When writing keep content concise and clear
Consider text simplification guidelines.
Include alt text for all images…
…including photos, drawings, charts and diagrams such as infographics. Alt text, the first principle of accessibility, is not a picture caption but rather a written equivalent to image content. If an image or series of images in any form of content has meaningful content it must have accompanying alternate text. Learn more about what alt text [external link] is and how to apply alt text to a Word document [external link].
Check that the video you want to use has captions or described video
Some platforms, like Youtube, have auto captioning that can be turned on if a video doesn’t have its own captioning. Be aware that automated captioning can stumble on some spoken words or pronunciations and offer incorrect and sometimes inappropriate interpretations, so make sure you review the captioning before sharing. Having a separate digital transcript of the video content can be helpful for clarity as well as for screenreaders, braille displays, and learners who retain meaning by reading as well as listening. Audio recordings can also be made more accessible and inclusive by having a digital transcript available.
Sometimes barriers are created by the digital interface (what sits between learner and material) or the technology delivering the material (software and platforms)
There are some tools that can be added to a website or browser to increase learner accessibility options. For example, UIO (user interface options) or Learner Options can be added to a website or browser to give users the ability to customize a site by applying multiple settings such as page contrast, font style, and simplified view. See the demo here and access the beta chrome version here.
Good interfaces should be easy to use and easy to build. Infusion takes the pain out of developing accessible, high performance, clean and nimble front-ends for applications that want to do more. The approach is to leave you in control—it’s your interface, using your markup, your way. Find out more at the Fluid Project.
Use metadata to provide information about what needs a resource can accommodate
Metadata supporting personalization is moving gradually from a container/record-based approach to a flatter data model. This supports the use of mash-ups, media, and services that can be personalized, matched to individual requirements and delivered to the current context, independent of the device being used e.g. HD television, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or some other device. Consider using the AccessForAll metadata. AccessForAll includes a standard way to describe a user’s needs and preferences. AccessForAll accessibility promotes an inclusive user experience by enabling the matching of the characteristics of resources to the needs and preferences of individual users. In circumstances where resources might not be suitable for all users, it enables the discovery of other appropriate resources. AccessForAll metadata is typically recorded in a metadata record separate from the resource itself. Schema.org, which defines microdata properties that can be embedded directly into web resources, has incorporated several accessibility properties based on the AccessForAll metadata. This allows search engines such as Google, Yahoo, etc. to improve search results by not only matching search terms but also filter results based on the learner’s expressed needs and preferences.
Provide accessibility and inclusion information
By being transparent about the accessibility of your content people can decide if it is right for them or they may choose to build on the OER with further accessibility and inclusion.
A website should include an accessibility statement. Statements should contain at least the following:
- A commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities
- The accessibility standard applied, such as WCAG 2.1
- Contact information in case users encounter problems
- Any known limitations, to avoid the frustration of your users
- Measures taken by your organization to ensure accessibility
- Technical prerequisites, such as supported web browsers
- Environments in which the content has been tested to work
- References to applicable national or local laws and policies
- Find out more at the Web Accessibility Initiative page Developing an Accessibility Statement.