ICON (Iowa Courses Online) is the University of Iowa's branded instance of the Canvas course management system. ICON is supported within Information Technology Services.

To learn more about ICON, go to the main ICON page.

The tips shown here will help you to design and deliver more accessible Canvas courses in ICON. For more on accessible course design, contact ITAccessibility@uiowa.edu.

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ALT Text

  • ALT text is necessary. Provide descriptive ALT text with each image, regardless of document format.
  • ALT text is not to exceed 100 characters. If your ALT text is longer than 100 characters, create a link to a longer description from the image
  • ALT text must not be the filename of the image.
  • ALT text is rewired for images used as links or buttons


  • Data tables require header rows. Header rows define context for the individual data cells.
  • Header cells require SCOPE. SCOPE helps assistive technology (AT) to associate header and data cells.
  • Avoid using tables for layout or positioning. Layout tables add spoken information, and can be confusing and disorienting for AT users.


  • Links require text. Links without text are meaningless to users of assistive technology.
  • For images used as links, ALT text is link text. Compose ALT text accordingly.
  • Link text must reflect purpose of link. Provide link text that is more robust than “Click Here”, “Learn More” or “GO”.


  • Headings add structure to your page. Use headings to introduce new sections or topics.
  • Ensure that headings contain text. Headings without text are meaningless to all users.
  • Do not skip heading levels. Users of assistive technology navigate documents by heading level.


  • Color contrast is necessary for many learners; use a tool like Colour Contrast Analyzer to ensure sufficient contrast between background and foreground colors.
  • Do not use color alone to distinguish between options or objects. Help learners distinguish with additional properties like texture or shape.


  • Digital media require captions (video) or transcript (audio)
  • Captions must be synchronized with timed media
  • If you recorded with a script, you already have a transcript. Sync it up for quick captions.