Open Textbook Accessibility

The practice of web accessibility allows all users, including those with disabilities, to access complete website content. Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. For more information visit Usability and Accessibility of the ICT website.

Another excellent resource included here is the BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit which supports the creation of a truly open and accessible textbook – one that is free and accessible for all students.

Organizing Content

Content is organized under headings and subheadings
Headings and subheadings are used sequentially (e.g. Heading 1, heading 2, etc)


Images that convey information include Alternative Text (alt-text) descriptions of the image’s content or function
Graphs, Charts, and Maps also include contextual or supporting details in the text surrounding the image.
Images do not rely on colour to convey information.
Images that are purely decorative contain empty alternative text descriptions. (Descriptive text is unnecessary if the image doesn’t convey contextual content information).


Tables include row and column headers.
Table includes title or caption.
Table does not have merged or split cells.
Table has adequate cell padding.


The weblink is meaningful in context, does not use generic text such as “click here” or “read more”.
Weblinks do not open new windows or tabs.
If weblink must open in a new window, a textual reference is included in the link information.


A transcript has been made available for a multimedia resource that includes audio narration or instruction.

Transcript includes:

  • Speaker’s name
  • All speech content
  • Relevant descriptions of speech
  • Descriptions of relevant non-speech audio
  • Headings and subheadings
Captions of all speech content and relevant non-speech content are included in the multimedia resource that includes audio synchronized with a video presentation.
Audio descriptions of contextual visuals (graphs, charts, etc) are included in the multimedia resource.


Formulas have been created using MathML.
Formulas are images with alternative text descriptions, if MathML is not an option.

 Font Size

Font size is 12 point or higher for body text.
Font size is 9 point for footnotes or end notes.
Font size can be zoomed to 200%.

Figure 38.1 B.C. Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit by Amanda Coolidge, Sue Donner, and Tara Robertson used under a CC-BY 4.0 International License

If you are looking for more technical descriptions of how to make your work accessible, we suggest you review the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

If you have comments, suggestions, or questions about accessibility please contact the DEU.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

USask Open Textbook Authoring Guide - Ver.1.0 Copyright © 2016 by Distance Education Unit, University of Saskatchewan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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