Ally guide for faculty

  • What file types does Ally check?

    Ally currently checks the following file types:

    • PDFs
    • Word Processor Documents (e.g., Word, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, etc.)
    • PowerPoint
    • Images

    Spreadsheets (e.g., Excel, Google Docs, etc.) are currently not evaluated, but this functionality may be added in the future.

  • What accessibility issues does Ally flag?

    Ally currently checks the following file accessibility issues:

    • Potential seizure triggers
    • Logical heading structure
    • Alternative (alt) text
    • Table accessibility
    • Sufficient color contrast
    • Link appropriateness
    • PDF tags
    • Accessible text in PDFs (vs. scanned document image)
    • Document language and title
  • How does Ally indicate accessibility?

    Ally provides a small icon adjacent to each type of file it checks, which indicates the following general level of accessibility:

    Red: Not accessible, or mostly inaccessible

    Yellow/orange: Somewhat or partially accessible

    Green: Accessible or mostly accessible

    NOTE: Students do not see these colors/icons.

  • Accessibility scores and additional information

    Clicking on an accessibility icon for a particular file brings up the Accessibility Score and the following information:

    • File name
    • Accessibility score
    • Description of accessibility issue
    • Information about why or how the issue impacts accessibility
    • "How to" instructions for how to improve the accessibility issue
    • Option to drag-and-drop or upload a more accessible version in instances where overwriting and replacing a less accessible version is possible

    If there is more than a single accessibility issue, the information box includes an "All issues" button/link. Clicking this button/link provides information about all issues. When there is more than one issue to be addressed, this feature helps to make all changes at once instead of making a correction, uploading to test the accessibility, making new changes, re-uploading and so-on in a piecmeal fashion.

  • What accessible versions Ally make available to students?

    A drop-down arrow exists right after the link to a downloadable file in WebCampus. Clicking this arrow/link provides students with an option to download the file as it exists or to generate one of several types of more accessible versions.

    Selecting Accessible versions allows the user to select one of the following types of files:

    HTML. An HTML version for viewing in the browser or on a mobile device. This version may provide a better experience for users leveraging screen readers.

    ePub. An e-book version that works with e-readers such as Kindle, an iPad, or web-based ePub readers.

    Electronic braille. An electronic braille (BRF) version of the file for use with electronic braille displays.

    Audio. A single MP3 audio version of the file.

    More accessible PDF options

    OCRed PDF option. If the document is a scanned PDF, Ally uses ABBYY Fine Reader technology to perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which automates text extraction. Assistive technologies can read and search text in an OCRed PDF with varying degrees for reliability.

    Tagged PDF option. If the document exists in a format that can be converted to PDF and automatically provided with structural tags, which guide assistive technologies when reading a document.

    No PDF option: If an untagged PDF file exists, there is no option to download another type of PDF. When instructors click on the Accessibility icon for these files, they are prompted to use the source program to save the file as a tagged PDF. In most of these cases, the original file was not saved using the appropriate accessibility options when converted to PDF.