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Graduate Showcase student guidance: accessibility

woman working at a laptop
woman working at a laptop
Jang Lee in the studio, London College of Communication

How to make your work digitally accessible

Read our top tips for making your images, videos and text accessible to everyone, including those with a physical disability, hearing loss or deafness, sight loss or blindness, a neurodiversity, a temporary disability or a different first language to yours.

Images

You can add ‘alternative text’ – or ‘alt text’ – to your images. This helps screen readers describe the image to blind and partially sighted people. It also helps Google return your images more highly in search.

What to do

  • Alt text should be short (125 characters max) and describe what is in the image: ‘2 people in an art gallery looking at a painting by Van Gogh’
  • Don’t use the image file name

Please avoid text in your images. If it’s unavoidable, duplicate the text in the alt text field.

Flashing images

Flashing images in videos – including GIFs – can cause epileptic seizures.

  • Avoid images that strobe or flash more than 3 times per second.
  • If you can’t avoid this, include a warning at the start of a video.
laptop with image on the screen
Charlie Bartlett, Wimbledon College of Arts

Video captions

Adding captions to videos helps:

  • Deaf or hard-of-hearing people
  • People watching your video in noisy situations – e.g. on the bus
  • People whose first language isn’t the language you’re using in your video
  • Google find your video and return it in search

What to do

  • Captions can be:
    • ‘burnt’ or ‘baked’ in – i.e. always visible on the video
    • ‘closed’ – i.e. turned on/off
  • Vimeo and YouTube autogenerate captions. These captions often contain errors, so please check and edit them.
  • Don’t forget to add captions to videos on social media, too. Instagram doesn’t autogenerate captions, but you can use apps such as Clipomatic or Clips (Apple only). Alternatively, use burnt-in captions.
  • You can also download YouTube captions and provide a transcript of the video.
student working on a laptop
Brandon Mosqueda Caidedo, London College of Communication

Colour contrast

Some colours don’t work well together and make your work difficult to see. Other colours have different meanings in different cultures. Try to remember that colour blind or colour vision deficient people will be looking at your work.

What to do

colourful neon installation
Jylle Navarro's Neon installation

Audio

You can make audio content, such as podcasts, accessible by providing the content in an alternative format.

What to do

  • Include plenty of description in your audio, such as describing the setting and introducing the speakers.
  • Transcribe your audio content and make that available as an accessible, downloadable document (see below for more info on accessible docs).
  • Find out more about creating good-quality transcripts.
Girl listening to sound installation with earphones
Girl listening to sound installation, London College of Communication

Documents

You can make your Word and PDF documents accessible.

What to do

Read our guide on how to write about your work clearly.

Library shelves
Library, John Islip Street building

Accessible hashtags

Hashtags that are all in 1 case (lowercase or uppercase) are hard to read – and can cause embarrassing confusion! They are also hard for screen readers to ‘see’.

What to do

  • Use ‘camel case’ – i.e. capitalise the first letter of each word. For example, #WeAreUAL #ArtAndDesign.
embroidery installation
Embroidery in loom installation by Sara Kelly