Screen Readers and Browsers
Canvas Navigation with a Screen Reader
Canvas makes extensive use of ARIA landmark regions. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) defines ways to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. Therefore, the best way to get around in Canvas is to navigate via regions. Within regions, Canvas uses HTML headings, so navigating between headings can be helpful.
When using a screen reader, the Canvas page navigation menu is as follows:
1. Main navigation
2. Context navigation
3. Breadcrumbs navigation
4. Main region
5. Complimentary information
6. Content information
Canvas-wide Accessibility Components
Moving Content within Canvas
- Course Navigation
By pressing the comma key, users can view a pop-up window with shortcuts for keyboard navigation. Keyboard shortcuts are available on the following Canvas pages:
- Assignments Index Page
- Course Settings: Navigation Tab
- Discussion Threads
- Modules Index Page
Accessibility within Specific Canvas Features
Several areas within Canvas have been specifically improved for accessibility. Other features may be limited at this time. This section highlights several feature areas and accessibility behaviors.
Font Sizing. The Canvas interface uses rem sizing for fonts so any typography will meet the following: it will zoom when the browser is zoomed, and it will scale if a custom browser sized font is chosen or set from a browser's setting.
- The Rich Content Editor includes an accessibility tool that checks common accessibility errors within the editor. This tool can help you design course content while considering accessibility attributes and is located in the Rich Content Editor menu bar. Learn how to use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor.
- Alt text should be added when embedding external images. Learn how to embed images from the web in the Rich Content Editor.
- Closed captions should be embedded for videos uploaded to Canvas. Learn how to create or upload captions for videos within Canvas.
- Headings for table columns and rows can be changed in either the Rich Content Editor or the HTML Editor view.
- Learn how to create accessible tables in the Rich Content editor (accessibility document).
- Learn how to edit content in the HTML editor.
Calendar. The Calendar supports Agenda View, which lists all assignments and events in a list or agenda format. Learn how to access the Calendar Agenda View.
Quizzes. Quizzes allows instructors to moderate a quiz for individuals requiring more time or who need multiple attempts. Learn how to grant extra time or attempts in a quiz.
Gradebook. Both the default (assignment) Gradebook and the Learning Mastery Gradebook support an individual view, where instructors can view assignments and grades for one student at a time. Learn more about individual view in the Gradebook and Learning Mastery Gradebook.
- High Contrast UI: When enabled, this feature offers higher contrast in buttons, tabs, and other areas throughout Canvas.
- Underline Links: When enabled, this feature underlines hyperlinks in navigation menus, the Dashboard, and page sidebars.
Chat tool. The Chat Tool has an option to enable audio notifications when new messages are posted.
SpeedGrader/DocViewer/Annotations. Students can now access annotations and comments with a screen reader, including information about the annotation type, author name, comment, and any reply comments at the end of the document. Please see blog post for more information.
Accessibility of Third-party (LTI) Integrations
Some integrations are non-optional hosted services within Canvas. Any accessibility issues for Canvas-hosted services should be submitted as a help ticket via the institution's support process. We are open to suggestions for new integrations and have an area in the Canvas Help Forums forums for feature requests.
Additional Accessibility Resources
SALSA. Styled & Accessible Learning Service Agreements (SALSA) is an alternative to the default Syllabus in Canvas. Salsa is an open source web application being developed at Utah State University.
Significant contributions to this guide were made by:
- John Raible: Instructional Designer for the Center for Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida
- Nancy Swenson: Instructional Designer for the Center for Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida