Center for Online Learning
Georgia Southern University

Accessibility: Document Types

Choosing the appropriate document type for your online course files will help you meet the needs of diverse learners who use assistive technologies like screen readers.

Web Pages (.html)

Five Stars Best Choice

Web pages (HTML files) are the most appropriate document type for online courses. HTML supports assistive devices like screen readers which read text-based content out loud to visually impaired users. Web pages enhance interactivity and integrate very well into the Learning Management System, Folio.

The Folio Foundations Course Template provides course developers with a template for HTML-based content that meets accessibility standards.

Portable Document Format (.pdf)

Three Stars Good Choice

PDF files meet the needs of diverse learners in online courses because they are displayed in Web browsers as text documents. Word and PowerPoint files can be saved as PDF files and uploaded to Folio. Be sure to follow document structure rules when creating Word and PowerPoint files.

PDF files of scanned text cannot be read by screen readers because they are images and not text. If you have to scan printed text, use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that reads and converts printed documents to digital text.

Word (.doc or .docx)

One Star Avoid

A drawback of Folio is that its Document Viewer renders Word files uploaded to the course as images which cannot be read by screen readers and hyperlinks to Web pages become un-clickable for all users. It is perfectly acceptable to create content with Word, but save and upload to your course as PDF.

If you must use Word files in your course, be sure to inform students that the documents can be downloaded to their computers and devices. Screen readers can read native Word files on users’ computers.

» Microsoft: Making Word Files Accessible.

» WebAIM: Making Word Files Accessible.

 

PowerPoint (.ppt or .pptx)

One Star Avoid

A drawback of Folio is that its Document Viewer renders PowerPoint files as images which cannot be read by screen readers and hyper links to Web pages become un-clickable for all users. It is perfectly acceptable to create content with PowerPoint, but save and upload to your course as PDF.

If you must use PowerPoint files in your course, be sure to inform students that the files can be downloaded to their computers and devices. Screen readers can read native PowerPoint files on users’ computers.

» WebAIM: Making PowerPoint Files Accessible.

Macintosh Users

The Save as PDF feature in Word and PowerPoint for Mac is not as robust as it is for PCs. Your PDF files will still be more accessible than Word or PowerPoint files in Folio, but they will lack some important accessibility features.

Best Practice for Mac Users: If you use a Mac, best practice is to open your finished Word or PowerPoint file on a PC and use the PDF conversion feature.

» Making Accessible PDFs With a Mac

Last updated: 9/29/2016

Center for Online Learning : : Henderson Library, Suite 1303 : : (912) 478-0049