Making your materials more accessible

What is accessibility? Accessibility is the practice of ensuring that as many people as possible can use, understand, and have access to a technology, infrastructure, tool, product, or service.

Pomodoro Trinity College Dublin

Accessibility is a fundamental part of inclusion. Here in Trinity we are committed to inclusion and complying with European and national law. By making your materials accessible, you are not only helping Trinity comply with these policies but you also help make Trinity a place where all students can achieve their learning goals. Below, teaching staff, support staff, and students, can find some tips to help make all materials more accessible. If you would like more information on policies see Trinity's Accessible Information Policy, and check out our page on Online and Social Media Accessibility too.

If you are interested in learning more about applying accessibility in your teaching or support service practices have a look at our page on Universal Design for Learning.

Accessible materials are only a few steps away!

  • Use a sans serif font (Calibri, Arial). Min 12 size.  
  • Emphasise text using Bold instead of ALL CAPS, italics (italics), underlined,or colour.  
  • Use Headings to organise your content. 
  • Add Alternative Textto images. These descriptions should be meaningful. If the image doesn’t add any information, mark it as ‘decorative’.  
  • Ensure there is sufficient Colour Contrast between foreground and background colours. 

  • Use a sans serif font (Calibri, Arial). Min 24 size.  
  • Avoid ALL CAPS / italics / text shadow / colour. Use bold to emphasise. 
  • Add titles to all slides. Add using a ‘Title Holder’ not a ‘Text Box’. 
  • Alternative Text: Add meaningful descriptions to your image. If the image doesn’t add any information, mark it as ‘decorative’.  
  • Colour Contrast: change your slide background to an off-white to reduce glare; be mindful of colour contrast – avoid grey text / green on red etc.
  • You can go to this website to get an accessible version of the Trinity PowerPoint template, or download our tailored Trinity-INC PowerPoint Template.

  • Avoid merged cells as a screen reader will be unable to parse it correctly  
  • Label everything as people using screen readers use the labels for context. 
  • Give sheets meaningful titles, again this helps give those using screen readers context. 
  • Avoid blank sheets as this will be read by a screen reader and waste time. 
  • Use text to signal the end of a document so that people who use screen readers know they are done! 

  • You can export an accessible PDF from an accessible word document.
  • Scan a document (e.g. chapter from a book) using one of the many free OCR engines that will convert what is been scanned into text that can be read aloud (traditional scanners will only scan into an image).
  • If your PDF is not accessible, e.g an image, ensure that there is an alternative version available like a word document.

  • Add captions so that people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or who simply can’t turn on the sound can access the content. 
  • Avoid flashing content for people who have epilepsy or are light sensitive. 
  • Add an audio description or a narration of content for those with visual impairments. 
  • If you have a speaker in shot, make sure that there is good lighting, supporting those who may lip read. 
  • Keep the length under 5 minutes to maintain attention and interest 

Charts are a big part of the content in lots of different subjects such as STEM subjects, the health sciences, Sociology, Psychology and more. Charts can be hugely beneficial for both staff and students for explaining and understanding complex data. However, as charts rely on various forms of information such as words, numbers, visualisations, and even colour, consideration should be given to their level of accessibility. Below you will find a link to a workbook (downloadable word version also available) which can help you to present more accessible charts.

Trinity-INC has a playlist to troubleshoot the most common accessibility issues. The demonstration in the videos is done in Microsoft word but most of the issues are common to most formats.