Structuring text content to make it more accessible

From EdTech Help
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Organizing your page with helpful titles and headings creates an outline that helps your audience access the most important information more quickly and easily.

Assistive technology users rely heavily on page titles and headings to navigate complex content. Structuring complex content will help all users parse it as well. Headings allow users to jump from one part of a document to another without using a mouse. Screen readers will interpret headings for those who use them.

Note that for this reason, you should not use headings for typographical effects. If you need to increase or decrease the font size of large blocks of text, please use the Normal Paragraph Format and select a new Font size from the Size menu, or use Styles.

Use Unique and Descriptive Page Titles

Assistive technology users rely on page titles. You will run across the need to specify this when you are creating a page in the Lessons tool or an HTML page in the Resources tool. The title of the new document will be the same as the name of the item as it appears on the left-hand tool menu or the list in Resources.

Do Not Use Color or Spatial Position to Convey Information

Using color or spatial position to convey important information can be problematic. For example, if you were to say, "click the green button on the left," color blind users may not be able to distinguish the button. Screen reader users may have difficulty interpreting "left" because a screen reader reads from the top of the page to the bottom, as well as left to right. Therefore, the best solution is to quote the target label: for example, "Click on Start Assignment," or "Click the Save button."

Add Structure with Headings

If a document can be outlined or you have an outline in mind when writing it, then adding headings will convey its structure. Use short title-like headings that describe the content that follows.

Nest headings appropriately:

  • Heading 1 > Heading 2
  • If you have a section containing three sub-sections, it might look like this: Heading 2 > Heading 3, Heading 3, Heading 3
  • In most cases, you should start with a Heading 1

Steps to Add Headings

More questions about Accessibility?

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This page is adapted from an equivalent Sakai Community help article.

The original Sakai Community help article, unedited, is available at