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Athens State University Knowledge Base

Blackboard Ally Overview

Improve the accessibility of your course files

(See also: Microsoft Office Accessibility Tracker)

Blackboard Ally and Microsoft Office Accessibility Tracker (see link above) are two tools that can easily be used to drastically increase the accessibility level of your course materials.

Blackboard Ally works seamlessly with your LMS to gauge the accessibility of your course files. Although Ally does not guarantee that your documents are 100% accessible or usable by a screen reader, Ally does provide guidance and tips for improvements that will drastically increase the accessibility of your course content.

  • Receive feedback on the accessibility of your course files
  • Improve file accessibility with Ally's step-by-step instructions


Accessibility scores

Ally measures the accessibility of your course files. Each score is composed of both a numerical number and a colored gauge that reflects the number.  Accessibility scores are determined by the severity of issues in each file. A low score indicates the file has severe or multiple accessibility issues; a high score means there are minor or no accessibility issues. For accessibility scores less than 100 percent, Ally gives you suggestions for improving the accessibility of the file. 

There are three colors of gauge icons that measure your file’s accessibility:

red icon - not accessible

orange icon - somewhat accessible

green icon - accessible

View file accessibility

After you upload files in your course, Ally produces an accessibility score for each file. In lessons with multiple files, the accessibility score is shown for each file. In areas where you access files, the file score is located in the right corner. Select the score to view information on file accessibility. 

Blackboard Learn

Find the accessibility score to the left of the file.

Improve file accessibility

Once you select a file's score, a panel opens to show the numerical score value along with information on the file accessibility. For accessible files, Ally tells you what you did correctly. For files that are not accessible, Ally shows issues within the document and shows you how to fix the problem.

You will find the following details in the file accessibility panel:

  1. Accessibility Score. The file's accessibility color and numerical score based on severity of accessibility issue.
  2. Description. The description of the accessibility issue affecting the file.
  3. Additional information. Detailed information about how the issue affects accessibility and why it is important to correct.
  4. Instructions to improve. Step-by-step instructions for your preferred software that show you how to improve file accessibility.
  5. Direct file upload. A drag-and-drop area to upload original or fixed files. 

Ally produces either image or text feedback. Image feedback often involves adding a description for clarity. Text feedback will often include multiple step instructions for your preferred software, such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.

Ally might prompt you to add additional information or upload resources to make the file more user friendly. Common issues include untagged PDFs, missing descriptions on images, or contrast issues.

After you make your file more accessible, the accessibility score updates next to the file. If you are unable to make your file more accessible, the file will remain with a low accessibility score.


Blackboard Ally is a great tool for improving the accessibility of your course.  For additional Blackboard Ally information or support, please contact the Help Desk.  We will be glad to assist.

Location: Classroom Building 102
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM-4:30 PM, Sunday 12:00 PM-6:00 PM (Virtual Support Only - Physical Building Closed)
Phone: 256-216-6698


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