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  5. What is Accessibility?

What is Accessibility?

Accessible means something is usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their cognitive, physical or cultural situation. Accessibility can mean many different things to different people, as the students in these videos explain.

Why care about accessibility?

What are examples of accessible practices?

  • Use of plain English: Simple and concise writing supports students with dyslexia and non-native English speakers.
  • Clear instructions: Sharing clear instructions and expectations helps cognitive accessibility and cultural inclusion.
  • Accurate captions: Video captions can support students who are hard of hearing and allow others to dual process information.
  • Use of colour: Using labels/patterns alongside colour can help students who can’t perceive colour.
  • Document structure: Using heading styles allows screen reader users and students with dyslexia access documents more easily.
  • Alternative access: Giving different options for how to take part in an activity, can support students with different physical and needs.

What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility means making websites, apps and their content (e.g. uploaded content to Moodle) accessible to users and is written into UK law. There are many different areas and aspects of digital accessibility, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 AA) which are international standards and define what is legally needed for accessibility.

One framework that can be helpful to consider is the SCULPT framework for accessible document creation – this acronym represents six basic areas to consider:

  • Structure and use of heading styles
  • Colour and contrast
  • Use of images
  • Links
  • Plain English
  • Table structure
SCULPT summary infographic presents. This is downloadable using the link below this image. Text reads:   The basic six things to consider when creating accessible information. Structure (heading styles): Use headings and styles to structure your document. Colour & contrast: Consider the colours you use and the contrast between text and background. Use of images: Use alternative (alt) text on your images Links (hyperlinks): Describe your link, never use click here Plain English: Use clear uncomplicated language with no jargon table Structure: Use simple tables without merged or split cells Source www.worcestershire.gov.uk/sculpt
SCULPT original infographic from Worcestershire County Council (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Where to start with digital accessibility for learning and teaching?

The 5 steps towards accessible content outlines initial steps you can take to begin your journey on creating digitally accessible content.

  1. Write meaningful link text
  2. Using colour accessibly
  3. Add structure and headings
  4. Use accessibility tools and checkers
  5. Learn more about digital accessibility: this page signposts other key resources and training opportunities to improve your accessible practice.
Five steps: 1. Links, 2. using colour, 3. Headings and structure, 4. Accessibility checkers and 5. Learn
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