How does the DesignPLUS accessibility checkers compare with the native Canvas page checker?

While there is some overlap between the two, Canvas and DesignPLUS also have unique aspects to their accessibility checkers.

Many users wonder if the DesignPLUS accessibility checkers are redundant since Canvas RCE has its own native accessibility checker tool.  There are certainly areas where both checkers overlap.  However, DesignPLUS does offer some unique checkers and provides a user interface in which many of the flagged issues can be resolved in a single view.

Please review the table below in order to better understand the similarities and differences between the Canvas and DesignPLUS accessibility checkers:

Canvas Only Both DesignPLUS Only
  • Adjacent links with the same URL should be a single link.
  • Heading 120 character limit
  • Image alt text 120 character limit
  • Lists formatted as HTML list (for series of paragraphs starting with dashes)
  • Sequential Headings
  • Image alt text is present
  • Image alt text is not the same as file name
  • Large and small text contrast
  • Table header scope
  • Table headers present
  • Table captions*
  • Math equations alt text (offers human understandable alt text options)
  • Link text checker (catches non-descriptive phrases such as "Link" or "click here")
  • External assets (catches links and files sourced from outside the current Canvas course)

* The only disagreement between the two checkers is that the native Canvas checker flags tables without captions as an error, but in DesignPLUS we consider it a suggestion since accessibility guidelines do not require a caption for every table: "A table caption can be used to provide a heading for the table as a hole. This is not required to meet WCAG 2.0, but is considered best practice because the <caption> element is explicitly associated with the table. The <caption> value should be a succinct description of the content of the table." -

Other Notes

  • Using the native Canvas checkers does not cause any issues with the DesignPLUS checkers; both tools are scanning the same content and neither one interferes with the other.
  • Cidi Labs also offers the UDOIT Advantage product that will scan for even more accessibility issues across an entire course at one time.  Visit the UDOIT User Guide to learn more.