Yesterday, we looked at Accessibility Statements and encourage you to also write a statement for your specific Canvas module. Today, we’d like to highlight that each editable page within Canvas has a page accessibility checker.

How does the Canvas accessibility checker work?

Whilst developing teaching materials for Canvas, do consider the online accessibility standards to ensure your content is inclusive to as many students as possible. It is important to ensure equal access and opportunity is provided to all students. This includes students who may have diverse levels of ability for processing information.

To support you with this, Canvas has a built-in page Accessibility Checker to help you. Below is the Page accessibility icon and you can find this underneath the Rich Content Editor window when you Edit Canvas pages:

Canvas - Accessibility Checker icon
Canvas – Accessibility Checker icon
What does the Canvas Page Accessibility Checker check?

The accessibility checker will check a number different accessibility items, such as:

  • Headings: Heading levels really shouldn’t be skipped and remain sequential (i.e. H2 – H4). The accessibility tool does not check whether the first heading is H2 or if headings are sequential compared to the rest of the page content. This is something you need to consider
  • Tables should:
    • Include captions which describe table content
    • Specify scope and the appropriate structure, i.e., rows or columns
    • Have at least one header and not begin with H1 (H1 headers are designated for page titles)
  • Heading paragraphs:
    • These are short a synopsis of the title and should be 120 characters or less
  • Alt text:
    • Visual content should include ALT text describing the content
    • Image filenames should not be used as ALT Text descriptions, and
    • Descriptions should be 120 characters or less
  • Text contrast:
    • Large sized text – 18pt+ (or bold 14pt) should be a minimum contrast of ratio 3:1
    • Small sized text – 18pt- (or bold 14pt-) should be a minimum contrast of ratio 4.5:1

The Accessibility checker is a feature within Canvas’s Rich Content Editor (RCE). The RCE is used to edit pages and descriptive text in your Canvas modules. The Accessibility Checker shoujld be used to check the accessibility of specific pages of content which you edit.

Select the button from the Rich Content Editor toolbar to begin a check (as seen below):

Canvas - Rich Content Editor and Accessibility Checker button
Canvas – Rich Content Editor and Accessibility Checker button
What does it not check?

We still need to be mindful the page Accessibility Checker is only checking the webpage we’re editing. It will not check the accessibility of items linked to or embedded in the page. For example, video.

Being mindful of this, we can ensure our video accessibility is considered elsewhere but just remember, that’s not one of the things the Canvas page accessibility checker picks up.

Running the Accessibility Checker

Once you click the Accessibility Checker icon, Canvas will highlight any issues to be addressed with a panel on the right hand side of the screen. In the example below, we see there are 12 issues on this page and the first issue to be addressed is table captioning:

Canvas - Page Accessibility Checker
Canvas – Page Accessibility Checker

The checker gives opportunity to add in a caption and once this is done and applied, it moves onto the next issue. When all issues have been addressed, you should be presented with the following visual confirmation:

Canvas Accessibility Checker - No issues detected
Canvas Accessibility Checker – No issues detected

This needs done for every page created on Canvas. Remember, this is only checking individual webpages delivered online. It’s not checking the files you link in or videos you embed.

The HTML contained in the webpage allows screen readers to interact with the HTML and it’s more inclusive to our students.

Next time

Tomorrow, we look at Blackboard Ally within Canvas. This is a course accessibility checker which highlights which content needs attention to be improved upon.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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