Creating Accessible Learning


It is very important to us that courses created using Elucidat are accessible to as many people as possible, including those who have physical impairments.

With that in mind, we have made it possible for you to make highly Accessible Learning with the Elucidat Authorware tool, that fully satisfies Section 508 in the US, and the Equality Act in the UK.

Elucidat fully supports the JAWS screen reader, Window Eyes and OS X Voiceover, to allow anyone to experience your learning to it’s full potential.

Elucidat is made from good, semantic, validatable HTML that is easily understood by whichever assistive technologies you choose to use.

Elucidat offers a huge step forward from the old Flash based authorware tools, and is a leader amongst the new HTML5 tools.

We are also passionate about making it better and better - so if you have any suggestions about how the Accessibility of the learning that Elucidat creates can be improved - please do comment below or send us an email at support@elucidat.com.

Some of the headline Accessibility features include:

  • Full support for JAWS screen reader, Window Eyes and OS X Voiceover
  • Full support for keyboard navigation
  • Visible highlighting to show learners using keyboard navigation where they are
  • Well crafted semantic HTML5 to help learners understand the structure of all pages
  • The ability to enter text alternatives to any media uploaded into the learning
  • Forms and interactions designed to be easy to use by Screen Readers

A full checklist of W3C AAA support is available at this link.

We continually improve our accessibility support, and, depending on your Service Level, are able to work with you to audit specific courses and resolve any issues found in a timely manner.

The Course Author’s role in creating Accessible learning

Elucidat allows an unprecedented level of control for Authors, and so, as you create learning, you have an important role in making courses that are fully accessible.

The following advice will help you to make courses that are as accessible as possible:


Text size

Err on the generous side. You should ideally use font sizes of at least 16 px. The following article gives some great general advice:

http://www.macularsociety.org/How-we-help/Eye-care-professionals/Innovation-and-good-practice/Writing-for-visually-impaired-people

Text structure

The structure of your text is very important to the understanding of your document.


For instance - don’t use a heading just because you want bigger text - a Screen Reader user will have the Headings read out to them before reading the text, so if your heading isn’t actually a Heading, you’ll confuse people.


The following article is a good start to understand the importance of correct document structure:

http://webaim.org/techniques/semanticstructure/

Text colour / contrast

Contrast is key to the readability of text. Ensure that contrast is high, either by using very different tones, or by using very different colours - e.g. black and yellow.


The following article gives great advice:

http://li129-107.members.linode.com/accessibility/…


This example has insuffienct contrast:

Colour coding

Do not use colour coding as a way to convey meaning, or if you do, ensure that the same meaning is conveyed in the text content as well.

Transparency

Transparency can cause big problems for readability. A partially visible image behind text would be very hard indeed for partially sighted learners to read. For example:


Bad:

Good:

Be cautious of using transparency excessively.

Animation

Elucidat gives you some great fun animation options.


If your content is specifically for an audience with accessibility requirements, be cautious about using animation excessively - especially fast, flickering or ‘jiggling’ movements, as they can cause discomfort or confusion in certain cases.


If meaning is conveyed by an animation - it is important that your meaning is conveyed in another way as well, as animation will not be read out by Screen Reading software.

Images

If you are using images within a course to convey meaning, it is important to:


  • Use images consistently, so they are used consistently throughout your course and convey the same meaning every time it is used (for example a ‘success’ or ‘failure’ or ‘progress’ image should be consistent throughout).
  • Ensure that your meaning is also conveyed in the text content - again - if you have an image that conveys ‘success’ - ensure that it is accompanied by text that says the same.

Multimedia content

If you are including video or audio, ensure that you include an introduction BEFORE the video, to introduce the content AND tell the Learner how to interact with it.


Always ensure that you include a transcript of the multimedia content.

Forms and interactions

Include an introduction AND clear instructions BEFORE any Forms or Interactions.

Document flow

Elucidat offers a huge amount of visual control. This is fabulous for creating rich visual layouts, but - it also means that it is possible to drag items out of order.


For instance - in the following example;

The last item is dragged from last, to second. For a screen reader, the reading order would stay as it was originally.


As such, if reading order is critical to the understanding of the page, it will be important to maintain the order (often by deleting items that find themselves in the wrong order or swapping the text about, rather than dragging).

Interaction types

Certain interaction types are not a good idea for all learners. For instance, both Drag & Drop and Sortable activities rely on a learner using (and being adept with) a mouse. This will exclude anyone using keyboard navigation, such as Screen Reader users.

Printing

It is possible to create optimised print layouts for your learning with the Elucidat Theme Developer. Many learners rely on being able to print information, so this may be important to your audience.

Audio

Include audio alternatives to text on screen if possible. The Audio and text should convey the same information - i.e. you shouldn’t rely on a learner being able to hear the audio.

Language

We recommend that you read these great articles on inclusive language:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability_etiquette


http://www1.hw.ac.uk/welfare/disability-service/staff/disability-etiquette.htm


Words like ‘Click’ imply that Learners are using a mouse. If you use ‘Click’ then you ought to use alternatives too.


Links are summarised by Screen Readers, so ensure that you make the sentence that is linked self-sufficient such that it will make sense out of context.


For these reasons consider using ‘Select this link to go to the next page’ rather than ‘Click here’.

Theme development

If you are making your own Themes using the Elucidat Theme Developer, then you have big responsibility to ensure that the HTML you create is accessible.


The Theme Developer how-to docs have accessibility guidance for developers. We’d also be happy to review your Themes and give you advice or feedback - just get in touch.

Lastly: Try the tools yourself

You shouldn’t assume anything about how people will use your course. Try the tools yourself! Download JAWS and give your course a go: http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp

If you are using a Mac - Apple+F5 turns on VoiceOver.

Test with real people



We can’t stress this point enough - you can tick all of the boxes above, but always remember to test your learning with real learners.

For more info on how to configure your computer to accommodate accessible learning see this helpful article on the BBC website.