Make Your Blackboard Course Accessible – Font Styles and Sizes

Laptop on table with text on screen

Use Blackboard’s default font styles and avoid pasting content from Microsoft Word to ensure that text provided to students in Blackboard is accessible.

  1. Using Blackboard’s Default font Styles

    In the second post in this series, I discussed the importance of using headers to create structured information hierarchy for text in Blackboard. This is accomplished by utilizing the built-in heading options in the Blackboard text editor. The same strategy should be used when formatting all text in Blackboard. The font sizes and styles available within Blackboard are all accessible, which means that they are readable by students with vision disabilities. So a good rule is to always use the default Blackboard styles. The image below indicates where in the text editor the basic font options are found:
    Blackboard Text Editor Styles

  2. Accessible Font Sizes

    For traditional computer screens and mobile devices, a font size of 12-14 is generally recommended for paragraph text. To be safe, use the “4 (14pt)” option in Blackboard for paragraph text:

    Blackboard text editor 14 point font

    Use at least the “5 (16pt)” option for headings:

    Blackboard text editor 18 point font

  3. Accessible Font Colors

    In addition to font size, the color of the font used is also important for accessibility. Text is much easier to read when there is a sufficient contrast between the text and the background. By default, the font color in Blackboard is black and the background is white. Black is the preferred color for text, and while other colors may be used, two conditions must be adhered to:

    • Font color must maintain a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1.

    • Color is not used as the sole method of conveying meaning or distinguishing visual elements.

      • Emphasize words or important points by using bold or italics in addition to color as these methods can be interpreted by a screen reader.

  4. Copying and Pasting from Word

    The biggest accessibility issue in Blackboard comes from instructors copying and pasting pre-formatted text from Microsoft Word. When pasting text from Word into Blackboard, the style gets retained and does not typically render correctly on the web. Try using a plain text editor to write your text if you want to do your writing offline.

In general, make sure to use the default settings where possible when styling your font in Blackboard.

  • Apply at least 14 point font
  • Use black text on a white background
  • Use standard headings

These few changes will go a long way toward making your text accessible for all students, both those with visual disabilities and without.

To learn more about creating accessible text in Blackboard, visit the “Write Accessible Content” section of Blackboard’s help site.

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash


  1. John David DeChant June 20, 2020
    • Jim Christiansen September 4, 2020
      • Teresa Acosta September 17, 2020

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