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Open Educational Resources: Accessibility best practices

Definition of Web Accessibility

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.

~ W3 Accessibility Initiative

File Formats

When creating or adapting OERs, it's ideal if you can share your work in as many open file formats as possible. Most software (including Microsoft Office) allows you to export your documents in a variety of formats. 

Open Formats Closed Formats

Open document (.odf)

Epub (.epub)

Mobi (.mobi)

Text (.txt)

PNG (.pgn)

XML (.xml)

MS Word (.docx)

MS PowerPoint (.pptx)

MS Excel (.xlsx)

Photoshop (.psd)

PDF (.pdf)

RTF (.rtf)


Sometimes it's not possible to share your OER in an open file format and that's OK. A good best practice is to share your work in three different formats - two of which should be editable. 

You've created a class activity and you want to share it as an OER. The activity was created in Microsoft Word (.docx) and you convert the file to Open Document Format (.odf) and PDF (.pdf). The PDF version of the file cannot be edited, but the Office and Open Document version are editable. 

Resource: Software Tools for Editing and Authoring

Fonts and Formatting Best Practices

  • Provide the full hyperlink address when possible
  • Make sure your documents work in grayscale formats for colorblind users
  • Audio files should be accompanied by transcripts for users with hearing impairments
  • Video files should include captions and transcripts for users with hearing impairments
  • Use colour schemes that have clear contrast for the visually impaired

W3 Web Accessibility Videos