Making Content Accessible
The Department of Health and Human Services has created a series of checklists for users to refer to when creating Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Multimedia and HTML files. These checklists are excellent tools to use to ensure all of the content a user has created is compliant with Section 508. As would be inferred, there are many traits required for compliance that appear in multiple checklists. Below is a list of the traits that are common to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF.
General File Properties
- Does the document file name not contain spaces and/or special characters?
- Is the document file name concise, generally limited to 20-30 characters, and does it make the contents of the file clear?
- Have the Document Properties for Title, Author (Georgia Highlands College—should be listed as Company), Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, and Language been filled out?
Font and Color Properties
Does the document utilize recommended fonts? If there is a question about a font please contact eLearning.
- Book Antiqua
- Comic Sans MS
- Courier New
- Georgia (specifically designed for use in electronic media)
- Tahoma (specifically designed for use in electronic media)
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet MS (specifically designed for use in electronic media)
- Verdana (specifically designed for use in electronic media)
- Does the document refrain from using flashing/flickering text and/or animated text?
- Is the color contrast ratio between foreground text and background color at least 4.5:1?
- Does the document utilize recommended fonts? If there is a question about a font please contact eLearning.
- Is the document free of background images or watermarks?
- Do complex images (i.e., charts and graphs) have descriptive text near the image (perhaps as a caption)?
- Have all multilayered objects been flattened into one image and does that image use one alternative text description for the image?
- Do all images, grouped images, and non-text elements that convey information have meaningful alternative-text descriptions?
Changes and Comments Properties
- Have track changes been accepted or rejected and turned off?
- Have comments been removed and formatting marks been turned off?
- Do all URLs contain descriptive hyperlinks (i.e., avoid generic phrases like “Click here”; inform users about the content of the linked page prior to selecting it)
- Are all email links accessible?
- Are all URLs linked to correct Web destinations?
- Has a separate accessible version of the document been provided when there is no other way to make the content accessible?
- Has the document been reviewed in Print Preview for a final visual check?
These components not only help to make the content accessible, but they are basic principles of good design as well.
The full checklists are available below: