instructors use it to curate knowledge and share information by creating online Guides on any topic, subject, course, on any process, on anything.

You can use LibGuides to create subject, course, or topic guides, use as your library website, store your A-Z lists for easy reuse, create internal guides documenting workflows & procedures, create and maintain staff profile pages, LibGuides is multilingual too, and mobile and tablet-friendly.

I personally like the How-To guides for library resources. If you’re library has a program or tool you’re interested in, you might search their website for a LibGuide on how to access and use said resource. You can learn more in springshare’s tutorial here.

Here’s the UIUC Library listing of Libguides:

Tech Tip of the Week: Screencast-o-matic

Making a presentation or recording some work on your desktop? Take a peak at Screencast-o-matic, a free online software you can use to record your work and audio, edit, and share with others. The free version of Screencase-o-matic gets users started with some simpler, limited tools, which would work for shorter (15 minutes) presentations. The interface is easy to use once you have made an account and completed your download.

^^^ Screen capped from using said software

Meet Arthur!

This week’s Pet of the Week is Arthur!

This “collie something-or-other” is only a few months old, but he’s just about to go into training! He currently works hard by helping Mom around the farm (his job is to sniff all the critters). Great work Arthur!

Arthur, the brown and cream collie, sits on a tractor where a person's feet would go. He is clearly hard at work on the farm.

If you’d like to submit your pet to be the iSchool Pet of the Week, shoot us an email at with their name, photo, and any cute stories you’d like to share.

Tech Tip of the Week: Solstice

When using some of the rooms in the iSchool buildings, you may have the opportunity to use the Mersive Solstice app to wirelessly stream your laptop footage to the room displays. This is very similar to using an HDMI cord to stream from one screen to another, just without the wires! See this iSchool Wiki page below for more details.

Solstice is enabled in 501 E Daniel in rooms 46, 109, 131, and 242, and at 614 E Daniel in rooms 4018, 4035, 4043a and 4043b (aka, the Multi-Purpose Room) 4165, and 5116.

You’ll need to download and install the Mersive Solstice App, which you can do here,

The Mersive Solstice Logo

Meet Muse!

This week’s Pet of the Week is Muse!

Muse is a one-year-old domestic shorthair kitty with a white tummy and armpits! Her favorite hobbies are meowing for attention, unraveling balls of yarn, climbing coats, digging for toys in the couch, and getting into a meerkat pose to look out the window at birds and squirrels. When she’s not causing mischief for her owners Laurel & Mark, she can be found on their laps or in her cat tower warped in seemingly uncomfortable napping positions. Everyone at the Help Desk adores Muse and her groovy sense of style!

If you’d like to submit your pet to be the iSchool Pet of the Week, shoot us an email at with their name, photo, and any cute stories you’d like to share.

Tech Tip of the Week: Using the WebStore

There’s lots of free content for students, staff, and faculty on the UIUC WebStore, from the Microsoft Office Suite, to Adobe, to security software. Check it out the WebStore’s “Personal Purchases” page to see a break down of software categories for easy browsing.

Below is a series of screenshots of webpages you’ll likely encounter when purchasing software in the WebStore. Be sure to log in to the WebStore first. There have been some issues w/ logins to the WebStore, so if you encounter login trouble, please contact the iSchool Help Desk. You can reach us at (217) 244-4903 or (800) 377-1892,, or via chat at

The WebStore Front Page. Note the Personal Purchases and Free Software buttons.
Once you log into the WebStore, you can view Account information in the My Account tab. For this example, we’ll look at downloading from the MicroSoft Products category.
Here we can see the MicroSoft 365 (Office) Suite, specifically for people at the Urbana Campus. Much of the WebStore software will be free, but watch out for prices on right column.
Selecting the MS 365 Office Suite brings us to this product description page. It comes with links, specifications, and instructions on downloading/installing the software.

From this point, depending on which software you’re looking into, directions may vary. Likely though, you’ll download and install the software and be good to go. There may also be limits on how many devices you can install a single instance of software on, so be sure to prioritize installing software on your primary devices.

Canvas Tech Tip: Canvas App for Students

Before the semester begins, it might useful to know more about your options for using Canvas. While the desktop version of Canvas is ideal for getting work done, the App “Canvas Student” allows you to log-in on the move and check in on announcements and notifications more conveniently.

If you need to, you may also enter your Zoom room from your Canvas Student app, presuming you also already have your Zoom app set up on your phone. (The Zoom app is simple enough to set up; download the app, login w/ SSO using “illinois”and DUO 2FA, and get going with your meetings. The settings for Zoom mobile are definitely worth setting up before trying to attend a meeting.)

You can also mess around with the settings in the Canvas Student app, though they are not as in-depth the desktop settings for Canvas. The app’s settings are more directed towards notifications and display, missing much of the organizational and workflow oriented settings.

For further information regarding Canvas’ Student App, check out these links to the official FAQ,

Logging into the Canvas Student App:

Viewing My Courses in the Canvas Student App:

Viewing my personal to-do items in the Canvas Student App: