Checking for Accessibility

Northwest Online has just become a little easier for ensuring accessibility in your course sites. We now have two tools available to help check your site for accessibility.

  • Built-in Accessibility Checker:  The built-in tool will check content as you build your site using the Rich Content Editor.  Please note, this checker is only for the content on that page/item.
  • UDOIT:  This added tool will check an entire course site at one time. It can be found in your course navigation.

Northwest Online Built-in Accessibility Checker

The Rich Content Editor Accessibility Checker assists instructors and course designers to maintain accessibility requirements in Canvas content. This tool only verifies content created within the Rich Content Editor. An institution may also use other accessibility tools to verify additional content in Canvas.

The Accessibility Checker is located in the Rich Content Editor menu bar. Depending on the size of the browser window, users may have to scroll the menu bar horizontally to view the Accessibility Checker icon.

RCE toolbar

The Accessibility Checker verifies attributes within the editor and notifies the content creator of common accessibility errors. The Accessibility Checker provides a user-friendly explanation about any errors and provides the fields or menus needed to fix the error. The explanation also provides a link to additional resources to educate content creators about the accessibility guideline. The content creator can easily correct the error and apply the fix using the editor.


All components are designed according to the template set in the institution’s Theme Editor.

This tool verifies the following accessibility rules:

  • Table captions: Tables should include a caption describing the contents of the table.
  • Table header scope: Tables headers should specify scope and the appropriate structure.
  • Table header: Tables should include at least one header.
  • Sequential headings: Heading levels should not be skipped (e.g. H2 to H4). However, the tool does not check if the first header starts with H2 or whether the headings are sequential with the rest of the content in the page. Tables do not begin with H1, which is allotted to the page title.
  • Heading paragraphs: Headings should not contain more than 120 characters.
  • Image alt text: Images should include an alt attribute describing the image content. In an upcoming release, alt text can be included when uploading an image to help minimize this error. Additionally, users can identify image as decorative, which do not require alt text.
  • Image alt filename: Image filenames should not be used as the alt attribute describing the image content. Currently, files uploaded directly to Canvas create a redirect that does not properly verify image filenames, which will be corrected in an upcoming release.
  • Image alt length: Alt attribute text should not contain more than 120 characters. In an upcoming release, alt text can be included when uploading an image to help minimize this error.
  • Adjacent links: Adjacent links with the same URL should be a single link. This rule verifies link errors where the link text may include spaces and break the link into multiple links.
  • Large text contrast: Text larger than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 3:1.
  • Small text contrast: Text smaller than 18pt (or bold 14pt) should display a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1.

Note: For text contrast, the Accessibility Checker verifies color using the same calculations as the WebAIM tool. However, currently the checker only verifies against Theme Editor templates with High Contrast Styles. To verify color contrast, enable High Contrast Styles in user settings before enabling this feature.

Northwest Online Added Accessibility Checker

You might have noticed the added accessibility checker, UDOIT, in your course navigation. UDOIT (pronounced, “You Do It”), Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool, enables faculty to identify accessibility issues in their Canvas course content. It will scan a course, generate a report, and provide resources on how to address common accessibility issues.  It was created by the Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) at the University of Central Florida (CDL). This tool will identify “errors” and provide “suggestions” for announcements, assignments, discussions, files (i.e., .HTML files), pages, syllabus, and module URLs.

It will check for the appropriate use of the following:

Please note, some items cannot be examined by UDOIT. These include external documents and some videos/audio files for captioning/transcripts.