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Creating Accessible Online Content for SharePoint sites

Guidance on creating accessible online content for SharePoint sites.

Although creating accessible SharePoint sites can be a complex issue, the following guidance is aimed at providing a brief and helpful overview. Unfortunately SharePoint sites can have significant accessibility issues especially with regards to keyboard navigation and compatibility with screen readers. We would recommend checking your SharePoint site by using the tab keys to make sure you can move from link to link from the top to the bottom of the page without having to switch to arrow keys.

More Accessible Mode

Microsoft have introduced a "More Accessible Mode".  This will change the page to basic HyperText Markup Language (HTML) which may assist some users but it is not ideal. For a user to activate this option they need to open a SharePoint page and use the tab key until they get to the "Turn on More Accessible Mode" link and then select this.  While this can be helpful in some cases it does not assist all and does not negate the need to create accessible content.

Accessibility Statements

If you are not using SharePoint straight out the box then you will need to manually test your site for accessibility and create an accessibility statement. The accessibility statement needs to account for the content you have added to the site as well.  An Accessibility Statement is a requirement of the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018

For more information about the regulations, please see The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The definition of ‘accessible’ is based on that set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.2 AA

General SharePoint Accessibility Considerations

  • Ensure that any font colours or background colours you choose have a good contrast ratio, and are ideally a dark text on a light background
  • Don’t place text over an image. This can cause colour contrast issues and ensure that any images added don’t contain text as this would be text as an image and wouldn’t be accessible to screen reader users or users who wish to customise the page.
  • Avoid the use of continuous capitals or italics or underline (other than for links); use bold to emphasise text instead
  • Ensure the font you choose is sans serif and at least 12pt in size
  • Use heading levels throughout your page to ensure that screen readers can recognise headings on the page
  • Use ARIA landmarks this will help screen-reader users to understand where they are on a page - ARIA landmark guidance
  • Ensure that all non-text items have meaningful alternative text descriptions e.g. graphs, charts or images all need meaningful alt-text, that can be understood by assistive technology
  • If you are uploading any audio or video, ensure there are transcripts available and the video has human-corrected captions
  • Make sure you don’t convey any information by sound or colour only, for example, colour coding in a calendar could be inaccessible to some users, and this information should also be provided in another form, not just in colour coding
  • Write all of your content in a simple and easy to understand way, making sure to write out abbreviations in full the first time, for example
  • Avoid using naked URLs, or ambiguous links such as ‘click here’: all links should have clear text that states where the link goes
  • Additionally, try to have links that open in the same tab – if they are going to open a pop up or in a new tab, you should notify the user of this
  • Avoid using any flashing, scrolling or moving items, for example, a photo carousel that cannot be easily paused by the user


If you have any further queries please contact Viki Galt, Head of Disability Information, contact details below.

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