Pope Tech Accessibility Guide

Pope Tech Accessibility Guide

Creating Canvas course materials that are accessible for all users is important for student success. "Accessible" means that instructional material is designed in a way that allows all students to access and engage with the content. For example, ensuring that videos include closed captions; using PDFs that are searchable and able to be translated into other languages; including alternative text for images so screen readers can accurately convey image content. When using Canvas, you have access to the Pope Tech Accessibility Guide to assist you in this important work.

The Pope Tech Accessibility Guide is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is integrated into the Canvas interface. It allows you to do real-time checks on your content and fix accessibility errors before you publish content for students. Watch the video or follow the instructions below to learn how to the Pope Tech Accessibility Guide to ensure that your instructional material is accessible for all users.

Pope Tech Accessibility Guide Video

Using the Accessibility Guide

The Pope Tech Accessibility Guide button is to the left of the Cancel and Save buttons at the bottom of any content item in Canvas where the Rich Content Editor is available (Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Pages, Quizzes, and Syllabus). The Accessibility Guide button is a stylized P within a circle.

PopeTech button in Canvas



Once selected, the Accessibility Guide side panel will open on the right side of the screen, providing immediate accessibility testing and feedback on the content in the Canvas editor.

PopeTech Interface in Canvas

Using the Accessibility Guide

The Pope Tech Accessibility Guide is organized into five sections:

  • Images and Links
  • Text and Contrast
  • Headings
  • Tables and Lists
  • Documents

Within each of these categories are results for common accessibility errors and guides for improving the accessibility of your content. There are two types of flags in the Accessibility Guide:

PopeTech error icon

 An X in a box indicates critical accessibility Errors that need to be fixed. Things such as missing or vague alternative text for images, unacceptable color contrast, or incorrect heading structure.

PopeTech alert icon

An exclamation point in a triangle indicates warning Alerts for items that aren't critical but should be reviewed for accessibility errors such as verifying that videos contain closed captions and checking table structures.

The results are interactive. Selecting a result in the Accessibility Guide will highlight the Canvas content in question.

In this example, the Accessibility Guide has flagged 1 critical error and 1 warning alert pertaining to Images:

  • 1 Image Missing Alternative Text (1)
  • 1 Image with Suspicious Alternative Text (2)

It is also making note of 3 images with Alternative Text that should be reviewed for accuracy and succinctness (3).

PopeTech Accessibility Checker Images and Links section open

Expanding each section provides additional documentation, examples on how to fix the issues, and the ability to apply changes to your Canvas content from within the guide.

In this example, expanding the Missing Alternative Text section brings up the image on the Canvas page that has no alternative text included with it. Alternative text serves several functions:

  • Screen readers announce alternative text in place of images, helping users with visual or certain cognitive disabilities perceive the content and function of the images.
  • If an image fails to load or the user has blocked images, the browser will present the alternative text visually in place of the image.

The Accessibility Checker allows you to add alternative text right here, or "mark as decorative" those images that don't convey information but are used for visual effect only.

Selecting Apply puts your changes into effect.

PopeTech Missing Alternative Text Error


Here is another example from the Headings section. The Accessibility Checker has identified that the current heading structure on the Canvas page may be incorrect. Opening the Headings section we see the reminder that Canvas adds the header 1 for you as the page title. The next header should be header level 2, and so forth.

Simply use the dropdown menu on each heading level to update it. Select Apply to see your changes and verify they are as you intend. 

PopeTech Heading Structure Before and After Changes Applied

While the Pope Tech Accessibility Guide cannot automatically detect all accessibility issues, it can help significantly improve the accessibility of your content.

Rescanning and Closing the Accessibility Guide

As you apply suggested changes to your Canvas content, you can immediately test the accessibility of your change by clicking the Rescan button at the top of the Accessibility Guide.

Use the X at the top right corner of the section to close the Accessibility Guide.

You can also use the question mark icon to send your questions about the Accessibility Guide, or accessibility in general, to the UO Online Team.

PopeTech Accessibility Checker Rescan and Close buttons

Accessibility Tips

Run the Accessibility Guide each time you create content

  • The Accessibility Guide can be used to remediate or fix past accessibility issues for existing content, but it is always easier to create accessible content from the outset. A good practice to incorporate is to always run the Accessibility Guide before you save your content.

Review all images

  • All images in your content will be flagged as an Error, Alert, or Feature. Review alternative text for all images, not just the Errors and Alerts. Sometimes alternative text is present and is noted as Feature by the Accessibility Guide because it doesn’t accurately and succinctly present the content of the image.

Review the Documentation

  • Each result has documentation about what it means, why it matters, and how to fix it. You can access this by selecting the button with the ? icon next to the result description.
  • Some results contain an example tab that shows good and bad relevant examples for the corresponding accessibility principle. Take time to look around at the Pope Tech supporting documentation to learn more about accessibility.
  • The documentation also contains the relevant standards with links to more information.