Ally Course Accessibility Report

The Ally Accessibility Report scores the overall accessibility of the items in your Canvas course. It can be found in your course navigation menu. The report is not visible to students.

In the report, you’ll be able to see all content that has been checked for accessibility by Ally, an overview of issues detected, and information that can help you fix some accessibility issues. 

Review the Teaching Guidelines for Making Courses Accessible to know what content standards you're expected to meet in your Canvas course(s).

This guide will explore the following areas of this screenshot: Overview, Remaining Issues, Content.

Screenshot of course accessibility report as described on page


Overview Tab

Under your course’s score, the Overview tab shows a high-level view of the items in your course that are being assessed. It lists the items it’s checking and groups content with similar issues to fix. This includes areas in your course navigation menu that are not enabled, unpublished items, and HTML content (this includes pages, assignments, discussions, and any other items created using the rich content editor). 

Tip:  Delete items you don’t need—they might be dragging down your course’s accessibility score!

Remaining Issues

Inside the Overview tab is the Remaining Issues section. Column headers can be clicked for easy sorting. Each row in the Remaining Issues section represents a group of items that share an issue to be fixed. Clicking on the issue will list out the items in that group and let you go to them directly for guidance. This makes Remaining Issues the easiest option when fixing those identified issues.

Tip:  If you’re unsure where to start, sort the Severity column to display the most severe issues first. You’ll be able to assess row by row which issue to fix. It’s easier to fix the same type of issue multiple times in a row than skipping around to different issues, e.g., Fix all issues in The image does not have a description row.


Content Tab

The Content tab is an itemized list of the course content you see on the Overview tab. It shows how many issues each item has, its accessibility score, and a link to the item for a closer look. 

Column headers can be clicked for easy sorting. Clicking on an item in a row will take you to that item and any messaging/tools that Ally provides to improve it, when available.

Screenshots of clicking a row in Remaining Issues section opening to show Ally tool


Interpreting Ally Guidance

PDF Remediation

For additional help with improving the accessibility of your PDFs, see PDFs

Video Remediation

The Accessibility Report currently checks if YouTube videos linked/embedded in the Canvas rich content editor have human-generated captions. If a video has auto-generated captions or no captions, it will be flagged: The HTML content contains videos without captions

Tip:  To see if captions are auto-generated, click the CC button on the YouTube video. Messaging will show in the upper-left corner of the video. English (auto-generated) means captions are auto-generated. English means captions are human-generated.

Panopto videos are not checked for captions by this report. However, each Panopto video has captions automatically generated. See Creating Accessible Videos for information on how to correct these auto-captions. 

Alt Text

Alternative text can be added via the report, but we’d recommend using one of the following methods to do so, as these methods ensure alt text is stored in Canvas correctly:

  • Canvas Image Options - Use while you’re in edit mode in the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE).
  • Canvas Accessibility Checker (see blue callout box) - Use while you’re in edit mode in the Canvas RCE. Also check all other accessibility issues flagged in the Canvas RCE. 
  • Ally gauges in a content area - Use after you’ve already saved content and exited the edit mode in Canvas RCE. See screenshot for reference:

    Screenshot of Ally gauge location on an image in a content area

Note: If you want to mark an image as decorative, use the Ally gauge in a content area rather than through the Canvas Image Options / Accessibility Checker. Otherwise, if you mark an image as decorative with those latter methods the score might not go up. Ally is working on fixing this. 

Fixing Image Contrast Issues

The report will note if images have contrast issues. At this time, guidance on how to fix these issues is unavailable. Work on this tool is ongoing and this guidance will be coming in a future update.

In the meantime, here are our tips for resolving image contrast issues:

  • Adjust image contrast
  • Crop out or cover areas of the image with low color contrast

Note: Images marked as decorative will still be flagged in the report if they have contrast issues. They will not impact your course’s report score.


Fixing HTML Issues

The report will flag issues with HTML content created using Canvas’ rich content editor. When you click on an HTML item listed in the Ally Course Report (such as a Page), you will be taken to that Page, but Ally will not indicate where in the Page the identified issues are located. Therefore, the clearest way to check for and correct HTML issues is through the Canvas Accessibility Checker.

Here are some common HTML issues you may see flagged in the report and how to resolve them:

  • The HTML content has contrast issues
    • The text has contrast issues. To fix this, see Contrast.
  • The HTML’s heading structure does not start at the right level &
    The HTML content does not have an appropriate heading structure
  • The HTML content has malformed lists
    • The list (<ul> or <ol>) elements in the HTML content are not structured correctly. Easiest to fix by removing and re-doing list bullets via Canvas’ formatting tool


Ally Accessibility Report vs. Canvas Accessibility Checker

We recommend using both Ally’s Accessibility Report and the Canvas Accessibility Checker when building your course. They each have their own strengths. 

Ally’s tools can only be used after your content is saved. The Canvas checker can be used at any time, such as when actively editing. In general, if there is a contradiction we recommend fixing any issues flagged by either tool. 


Further Resources

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