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Master's Thesis & Capstone Project Guide: ADA Compliance

This provides general guidance for authors of master's theses and creative project reports prepared while at at Dominican University of California. Please read the guidelines carefully and consult with your thesis advisor and the Library.

ADA Compliance

Why is ADA Compliance Important?

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.

Video: Introduction to Screen Readers

4 simple things you can do to make your thesis ADA compliant

1. Add Heading Styles to 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.

Adding Heading Styles in MS Word

2. Create Alt Text for all images, figures, tables and graphs

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:

  1. Right click on an image in your document
  2. Choose Format picture
  3. Click  Alt Text on the dialog box that appears
  4. Enter a few words that describe the picture

3. Add Captions for your images, figures, tables and graphs

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:

  1. Click on an image
  2. Go to the References section in the Ribbon of MS Word
  3. Add some descriptive text
  4. Choose whether to label the item as a figure, table, or equation
  5. Choose whether to position the caption above or below the image (be consistent)

Adding captions in MS Word

4. Check your paper for accessibility

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

  1. Click on the File tab
  2. Cl;ick on Check for Issues
  3. Choose Check Accessibility
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