Topics in this article include:

What is Ally?

Alternative Formats

Accessibility Score

Improving File Accessibility

Course Accessibility Report

Creating Accessible Files




What is Ally?

Ally is a tool within myLesley, which creates alternative files that are easier to for all students to use. Ally creates multiple alternative formats including readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy-to-navigate content. You and your students can download these alternative formats anywhere that files are used.


Ally gauges the accessibility of your content and provides tips and tricks for improvements to your content accessibility. Ally also automatically creates alternative versions of your files, allowing students to choose the type of file that best suits their needs. This includes HTML, ePub, electronic braille, and audio (MP3) versions of your files.


For more information, view the View File Accessibility with Ally video below:





Alternative Formats

Ally automatically creates alternative formats of your course files based on the original file. Available alternative formats include tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, and audio (MP3).


You and your students may access alternative formats of your files by selecting the file you wish to access and clicking the Alternative Formats icon to the right of the file.

screenshot of alternative formats icon to the right of the file


Select a format and click Download.


Your file will download. This may take several minutes.


For more information, see Accessing Alternative Formats of Documents in myLesley.



Accessibility Score

Ally measures the accessibility of your course files and shows you an overall accessibility score for each file. The scores range from Low (red icon) to Perfect (green icon). The higher the score, the fewer the issues.


image: low accessibility score indicator Low: File is not accessible and needs immediate attention.

image: medium accessibility indicator Medium: File is somewhat accessible and could use improvement.

image: high accessibility score indicator High: File is accessible but could be improved.

image: perfect accessibility score indicator Perfect: File is accessible. No improvement needed.


At this time, the following file types are checked for accessibility:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BPM, TIFF) 
  • Uploaded HTML files 


Accessibility scores are determined by the severity of issues in each file. A low score indicates that the file has severe or multiple accessibility issues whereas a high score indicates that the file has minor accessibility issues.



Improving File Accessibility

To improve the accessibility score for your file, click on the score icon next to your file. 

screenshot ally low accessibility score icon


This will show you the overall accessibility score and the biggest contributor to the overall score. 

screenshot of sample Ally score for an untagged PDF


Click on All Issues to see a list of issues with your document.

screenshot of All Issues on sample document


In many cases, instructions are available to help you fix the accessibility score of your file (ex How to tag a PDF). Click the Fix button to learn more about the issue and how to fix it. For more information, see Instructor Feedback Panel.


A list of common Ally issues and fixes may be found here: Ally Remediation Cheat Sheet.


For more information on Ally see Improve Your File Accessibility with Ally.



Course Accessibility Report

Ally’s Course Accessibility report allows you to see the big picture as well as specific details about the accessibility of your course content. 

sample Ally course accessibility report


Access the Course Accessibility Report

To access the Course Accessibility Report, go to your course Control Panel, select Course Tools, and select Course Report.

access accessibility report


Accessibility Scores

At the top of the report is an accessibility score for the entire course. Scores range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues. 

example of course accessibility score



image: low accessibility score indicator Low (0-33%): File is not accessible and needs immediate attention.

image: medium accessibility indicator Medium (34-66%): File is somewhat accessible and could use improvement.

image: high accessibility score indicator High (67-99%): File is accessible but could be improved.

image: perfect accessibility score indicator Perfect (100%): File is accessible. No improvement needed.


All Course Content

The All Course Content section shows all content in your course grouped by content type. Click Start to start fixing issues.

image: course accessibility report all course content area


Currently, Ally checks files in these formats: 

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice
  • Uploaded HTML files 
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BPM, TIFF) 
  • YouTube Videos 


The course report will also check content created using the myLesley text/content editor:

  • Content Folder
  • Content Item
  • Learning Module
  • A link to a Forum
  • Web Link


Choose What to Fix First

The Course Accessibility Report gives you the option to decide which content to fix first. You can choose between content that's easiest to fix or content with the lowest scoring content.


image: content with easiest issues to fix, fix low scoring content


Remaining Issues

Ally will list your remaining issues in order of priority. Severe issues will be listed first and minor issues will be listed last. Ally determines the severity if the issues by the number of students impacted, how often the issue occurs, and the accessibility score.


Ally remaining issues list




Creating Accessible Files


Accessibility Checklist

View the Accessibility Checklist for detailed information on creating accessible content. The checklist includes general accessibility information as well as detailed information for improving accessibility in myLesley, PDFs, documents (Microsoft Word), presentations (Microsoft PowerPoint), and multimedia.


Ally Micro Learning Documents

Ally has put together a series of documents that walk you through a series of accessibility scenarios and show you how Ally feedback helps you improve your document's accessibility.


Hoonuit Tutorials

Hoonuit has a great tutorial series to walk you through creating an accessible syllabus using Microsoft Word 2016 and Acrobat Pro DC. Although the example used in the tutorial series is a course syllabus, the skills you learn are transferable to other types of documents. The tutorial series features information on:

  • Titles and subtitles
  • Headings
  • Tables
  • Color, patterns and backgrounds
  • Images
  • Alt text
  • And more


Please note that you will need to log in to Hoonuit using your Lesley username and password in order to view these tutorials: