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Creating Accessible Resources

Below are some resources that can help us understand the need for creating accessible materials and the tools to support us incorporate this in our standard practice. Developing accessible resources is integral in inclusive teaching and learning practices and will help not only disabled students and staff but will also benefit the whole of our university community.

If we follow some basic guidelines when creating any new documents, webpages or other materials, our resources will be accessible and user friendly for all staff and students. If we get into the habit of always planning with accessibility in mind from the start, instead of having to invest time to retrospectively convert materials, our resources will be accessible by default. Below are some useful tools to enable us to incorporate accessibility in our everyday practices.

Layout

Here is a useful and simple set of rules that clearly illustrate how important layout is at this link.

The format of a document is very important for people using screen readers. Please listen to the following 3 very short clips about JAWS which is a commonly used screen reading software package. The clips have been created to demonstrate how screen readers move through documents.

1. Below is a clip of JAWS reading a document that has not been formatted using the 'style' functions of Word. Close your eyes when listening to this.

2. Now listen to the clip below of the same text formatted using the 'style' function in Word and note the difference. Again it is helpful to close your eyes.

3. The clip below illustrates how the screen reader can navigate through a formatted document.

Microsoft Tools

Microsoft Office Accessibility tool in Word and PowerPoint. This easy to use option in Word and PowerPoint, checks your documents for accessibility.

Microsoft Office guide for creating accessible PowerPoint slides.

Microsoft Office guide for creating accessible Word documents.

IT Services

Take a look at the IT Services guidance on accessibility.

Accessible PDFs

This document contains useful guidance for creating accessible PDFs. The standards, created by UKAAF (UK Association for Accessible Formats), are broken down into two levels: Level 1 that makes a PDF accessible for reflowing and text to speech users and Level 2 that makes the PDF accessible for screen reader users.

University website accessibility statement and guidance

You can find more information about the University's web accessibility statement, guidance for authors and additional resources at this link.

External resources

AbilityNet offer a range of free resources and fact sheets on creating accessible documents. You can also find guidance to employers as well as other resources at the RNIB.