Accessibility (often abbreviated to A11y — as in, "a", then 11 characters, and then "y") means enabling everyone, including people with disabilities, to be able to access digital content. VCSU is committed to continual education and improvement of university digital content. Accessibility can be intimidating. We have broke down the five of the most common topics that you may use and should focus on during a typical work day.

1. Font Size: 

Fonts should be at least 12 points and easily legible. Small fonts and fancy fonts make the text harder to read so it Is best to choose a clean font. Spacing should also be adequate for the text size. Color contrast also plays a part based on font size. The smaller the font, the higher contrast color is required. IE: 14 point font can have a color ratio of 3:1. Font size 12 point requires 4.5:1.

        Example of fancy and small: VCSU Viking Pride! 

        Example of clean font: VCSU Pride! 


2. Color: 

Improper use of color can be difficult to see. Especially when it is like the color behind it. For some with color blindness it may be impossible to tell them apart. 

        Example of insufficient contrast, (i.e: orange on yellow): VCSU Viking Pride! 

        Example of Sufficient contrast, (i.e: black on yellow): VCSU Viking Pride! 

 Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information. When showing graphs and charts, be sure to include text or texture to your graph colors. 

        Instead of using just color, use data labels and/or patterns to make your graph easier to understand:


3. Describe graphics with Alt Text:

Using Alt text (alternative text) helps when your recipient cannot see the images in your content. Screen readers (VoiceOver, Narrator). cannot read images, and  without alt text on an image, a person who is blind would not even know that the image exists. Some examples that need alt text are

  • Pictures and images.
  • Shapes and Clip Art.
  • Text Box.
  • Embedded images with fixed text. *Another way to share information in a fixed image would be to type the message directly into the document space.
  • Logos. *If the image (or logo) is purely decorative you would use the Alt text as option "mark as decorative".
  • Social Media posts.
  • Headshots.
  • Infographics.

Please note, that there is no need to write "image of" or "picture of" before an image. The screen reader will announce what the graphic file is before reading the description. Also, be sure to name the file properly, and not generic such as "image1234.jpg".


4. Link text: 

Descriptive hyperlink text helps recipients understand where the link will take them. Replace any link text that may be generic in nature. It is best practice to have the link open in a new window and to alert the user of the new window.

        Instead of: Click here to read more.

        Use descriptive text: Read the VCSU accessibility policy, opens in new window.


5. Headings, Bold and Italic formatting:

Headings are the main way users navigate in documents. Bold and italics are used for emphasis on text. Headings allow users to jump to each section. Bold and italics do not allow for this feature and are not recommended for use of headings. 

  • Use heading styles H1 - H6 for clear order of navigation and to break up content into chunks. 
  • Heading 1 should only be used once as the page title.
  • Keep your headings in order and do not skip headings.
  • Write descriptive headings to easily search content.

Additional Information from One Stop:

VCSU One Stop How to use the Accessibility Checker

Video: VCSU One Stop How to Create Alt Text

Video: VCSU One Stop How to Create an Accessible Table

Video:VCSU One Stop How to Create Accessible PDF

Additional Information from Microsoft:

Microsoft Disability Answer Desk

Microsoft Accessibility Checker

Video: Microsoft Accessibility Checker

For more information or to schedule a training appointment, please contact:

Debra Dramstad, CPACC 

Web Accessibility & Applications Specialist 

Technology Services | Valley City State University  |  701.845.7344