Making your thesis ADA accessible allows those using screen readers and other assistive computer technologies to reader your thesis. This means that more people will be able to read your thesis online therefore increasing the size of your audience and potential citations for your paper.
Use the heading styles in MS Word to designate headings in your paper rather than using bold characters and larger font sizes. Heading styles are recognized by screen readers and help people navigate your document. Using Heading Styles will also make it easier for you to automatically generate a table of contents for your document.
Alt Text stands for Alternative Text. It's text that sits behind an image that is computer readable. Screen readers can't read images and describe the contents to a reader but Alt Text can. Add a few words of Alt Text to all of your images, figures, charts, tables and graphs so that people using screen readers know the context of the image.
To add Alt Text:
Captions help screen readers navigate through a document. Additionally, captions help you automatically generate a table of figures for your paper.
To add a caption:
In MS Word 2013 you can check your document for accessibility issues. Word will check your images for alt text and other issues although, keep in mind, it's not checking everything (e.g. heading styles).
To check accessibility in MS Word 2013
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