In this video, learn about the importance of creating content that is accessible to all learners. Sally covers how to apply these accessibility guidelines to websites, elearning modules, video, and audio files.
- [Female Instructor] What exactly is accessibility? This means everyone has access to your content including persons with disabilities. In 1973 the United States government passed the Rehabilitation Act, which gave all citizens access to the same content. This meant disabled persons were given federal rights to access all data just like everyone else. U.S. government agencies require websites and all online content including eLearning be section 508 compliant.
Guidelines were created to control how content is delivered. These guidelines apply to all types of content including websites, eLearning, video, and audio. It's always a good idea to make your content accessible to allow everyone to view and enjoy it. Let's talk about how this works. Disabled persons use a machine or computer software that interprets the content for them. While text can be read, graphics need a little assistance.
The content is interpreted and delivered to the disabled learner. Let's explore some ways you can make your content more accessible to all. A key concern for accessibility is being able to read the content. Keep your content high contrast so the screen reader can read it. Text that is too low contrast cannot be interpreted and, therefore, may be missed. Always use high contrast like the column on the right. That ensures your text is readable and will be seen by all.
Here's an example of high contrast. Notice that the dark gray at the bottom has a lighter text on it and that the lighter areas have a darker text on it. Again, keeping it high contrast so that everything is readable and accessible for everyone. To help screen readers be able to decipher what's on-screen, we add something called ALT tags. ALT tags are simply short phrases, or perhaps even a single word, that describes the content. Let me show you how that works.
Here I am in PowerPoint and I'm preparing a bear safety eLearning course. I want to add an ALT tag to the graphic so that the screen reading software will know it's a graphic of a bear. I'm going to start by double-clicking on the bear to bring up my format picture options. I'm going to choose that third option over from the left where I can choose size and position and so forth. I'm going to scroll down to where it says ALT text. Here I have the option of adding a title and I'm going to just simply put in black bear.
I might want to add a description here. Maybe I'll say American black bear graphic. Simply adding an ALT text will help the screen reading software to tell the user what they're actually supposed to be viewing. Even though I'm demonstrating this in PowerPoint most eLearning programs like Storyline or Adobe Captivate do have ALT tag capabilities and anything that's online, websites, eLearning courses, they all have ALT tags for images.
Just any text won't do for accessibility. It must be readable. This example shows a font that is too light for online viewing. Here just one weight heavier and what a difference. This example shows the perils of bad letter spacing. You can see how tight the letters are and it's not readable. Too tight and the letters touch and it cannot be deciphered by the screen reading software. Or too loose letter spacing causes confusion as well. Important information put into a graphic can be missed by a disabled learner.
The screen reading software cannot read it if it's embedded in a graphic. It's always a good idea to include a separate text link to give access to all. You may notice that on websites, sometimes when they have graphics that are links, they also have text links at the bottom for that same reason. Again to make the content accessible to all. Avoid using the word click. This describes a sound blind or motion-impaired persons are not able to access. We use the words tap or press, or something similar, instead.
Any video, audio, or other multi-media with sound, will need captioning. Always a good idea to offer captioning. Captioning is necessary for both video and audio content. In some cases, you might need to offer it in multi-languages as well. To learn more about web content accessibility guidelines, visit the World Wide Web Consortium. They create all the rules for the internet. Here I'm showing an example of the web page.
You can scroll down and you can view all of the different rules. You can check out their blog for articles on accessibility and more. Use these simple tips to ensure your content is accessible. Accessibility is always a good idea to make your content available, and readable, to everyone.
- Staying on brand
- Understanding copyright information
- Reinforcing learning with course objectives
- Guiding the learner with transition slides
- Increasing engagement with links and buttons
- Choosing the best fonts for your course
- Using stock photos and images
- Avoiding specific colors in elearning
- Balancing the look of your elearning designs