Brightspace Accessibility

Alternative Text, Closed Captions, Hyperlinks and External Content

On this page:

Alternative Text

Alternative text is a text description of visual information. When adding an image, you will be prompted to add alternative text:

Brightspace alternative text promptEnter a concise description in the Alternative Text: field. Mark images that do not convey information may be marked as decorative by checking This image is decorative and screen reader software will ignore the image. Note: this method limits alt text to 200 characters.

If you have an existing image without alt text, right-click on the image and select Image:
Brightspace image menu
Enter alt text in Alternative description field and click Save:
Brightspace insert/edit image window
Note: adding alt text using this method does not impose a character limit.

The Accessibility Checker will display “Images must have alternative text” if alt text is not added. Alt text can also be added from inside the accessibility report panel.

Consider why each image has been included. Some images may be a useful way to break up blocks of text and reinforce information. However, avoid adding numerous decorative images as this will unnecessarily clutter the content pages.

Read more about alternative text.

Image Titles

By default, Brightspace will create an image title from the alternative text.[1] The title appears in a tooltip box when the mouse cursor hovers over an image in Brightspace:

To modify the title of an image, and in turn the tooltip:

  1. Select the image and open the Other Insert Options menu on the Brightspace Editor toolbar.
  2. Select Attributes.
  3. In the Attributes window, type a title in the Title field and click Create.

Figure Captions

Brightspace supports adding figure captions to images. The most straightforward method to add figure captions is to copy from the Images template. For more, consult these instructions on using image templates in Brightspace.

Closed Captions

Embedded or linked videos should be close captioned. Audio recordings should have a transcript attached. Ensure media does not automatically play. Use Kaltura instead of Brightspace’s built-in video player for easier captioning, sharing, and versioning.

For more information, consult the closed captioning chapters earlier in this handbook.

Descriptive Hyperlinks

When linking to a website, use meaningful hyperlink text. Linked text should be descriptive, concise, unique and visually distinct. Do not use bare URLs. To learn more about writing link text, consult the accessible links chapter of this guide.

Use default styling of blue font and underlined text for links.

Consider the accessibility of the resource you are linking to. Also, indicate that you are linking to a video, file, or interactive element.

Adding Hyperlinks in Brightspace

  1. Highlight your descriptive text.
  2. Select the link icon (looks like a small chain).
  3. Or, press Control (Command on macOS) and K.
  4. Paste the URL in the dialog that appears.

Additionally, you can insert a link via the format toolbar:

  1. Choose the Insert Quicklink button and select URL.
  2. Paste the URL in the appropriate field and add your descriptive text in the Title field.
  3. Select Insert.

Before linking to external content, consider the accessibility of the resource. Try to choose the most accessible resource available. The University of Washington Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology centre suggests avoiding PDFs and providing PDFs only as a secondary source of information.

Uploaded Content

Uploaded documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) must be checked for accessibility.

  1. The authors do not believe this to be best practice and have asked Brightspace to address this unexpected behaviour.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning Copyright © 2023 by Briana Fraser and Luke McKnight is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.