The #IDEAL Mnemonic

Table of Contents


  • We created a mnemonic hashtag#IDEAL” to help content contributors to grasp 19 core ideas of creating accessible digital materials for teaching and learning.
  • The mnemonic consists of the hash symbol#” which refers to the word “hashtag”, and the other word “ideal”. We make use of the letters of the two words “hashtag” and “ideal” (i.e., “HASHTAGIDEAL”) to represent the 19 interrelated ideas.
  • This mnemonic is intended to serve as a general guide for creating accessible digital materials and virtual learning environment. It does not necessarily guarantee “full accessibility”. The recommended practices are not exhaustive, definitive, or the best solutions for each situation. Accessibility is not merely a checklist of practices or design.
  • Teaching and learning practices might vary across academic disciplines, as well as individual preferences and needs. The recommended practices need to be fit and applied to various disciplinary contexts and authentic practices. Always consider individual context and be aware of the diverse access needs of different individuals.

List of 19 core ideas

A list of 19 items of The #IDEAL mnemonic with icons, including 1. Headings; 2. Hyperlinks; 3. Alt text; 4. Audio-visual accessibility; 5. Alternative formats; 6. Accessibility check; 7. Structured content; 8. Styles formatting commands; 9. Source files; 10. Save as correct format; 11. Text and font;. 12. Tables; 13. Guided actions;. 14. Inclusive language and content;. 15. Interoperability; 16. Distinguishable visual cues;. 17. Entire process; 18. Layout; and 19. Logical order.
  • Use headings to provide structure. Format lengthy content into sections with headings.
  • Use descriptive and meaningful link text for hyperlinks.
  • Provide alternative text (“Alt Text”) and set appropriate text-wrapping position for non-text visual contents.
  • Provide captions, transcripts, timestamps, sign language interpretation, and audio descriptions, for video and audio. Be aware of the use of autoplay, animations, or flashing objects.
  • Provide alternative formats on the same materials, such as disseminating the infographics along with the transcripts.
  • Make effective use of simulators and accessibility checkers to help improve accessibility. Passing the checkers does not guarantee “full accessibility” but failing them indicates some inaccessibility issues that need to be addressed.
  • Structure the contents into meaningful segments. Set appropriate alignment and segments of text. Set sufficient line spacing.
  • Use built-in styles formatting commands to convey meanings or structure, rather than simply by manual formatting such as applying sizes, colour, bold or italics. Create lists using built-in numbered or bulleted lists. Do not insert spacing by Enter or Spacebar keys.
  • Consider accessibility of source documents. Ensure appropriate format and layout of the source files for further editing or format conversion.
  • Export files as formats with appropriate document information and properties. Edit file information and properties. Ensure document security is compatible with accessibility.
  • Use readable text and font. Avoid using all caps or small caps for the text. Sans-Serif fonts are preferred to Serif fonts. Use appropriate font, punctuation, spacing, alignment. Use camel case hashtags. Use emojis and emoticons appropriately.
  • Create simple tables with defined headers and cell properties for presenting data. Do not use tables only for formatting layout.
  • Provide information to guide actions and error notification.
  • Use inclusive language. Avoid biased language. Consider disability representation and diversity in mind.
  • Ensure compatibility of the materials across different platforms and gadgets such as desktop computers, tablets, and mobile web browsers.
  • Do not use colour as the sole visual cue to present information. Use multiple visual cues to present information especially graphics, tables, and charts, such as colour, pattern fill, line style (e.g., solid, or dotted lines), data labels, text description, and/or legend. Ensure sufficient colour contrast.
  • Consider accessibility throughout the whole production stage.
  • Create clear and informative layout. Do not put important information in headers, footers, or watermarks.
  • Ensure logical arrangement and reading order of the contents.