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5 steps towards accessible content

Five steps: 1. Links, 2. using colour, 3. Headings and structure, 4. Accessibility checkers and 5. Learn

There are many aspects to making your teaching digitally accessible and it can be overwhelming. To help you begin your journey in making your content accessible for everyone, we recommend starting with these 5 areas to focus on, which are simple and can have a big impact.

Links are a powerful feature of digital documents and webpages. They can be used to highlight resources and simplify navigation for users if their functionality is clear to all users.

  • Users with blind or low vision may lack the contextual information to understand what a “click here” link means. Screen reader users will often scan through the links in a document or webpage to find where to go next.
  • Screen readers sometimes read out URLs one letter at a time, which makes it hard to understand.
  • For users with autism, meaningful and precise links can remove confusion around navigation.
  • For all users, descriptive links remove ambiguity and ease navigation in a document or webpage.
  • Use descriptive and meaningful link names: links need an accurate and descriptive title so it is easy to understand what the link is about and where it is going.
  • Guide the users: use links to help users navigate through a document or webpage.
  • Avoid using “opens in new tab/window”: even if it is possible in Moodle, it can be confusing to navigate across different tabs/windows for some users.

Learn more about in the article Creating meaningful links.

icon of a palette Step 2 : Using colour

It’s common that not all users perceive colour as we intend (approximately 1 in 12 males, 1 in 200 females have some colour vision deficiency), so we need to make sure colour combinations are distinguishable and we do not only rely on colour to convey information.

  • People who are blind, have low vision, or are colour-blind might miss the meaning conveyed by colours alone, so you need use other distinguishing factors too.
  • Tired eyes work harder when colour contrast is poor, which can lead to eye-strain and headaches.
  • For all users, accessing information encoded in multiple ways (joint use of colour with labels, line/pattern style) helps easy discrimination between different items.
  • In addition to colour, use other methods to convey information (e.g. labels and patterns).
  • Avoid tricky color combinations : you can use a colour contrast checker.
  • Check there is enough contrast between different elements such as background and text of your content

Learn more about use of colour and accessiblity in the article Accessible Colour & contrast.

logo headings and structure Step 3 : Add headings and structure

Heading styles format text consistently and allow assistive technology users navigate your content.

  • For users with blind or low vision who use screen readers, the heading information (rather than font size) is essential to distinguish between different sections. This allows these users to understand the document structure and navigate between sections quickly.
  • Users with motor impairments, dyslexia or processing impairments can use assistive technologies to easily navigate around long documents more easily.
  • For users with dyslexia, other processing impairments or non-native English speakers, organising content under headings can help processing. Structuring a document with headings helps users navigate without reading every word and eases extrinsic cognitive load.
  • For users with blind or low vision who use screen readers, setting the correct reading order for text boxes and images in PowerPoint is needed so content is read in the correct order.
  • As an author, formatting documents in this way leads to consistent formatting and other productivity gains (e.g. an automatic table of contents).
  • Always use heading styles in Word and on the web (e.g. Moodle).
  • Do not manually change the font size by selecting text.
  • In PowerPoint, use the default layouts or check the reading order of added textboxes and images for slides.
  • Organise information under headings and subheadings.

Learn more about how to implement this topic in the article Accessible Structure.

logo checkerStep 4 : Accessibility checkers

Your content can become more accessible by using accessibility checker tools.

  • Accessibility checkers audit, find and can automatically fix some accessibility errors.
  • Most of the accessibility checkers are integrated with your content creation tools (for example Moodle or Microsoft Office 365).
  • Using accessibility tools can do some of the hard work for you, meaning you don’t have to be an expert in spotting accessibility issues or creating alternative formats.
  • Identify the accessibility tool and learn
  • Some accessibility tools will give you tips and guidance about creation of accessible content
  • Use the accessibility checkers that are built into your content creation tools (for example Moodle or Microsoft Office 365).

Learn more about this topic in the article Accessibility Tools.

logo with a person readingStep 5 : Learn more about accessibility

  • It is part of our commitment to create educational content and resources that are inclusive and adaptable to a variety of learning styles.
  • To provide an enriching and engaging learning experience for all students.
  • Identify the type of content that you want to improve its accessibility (multimedia, maths, structure, colour, )
  • Browse the Accessibility Guidance on the Teaching Hub for resources and workshops that can offer guidance and support.
  • Go to our events page and find the workshops available in the calendar
  • If you prefer we can have some self-paced resources at Moodle where you can learn and practice how to implement these steps on your content
  • However if you are looking for a more personalised advise about accessibility on you Moodle space, book a 1:1 meeting with us
  • Our external partners like Brickfield Labs offers workshops and some short courses, for more information visit this page

View our overview of internal and external accessibility training resources on the Learning about digital accessibility article.

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