Make Your Blackboard Course Accessible – Using Headers

Woman holding a magazine with headers

Headers and Information Hierarchy

Structure course documents and text with styled headers in order to maintain information hierarchy.

One of the important aspects of accessibility for people with visual impairments is the use of headers and information hierarchy. When used properly, this allows screen readers to easily navigate through web pages, text documents such as PDFs or Word docs, and presentations.

In Blackboard, use headers whenever you create items, blank pages, announcements, or other text-based content. This allows you to break up text in a structured way and it makes the text screen readable. If you only use font styles and sizes to indicate structure, this will be lost on a screen reader.

To create headers in Blackboard, use the built-in headers available to you in the text editor as follows:

  1. Create a new Item, Blank Page, Announcement, etc.
  2. Give your new item a “Name” or “Subject”
  3. Type or paste your content into the text editor. The “paragraph” style is applied to all text by default.

    Note: Avoid pasting formatted text from a rich text editor such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. This will copy not only the text but all the extra formatting (including font size, font type, etc.) you have given your text in the rich text editor. Try a Plain Text Editor instead.

  4. Highlight the text you want to make a header, and click the dropdown on the text editor menu directly to the right of the “Strikethrough” icon.
    Blackboard Font Style Dropdown in Text Editor
  5. Organize your content using the three header styles by creating a logical hierarchy:
    • Heading
    • Subheading 1
    • Subheading 2

The following video walks through the steps listed above.

Pro tip:

Once you have styled your headers, they are now screen-readable. If you choose, you may now apply further styles to the headers, such as larger font sizes or colors. But do this only after you have added the headers.


Featured image by
Marten Bjork

One Response

  1. Taylor Fayle October 4, 2018

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