What do we mean?

Accessible means something is usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their cognitive, physical or cultural situation.

We have a responsibility as educators, as humans and by law to make content digitally accessible.

Links, hyperlinks or URLs are shortcuts that can take you to a different document or webpage.

Accessible Structure (headings and styles)

Heading styles format text consistently and allow assistive technology users navigate your content.

What should I do?

  • Always use heading styles in Word and on the web (e.g. Moodle).
  • Do not manually change the font size by selecting text.
  • In PowerPoint, use the default layouts or check the reading order of added textboxes and images for slides.
  • Organise information under headings and subheadings.

Why do it?

  • For users with blind or low vision who use screen readers, the heading information (rather than font size) is essential to distinguish between different sections. This allows these users to understand the document structure and navigate between
    sections quickly.
  • Users with motor impairments, dyslexia or processing impairments can use assistive technologies to easily navigate around long documents more easily.
  • For users with dyslexia, other processing impairments or non-native English speakers, organising content under headings can help processing. Structuring a document with headings helps users navigate without reading every word and eases extrinsic cognitive
  • For users with blind or low vision who use screen readers, setting the correct reading order for text boxes and images in PowerPoint is needed so content is read in the correct order.
  • As an author, formatting documents in this way leads to consistent formatting and other productivity gains (e.g. an automatic table of contents).

How can I spot these issues?

  • To see if a heading style is applied in Word, move the cursor to the heading, the corresponding heading style will appear selected in the Styles ribbon.
  • Use the Microsoft Accessibility Checker (see later Checking your content section) which flags slides where the reading order may have been modified.

Accessibility scenario activity

Play through the scenario using the arrow buttons on the bottom of the window and select the true/false statements.

Additional information


Updated on: 8 September 2022