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Text Accessibility

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Three elements to keep in mind when using text:

  1. Use high contrast text and at least 12 point, sans serif font.
  2. Use bold or italics for emphasis instead of underlining (screen readers interpret underlining as links).
  3. Avoid blinking text as well as red or green text or text decoration (such as Word Art, Shadows, 3D, etc.).

1. Use high contrast text and at least 12 point, sans serif font.

high-contrast example

Examples of high-contrast text.

Read more about color blindness and color deficiencies with examples: Color Blindness and the Web

Examples of text with and without serifs:

Find a list of sans serif fonts here: Font Face on the Web

compliant

Examples of serif and sans serif fonts.

2. Use bold or italics for emphasis instead of underlining (screen readers interpret underlining as links):

Underlining is interpreted as a URL, or web link, by some screen readers.

Text for bold and italics-Noncompliant

Non-compliant: Using underlining for emphasis.

Text for bold and italics-Compliant

Compliant: Using bold (or italics) for emphasis.

 3. Avoid blinking text as well as red or green text or text decoration (such as Word Art, Shadows, 3D, etc.):

Avoid using color as any type of indicator or instruction. Color blindness varies greatly and affects a large population to some degree.

Examples of confusing use of color references in instructions:

  • Items in red are required; items in green are strongly recommended.
  • Go to the lessons tab, into the week 1 folder, and find the green link to this week’s presentation.
  • Important items are in RED

Instruction from a syllabus or announcement:

Non-compliant: Red Menu Buttons

Non-compliant: Reference to Menu Buttons

Original: Look at the red buttons in the Blackboard site to find the Lessons and course information.

A color blind student may not be able to tell if the buttons are all the same color, what color they are, or which are red.

Better: Look for the menu of buttons (they are all red) on the left in the Blackboard site and click on the Start Here button at the top.

In this instruction, it doesn’t matter what color the buttons are to be able to follow the instruction.

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