59 General Accessibility Considerations

Accessibility Considerations – In General

  • What you put in is what you get out. It is critical that you start with a well formatted accessible document.
  • Headings need to be set properly, using styles or the proper tag
  • Tables need to be coded properly so that they read correctly.
  • Media requires an alternate format.
  • Links should be descriptive – e.g. McMaster University Website not Click Here
  • Include page numbers.
  • Input metadata, the author, title, and language, and accessibility formats
  • Ensure proper colour contrast. If you aren’t sure, check the document with the ACE ePub Checker.

Headings & Body – General

  • Ensure the structure of the document has been created, and your document flows logically.
  • Headings should be nested, that is go in order from a H1 to a H2 to a H3 and not jump from a H1 to a H3
  • Headings should never be bolded text with an enlarged font, this does not help the reader navigate through the document
  • These headings provide the structure for your table of contents.

Lists and Tables – General

  • Lists and Tables are helpful to organize information, but they need to be structured properly.
  • Don’t use a table purely to position content on the screen.

Accessibility Considerations – Media

  • Media should include alternatives such as captions and transcripts.
    • In Word it is only possible to add online video – ensure videos are captioned prior to uploading
    • InDesign – captions will need to be added as Open Captions through another program such as Premier Pro
    • HTML add the caption file to the same container as the video file
  • Don’t convey meaning solely by vision alone, ie links that are based on colour alone, images of text.
  • Images should only be of pictures, not words, or documents.
  • Images or other visual elements need to have a textual description provided.
    • In Word, this is done by right clicking on the image and selecting edit alt-text.
    • In InDesign this is done with Object Export Options and Alt Text
    • In HTML this is done within the IMG tag
  • One thing to note, if you find that your description is too long for the Alt-Text, the Diagram Centre has created a Best Practice article on Authoring Extended Descriptions in ePub

Accessibility Considerations – Math

If you are adding mathematical equations to your ePub you are likely quite familar with programs used to create mathematical content in computer programs. To create accessible math content in your ePub you will need to use the following math formats

  • Microsoft Word – MathType
  • Adobe InDesign – LaTeX
  • HTML – LaTeX


  • Metadata is important as it provides not only the information regarding the title and author, but also the accessibility information about this publication.
  • Metadata tells the reader whether they can expect alt-text for images, if the document is structured, if any videos contain captions.
  • In the Word to Epub program this can be done in the Advanced screen.
  • For more information on formatting your Metadata please see Daisys Accessibility Metadata page


Accessible Digital Content Training Copyright © by Jessica Blackwood and Kate Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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