Making Design Accessible: Fonts, Color Contrast, and Alt Text

Accessible fonts, color, and alt text for visual images are very important and must be factored into the design of your content. The information on this page will help ensure your text and images are accessible to all users. To view any of the Google Slides tutorials larger, click the full-size icon ( full size icon from google slides ) underneath each embedded presentation. You can use the arrows and play buttons ( back arrow, play triangle symbol, forward arrow ) or pause button ( pause button showing 2 parallel lines ) to proceed at your own pace.

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How to Choose Accessible Fonts

These fonts are recommended because they are most likely to be accessible to all users. Combine a sans-serif font with a serif font in your document or website to create a more appealing design.

Acceptable Font Types


Sans-serif fonts are recommended because they have a slightly higher readability than serif fonts. Their appearance is more block-like and less decorative than serif fonts.


In serif fonts, the tops and bottoms of the letters contain decorative edges called “serifs,” which some say bear a resemblance to little feet. There are many accessible serif fonts, but in general, some are slightly less readable because they contain those decorative elements that sans-serif fonts do not.

Other factors to consider

Good accessible font types have a certain level of legibility, including good height, width, and thickness. Font availability is also very important. Ideally, it’s best to use a font that is fairly popular and available to most users. Fonts on the “Highly Recommended” list are considered among the highest-rated with regard to readability, legibility, and availability.

Fonts on the “Other Acceptable Accessible Fonts” list are accessible and acceptable, but may be slightly less readable, legible, and/or available for some users.

Highly Recommended Fonts

  • Verdana (sans serif)—used by many accessibility sites
  • Tahoma (sans serif)
  • Arial (sans serif)
  • Georgia (serif)—UNCG brand body font
  • Palatino (serif)—UNCG brand body font
  • Lucida Sans (sans serif—Windows)/Lucida Grande (sans serif—Mac)
  • Book Antiqua (serif)
  • Helvetica (sans serif)

Other Acceptable Accessible Fonts

Accessible and acceptable to use, but may be slightly less readable, legible, and/or available for some users.

  • Sofia Pro (sans serif)—UNCG brand body font
  • Pluto Sans Heavy (sans serif)—UNCG brand headline font
  • Andika (sans serif)—great for print disabilities; free download available
  • Calibri (sans serif)
  • Century Gothic (sans serif)
  • Trebuchet MS (sans serif)
  • Times New Roman
  • Garamond (sans serif)
  • Bookman Old Style (serif)

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How to Check for Color Contrast

What will be learned?

Learn to detect problematic color contrast and make adjustments to improve color contrast to the required 4:5:1 ratio for text and 3:1 ratio for images.

Why is it important?

Adequate color contrast enables learners to process visual information in text and images by distinguishing items from one another. Good color contrast reduces cognitive strain and confusion and makes designs easier to understand. Poor color contrast can make text hard or impossible to read.

Who benefits?

Appropriate color contrast helps everyone, and it especially supports people who have low vision, color blindness, visual stress, dyslexia, presbyopia (changes to vision that normally accompany aging), and other conditions.

To access this presentation as a PDF, download “How to Check for Color Contrast” and open it in Adobe Acrobat.

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How to Create Alt Text


In this How-To, users will learn how to create alt text for images in PowerPoint and Google Slides. PowerPoint and Google have many features built-in that help people with different abilities to read and author documents and presentations. In this short set of slides, learn how to check images and graphics in your slides, making sure they are designed for all students and users of your course content.

What will be learned?

Participants will learn how to create alternate text (also known as alt text) to describe images.

Why is it important?

This is an important skill to know because we often have slides and presentations in our online courses, and knowing they are fully accessible is needed for all student success.

Who benefits?

This benefits students who are differently abled (specifically those with visual impairments) but also benefits all students through universal design.

To access this presentation as a PDF, download “How to Create Alt Text” and open it in Adobe Acrobat.

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