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Blackboard Ally: Viewing and Understanding a File's Accessibility Score

Ally is an external tool integrated into Canvas that scans the course content you have added to your course site, and assigns it an “accessibility score," which instructors can use to assess and understand the level of accessibility their course materials have, as well as clear instructions for what needs to be done for the course material to become more accessible.

Blackboard Ally is integrated and enabled for all Canvas courses automatically. Instructors do not need to turn on or enable Ally for their course or content.

Table of Contents

Determining a File's Accessibility Score

Blackboard Ally generates an Accessibility Score for every file uploaded to a Canvas course. Ally does this by scanning the file, and determining if the elements responsible for making a document, image, or video accessible are present for people who use screen readers, are hearing impaired, or have other learning barriers.

Some of the things Ally scans for and includes in its Accessibility Score include if:

  • PDF documents have gone through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so scanned images of documents are converted to digital text for screen readers to read
  • PDF documents have appropriate headings and tags, which allows screen reader users to navigate easily among different sections of a document
  • Documents have a language set
  • Images have alternative-text (alt-text) so screen readers can provide users with meaningful information about the contents of an image
  • Videos have captions

Accessibility Score Breakdown

Accessibility Score Color Accessibility Score Accessibility Score Percentage Range
Red Low 0 - 33%
Yellow Medium 34 - 66%
Green High 67 - 100%

Viewing a File's Accessibility Score

  1. Click into the "Files" section of your course from the Course Navigation.
  2. Every file in your "Files" section will have a colored dial icon in the "Accessibility" column.
    1. Click the dial icon for the file you want to see the Accessibility Score report for in more detail.
  1. The Ally Accessibility Score report interface will open over the "Files" section. Here are the components of the report interface:
    1. File Preview
    2. Aggregate Accessibility Score
    3. Main accessibility issue with file and follow information both what the issue means and how to resolve it
    4. All Issues view to toggle through the other accessibility concerns with the file, and their impact on the Accessibility Score
    5. Upload file box to re-upload a new, more accessible version of the file

There are multiple ways to remediate / fix accessibility issues with the tools Ally provides.

In some instances, Ally will walk you through the steps to fix a document or file. In other instances, you can download an “Alternative Format” available to you and re-upload them to your site. Check out our Blackboard Ally: Downloading Alternative Formats resource for more details about finding and downloading  alternative formats of files.

For more help with Blackboard Ally, please email canvas@yale.edu.