Ally helps make your course experiences more accessible by providing:

    • On-demand alternative formats of common file types for all learners.
    • Instructor-specific reporting and feedback to help improve content accessibility and usability.
    • Institution-wide reporting to help gauge ADA-compliance and to provide metrics for identifying training and support opportunities.

Accessibility scores 

Ally automatically checks for accessibility issues in your new, existing, and updated course content, then assigns each item an accessibility score based on the number and severity of the issues. These scores are represented by a numerical scale, from 0% to 100%, and a colored gauge with a low, medium, or high tag.

Ally runs in the background on your course and provides feedback automatically as part of your normal course workflow. You will find the Ally indicators to the right of each content item, in the menu area of each individual content page, and within the Course Accessibility Report. Clicking any of these indicators will take you to the Instructor Feedback Panel where you can find step-by-step instructions for improving the accessibility of your original file.

How to fix common Ally issues

Why use headings

    • Facilitates Reading
      • Headings can provide structure and clarity. This can help students better understand the content and facilitate reading.
    • Essential for students with visual impairments
      • Headings help people using a screen reader navigate a document. Imagine reading a book without any chapters or titles.
    • Easier Navigation
      • Headings can help students understand the structure and content of a document and make it easier to find a specific section.

Proper heading structure

    • Begin at One
      • When using headings on a page you should always begin with Heading 1. This acts as a title for people using assistive technology and describes the page as a whole. A page should typically have only one Heading 1.
    • Subsequent Headings
      • Heading 2 through Heading 6 represent increasing degrees of indentation in a page's structure. These should always be used in order without skipping levels.

Adding and fixing headings in a document

    1. Highlight the text that should be marked as a heading.
    2. Click Heading 1 from the styles menu.

Adding and gixing headings in HTML file on D2L

    1. Enter edit mode for the desired D2L page by choosing "Edit HTML" from the dropdown to the right of the page title or the button at the bottom of the item's page.
    2. Locate and highlight the text you would like to format.
    3. Click the style menu and choose the proper Heading.
    4. Follow the same steps to apply desired Headings in the proper sequence as described above.
    5. Click Save and Close.

Locating and removing empty header tags

    1. Enter edit mode for the desired D2L page by choosing "Edit HTML" from the dropdown to the right of the page title or the button at the bottom of the item's page.
    2. Place your cursor at the beginning of your page text.
    3. Use the down arrow to move from top to bottom through the text while watching the Format button on the edit bar. Any empty lines should register as Format or Paragraph. If an empty line registers as a Heading, either delete the line or choose the Format button and change the selection from Heading to Paragraph.

Table is missing headers

Tables should have header rows for screen readers to keep information organized.  To fix this issue:

    1. Right click on the table
    2. Click Table Properties
    3. From the Rows tab, check the box that says Repeat as Header Row at the top of each page

What is an image description?

An image description sometimes referred to as 'alternative description' or 'alt text', is a textual alternative for an image. It makes it easier to connect the image to its context and allows students with visual impairments to perceive the image. Descriptions should be added to all images, including those embedded within PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and other documents.

Why use image descriptions?

    • Facilitates searching
      Image descriptions help your students to find the images more easily.
    • Provides better context
      Clear image descriptions make it easier to connect your image's content to the context in which it's used.
    • Essential for students with visual impairments
      Students with visual impairments have difficulties perceiving images. Image descriptions offer them an equivalent experience.

How to write a good description

Provide a textual alternative.

An image description should provide a textual alternative to the image so that people with a visual impairment can get an equivalent experience. Descriptions also make it easier for all students to connect the image with the context.

    1. Right click on the image
    2. Click Alt Text
    3. Add a title AND description

Fixing untagged PDF files

The Instructor Feedback Panel provides step-by-step instructions for fixing untagged PDF files if you have the original word processor file that was used to create the PDF. If you receive the Untagged PDF message but are unable to locate the original file, and cannot find a suitable alternative you can link to through the Delta Library, you may be able to use an Ally Alternative Format file to recreate the PDF with accessibility features enabled. 

Note: This procedure should not be used to edit content downloaded through the Delta Library. Posting PDFs from library databases, journals, etc. typically violates the copyright. In most cases, permission is required prior to posting these types of PDFs/documents. We encourage instructors to link to articles in their courses – this does not violate copyright. See more on the Delta College Fair Use and Copyright for Online Education page.

What to do

    1. In your D2L site click the Alternative Format icon to the right of the PDF   and download the "HTML" version 
    2. Copy the resulting HTML page content into Word and edit as needed to correct any text or formatting issues.  The structure and accuracy of the resulting HTML file is highly dependent on the complexity and quality of the original PDF file. If the PDF was created from a scanned image or has a very complicated structure the HTML file may not usable.
    3. If there were any other accessibility issues with the PDF now is a great time to fix them.Use the Microsoft "Check Accessibility" feature under the Review tab to look for common issues.
    4. In D2L, upload the Word document as a replacement for the original untagged PDF.  If you need this to be a PDF use the Save As option and be sure to activate accessibility features, this will create a tagged PDF.

What is color contrast

Color contrast is the difference in brightness between the text color and its background. Sufficient contrast is necessary to ensure the legibility of the text.

You can still use color and shades provided there is sufficient contrast. Use a tool like the Paciello Group Contrast Analyser to verify.

Why use sufficient contrast

    • Ensures legibility
      • Low contrast text can be difficult to read for everyone, especially when projected in class.
    • Essential for students with color blindness
      • Color vision deficiency is fairly common; it affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women. Text with low contrast can be difficult for them to read.
    • Low-quality monitors or glare can make it worse
      • While certain colors can be easy to read in normal light, they can be difficult to read in bright light or on low-quality monitors.

How to fix color contrast issues

    1. Click the drop-down arrow next to the filename and choose "Edit HTML."  You can also use the "Edit HTML" button at the bottom of the page.
    2. To check for specific accessibility issues click the "Accessibility Checker" icon (eye with checkmark underneath).
    3. Use the page down arrow on the right of the Accessibility Checker window to locate any text with contrast issues.
    4. Locate and highlight the low-contrast text and click the "Select Color" icon (capital A with a paintbrush) from the Tools menu to open the color selection pane.
    5. In the color selection pane, choose a new color and check the contrast analyzer at the bottom of the window. If there is sufficient contrast you should see green check marks next to Small Text and Large Text boxes. It is good practice to look for a color with a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 or higher.
    6. Repeat this process for any additional elements that have contrast issues, then save your file.

What this means

The title attribute in HTML files is used to identify a page and populate the page tab in your browser. 

The title you enter when creating a file/page within D2L is used as a title for the entire D2L page (Course title, navigation, content frame, etc.) but is not assigned as the title of the content you enter, which is treated as a frame within the overall page. When checking for a page title Ally currently scans the content frame rather than the overall page causing the "HTML file has no title" flag.

The language attribute in HTML files is used to help identify the language used for text on a web page. This information helps search engines return language-specific results. It also helps screen readers determine the correct language profiles and provides information for applying specific accents and pronunciations when reading the content. 

 How to fix HTML title and language issues

    1. In the tools bar, choose the plus sign with the drop-down arrow and then choose "Attributes".
    2. Choose the tab on the right, "Page Attributes" and enter the title of the page and the language used.