Creating Accessible Content

In an effort to make academic participation as easy as possible for our students, DSP requests that you take a few simple steps to support us in creating accessible alternative media. As instructors, by choosing class materials which require the least amount of extra effort to convert into accessible formats, you support our mandate to make all of our courses welcoming to the broadest range of students possible. Please keep in mind the following steps as you build your syllabi and assign readings for your classes. In so doing, you are reaffirming UC Berkeley’s commitment to creating an environment inclusive of all students, regardless of their individual ability.

Look for Library Resources First

The University recommends linking to public domain, library-license, or open-access content that is available online rather than uploading copyrighted materials to your course site when possible.

Aside from the benefits of license support for copyrighted materials, Library resources offer formats that are already available in accessible formats.

Details on the Library Resources available to faculty can be found at

Create Quality Scans

Third or fourth generation copies (speckle) or improper scanning techniques (skewing) can significantly impact a student’s ability to convert scanned documents to a more accessible format.

In the event that a document is not available from library resources, please follow these steps for obtaining a quality scan that can greatly improve the accessibility of your online content.

  • Use a clean document.
    • No highlighting, underlining or markings
    • Use original source material and not copies of books or articles
  • Hold down the entire spine of a book when scanning.
    • This will ensure that no text is cut off or skewed
    • To-the-edge scanners are available in the ETS computer facility on the 1st floor of Moffitt and the Alt-Media Center in the basement of Wheeler Hall. These high-quality, general access scanners can assist with issues caused by spine curvature.
  • Scan in B&W and adjust brightness/contrast. The document should have enough contrast so that text isn’t faded and can be easily read.
  • Do not password protect or “lock” your PDF file. This will prevent the content from your document to be read by a screen-reader.

Video: Best practices for creating accessible content

Learn how to best create accessible content for your students in this video presented by Berkeley's Alternative Media Team.

Alternative Media Best Practices at UC Berkeley


SensusAccess is an alternate media and document remediation service for educational institutions. This site allows students, faculty, staff, and alumni to provide document conversion and accessibility services including:

  • Audio books (MP3 and DAISY)
  • E-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi)
  • Digital Braille
  • Digital large-print
  • BeeLine Reader
  • Remediation of inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and LaTeX projects
  • Translate documents from one language into another.

Use the following link to go to SensusAccess to produce accessible reading materials: