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Accessibility Guidelines

JTDS strives to present all content in formats that are accessible to all potential audiences, even when publishing work that incorporates a range of multimedia formats. To ensure access for the widest possible range of users–including those who may use screen readers–we ask that authors consider the following guidelines. These guidelines are not intended to override accepted accessibility standards such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), but rather to inform authors about common accessibility issues for documents.

During the submission process, you will be asked to confirm that your submission follows these accessibility guidelines. If you would like assistance in meeting these standards, please reach out to the JTDS managing editor as early as possible.

Text Documents

We require article submissions in Microsoft Word rather than in PDF.

  • When including in-text hyperlinks, ensure all links include meaningful text that indicates where users will be directed (“resource list for teachers,” as opposed to “click here”).
  • When including submissions with significant length text (more than a few paragraphs or so), include headings. Headings allow screen readers and other assistive technology to identify and navigate to sections of a document. Visit Microsoft Office support for how to add headings in Word.
  • Format lists so they are accessible to assistive technology users. See Microsoft for how to create list formatting in Word.
  • Use the automated accessibility checker to help you check for issues. See WebAIM for help with the Word accessibility checker.
  • Not all accessibility issues can be accurately checked by automated checkers, so it is not necessary to follow all of the automated checker’s recommendations when you have a valid accessibility reason not to do so. For example, it is acceptable to include urls in your reference list even though the checker will flag them.

To make a reference list more accessible, suggestions provided by librarians with accessibility expertise include:

  • Hyperlink the title of the source in the reference list as well as providing the url. This allows you to create the title as meaningful link text for users with disabilities who need this, as well as to provide the url for good reason.
  • Use the “list” feature in Word to make each item in the bibliography a list item. Choose the option not to display bullets for the list. (Not using the list feature for lists disadvantages some assistive technology users.)
  • Creation of some citation style features with some current assistive technology can be excessively difficult. Articles will be published online and copy editors will format bibliographies in order to meet best practices for accessibility, not necessarily citation style guidelines.

Multimedia Formats

You can include multimedia elements with your submission including images, videos, or audio files.

  • When including images, provide brief alternate-text (to be used for alt tags) that describes each visual being presented. The maximum recommended for screen readers is 125 characters.
    • For complex images such as flow charts, graphs, or other visualizations, please provide a caption in your document that fully describes the image.
    • For numerical data visualizations, provide the complete data set as an appendix to your document. See Microsoft to learn how to add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object.
    • Please embed images in the document, and include web-resolution original images as .jpgs in a compressed .zip file.
  • Videos must be fully captioned and hosted as publicly visible or unlisted videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or When including video media, ensure audio description is available for visual content necessary to understand the video (e.g. a video of a talking head giving a lecture typically would not need an audio description). Audio descriptions are necessary for video projects that rely on visual rather than audible information. Where appropriate, you may provide an alternative audio-described video version for people who have visual disabilities. See WebAIM for more information about audio description and examples of audio-described videos can be found on
  • When including audio or video media, provide a link to the recording, hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or along with a full transcript of the spoken text and descriptions of any unspoken sounds as a separate Word document labeled transcript.
  • Flash files will not be accepted because support for the platform will be discontinued in the near future.


In the Resources and Ideas section, links to course websites are accepted. It is the responsibility of the author to assure the submission conforms to the most current version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) so that the resource is accessible to JTDS readers, or to provide an alternative version that conforms to WCAG standards. Authors should be familiar with how the alternative resource would provide substantially equivalent ease of use for people with disabilities including users who are blind or visually disabled and those with limited mobility who use screen readers, speech to text, or keyboard navigation to access traditional computers. JTDS editors reserve the right to request modifications or reject submissions that are found not to comply with these expectations.

The editors understand many teachers and instructors do not always have the level of support from an expert in web development needed to assess conformance to WCAG. In this situation, suggestions include:

  • Use NCDAE’s cheat sheet to do some preliminary evaluation of the website.
  • Use a browser extension like aXe (for Firefox or Chrome), built-in audit tools (Chrome), or an external website checker like WAVE to identify and correct accessibility issues.
  • Provide a textual description of the website that offers a substantially equivalent understanding of the resource for JTDS’s readers, including those who are blind or low vision, Deaf or hard of hearing, or have limited mobility.
  • Describe how the website could be included in a universally designed teaching situation planned to include learners with a variety of needs. Alternatively, if you are submitting an example of an unsuccessful situation, you may want to describe why the website should not be used.
  • Communicate with the editors to explain how you believe you can make your submission substantially accessible to JTDS readers, including the groups listed previously, in spite of not having the capacity to thoroughly evaluate conformance with WCAG.
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