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Canvas Course Accessibility Checklist

This article contains a checklist for the accessibilities within a Canvas Course.

Alt Text

When uploading an image to Canvas, you can add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Alt text is text-based description of an image. By default, the Alt Text field displays the image file name. Alt text is read by screen readers, and it displays when an embedded image cannot display. The description should be specific to the context in which the image is being displayed. Effective alt text describes the content of an image in a way that someone who is visually impaired would be able to comprehend. 

Alternatively, if the image is purely decorative and adds no contextual value to the page, you can mark the image as decorative without having to add alt text. Images marked as decorative are not be read by screen readers.

Canvas Accessibility Checker

The Canvas Accessibility Checker allows you to assess the accessibility of the content you are creating. 

Descriptive Hyperlinks

Descriptive text in hyperlinks help students understand the purpose of each link so they can decide whether they want to follow the link. Whenever possible, provide link text that describes the purpose and destination of the link without needing additional text.

Assistive technology is able to provide students with a list of links that are on the Web page. 


Proper use of headings within content not only help sighted students to more easily navigate your course, they also help facilitate screen readers as they navigate through your content. Headings should be used to structure content, they should not be used to style content.

When building a Canvas page you begin with heading level 2 and the page title is heading level 1. To add headings, select the text that you would like to designate as a heading, then select the appropriate heading from the toolbar in the Rich Content Editor.


When you create lists, use the bulleted or numbered list tools. Adding this formatting to your lists allow a student using a screen reader to skim your content for lists and identify the number of items in a list before it begins to read the items.


To ensure your tables are accessible, remember to only use tables for displaying data and information. Do not use tables to create layouts for your pages as this cause issues for students who use assistive technologies.

An accessible table includes the following elements: 

  • a caption
  • a header row
  • Header columns (if applicable)

Text Emphasis

When emphasizing text, it is important to remember to not use color alone as the only way of creating emphasis. Doing so could be problematic for your students who are visually impaired. Also, students who use assistive technologies are not notified of such an emphasis in the content. Instead, include a technical emphasis to any content that you would like to stand out to your students. 

Technical emphasis can include the following text formats:

  • bold 
  • italic
  • underline

Keywordscanvas accessibility course checklist   Doc ID121050
OwnerLinda W.GroupUW Parkside
Created2022-09-02 16:14:47Updated2022-09-02 16:18:33
SitesUW Parkside
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