Basic Guidelines

The summary information on this page (basics by categories, prioritizing and general UM digital accessibility assumptions) is supported by specific topical information in each subsection (the menu on the left).

The basic guidelines below are summarized from standards listed in the UM Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy and Resolution Agreement.

Basics by categories


  • Straight text* documents created at UM should be text-based and have:
    • sequential heading styles,
    • lists that are styles and
    • descriptive links. 
  • Straight text* documents that are acquired from other sources should be, at a minimum:
  • Recommendation for images:  Documents, even acquired ones, that are used frequently or on publically-facing websites should be evaluated and alternative text descriptions provided for images with significance or meaning.  This is at the professor's discretion for course materials.

*Straight text excludes STEM topics and documents with extensive images

Other items


Priority is assigned to:

  • items used for academic purposes or public-facing websites
  • items that will be used by many
  • items that will be used more than once

UM accessibility assumptions

  • Web pages are natively, and more easily made, accessible than other content options.
  • Many common documents are more flexible and accessible in their original programs.  
    • Word processing documents are usually more accessible than the same documents saved as PDFs
    • PowerPoint files are better than PowerPoint saved as PDFs
  • Forms follow the same principles: better as web forms, then Word forms and, if absolutely necessary, as fillable PDF forms.