November 1, 2021

Common Accessibility Mistakes, Part One

Written by Bonnie Kenney, MEd

Creating course materials that are accessible for all students is important.  This article will attempt to address a few of the most common mistakes made when creating materials that will be disseminated electronically. 


  • Add descriptions or alternative tags (alt tags) to images.  This description is a textual alternative for an image and makes it easier to connect the image to its context.  It also allows students with visual impairments to perceive the image.  Suggestions include: 
    • Provide a meaningful description (not “IMG001.jpg”) 
    • Don’t use the word “image” in the description.  Most screen readers tell readers if an object is an image. 
    • Keep it brief and context-specific 
    • Provide a summary for complex charts, graphs, or maps 
    • Indicate if the image is purely decorative 


  • Use good link text when providing a URL in course materials. 
    • Don’t use the word “link” in your links.  Screen readers tell users when they encounter a link. 
    • Don’t capitalize links.  CAPITALIZED TEXT IS HARD TO READ, and some screen readers read capitalized text letter-by-letter. 
    • Avoid using URLs as link text.  Use meaningful text as links.  An example would be “Teaching Resources Home” instead of the URL of 
    • Keep link text concise.  A good rule of thumb is to limit the length of your text to 100 characters or less.