The University of Sheffield is committed to providing an inclusive learning and teaching environment for all students. Ally provides our students with accessible content inside Blackboard. This means they can choose formats that work best for them: HTML and ePubs for improved reading on mobile phones, Electronic Braille for the visually impaired, and Audio for learning on the go. Click here to discover more about Ally Alternative Formats.

Accessibility score for content

Ally provides you with guidance and coaching on how to improve the accessibility of your Blackboard course content. Learn about accessibility issues, why they matter, and how to fix them.

Files and attachments in your courses will have Ally Indicators next to them, and these let you know the accessibility of the file. The indicators are only visible to staff enrolled on the course. Green is the goal, but Ally might identify accessibility issues with content in your course :


Ally Indicator: Low

Multiple accessibility issues with this file


Ally Indicator: Medium

The file is somewhat accessible, but could be improved


Ally Indicator: Good

File is accessible, but more improvement is still possible


Ally Indicator: Perfect!

Ally hasn’t detected any accessibility issues with your file

Improving file accessibility is an ongoing process, and you are encouraged to focus on ensuring that new content uploaded to Blackboard is made more accessible by following the feedback provided by Ally. Making these important changes will make materials clearer and easier to understand, which will be of benefit to all students, not just those with disclosed additional support needs.

Improve your content accessibility

Click the Ally Indicator gauge next to a file in your course to open the Instructor Feedback panel. Ally will show you a preview of your content, provide a step by step guide that explains what the accessibility issues are, and details the steps required to fix them.

Screenshot of the instructor feedback panel

If Ally detects numerous accessibility issues in your file, click the ‘All Issues' button to view the relevant guidance. Follow the instructions inside the Instructor Feedback panel to make the changes to your original file.

Once you have made the changes to the document to make it more accessible, use the upload feature in the Instructor Feedback panel to update the content in Blackboard.

Course accessibility reports

Access an overview of your course accessibility by navigating to your Course Tools menu and clicking ‘Ally Report’. The Course Accessibility Report will highlight accessibility issues in your course files, and detail the steps required to fix them. Making files accessible is an ongoing process, and Ally will show you content that has the easiest issues to fix first.

Screenshot of the Ally Course Accessibility Report

Ally alternative formats

Ally checks all PowerPoint Presentations, PDF's, Word documents, images and content items on your Blackboard course. Ally automatically generates alternative formats for these file types and makes them available for students to download.

Screenshot showing how to disable Ally alternative formats for an item in Blackboard

If you want to disable alternative formats for a specific file in your course, click the Alternative Formats icon, and on the drop-down arrow select ‘Disable alternative formats for this file’

More information about Creating Accessible Documents

Please contact for more information about creating accessible learning materials.