Website accessibility is everyone’s business

Hey Learning Designers/Developers: do you format VU Collaborate resources with a view to their accessibility?  

Accessibility is complicated. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG vs 2.1) distills a set of thirteen guidelines for designing web pages for people with blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photo-sensitivity, and learning and cognitive restrictions – but at twenty thousand words, it’s a pretty hefty read.  

Here’s a good visual summary of most of the concerns and recommendations.

But that’s not the half of it. ‘Making web pages accessible’ is not as simple as reading, digesting and following the guidelines.  There are many people, with many different roles, who author each web page and they each have different responsibility for accessibility.  

Thankfully, a lot of work has been done by many to further clarify these guidelines into usable tips and must-haves for web designers and content creators that is specific to their role and context:

Accessibility Responsibilities by The University of Melbourne.

While these resources are helpful, you might agree with me that there is still a gap to be bridged between these recommendations and the useful tips and must-haves that we as Learning Designers share and use. So please join me in making some recommendations of your own.

What styling tips do you have that we should all be adopting? What do you typically do when adding content to VU Collaborate that you know helps with accessibility?  

Here’s what I mean: 

  • Every time I link a document to a HTML page in VU Collaborate I underline the link, because colour alone is not a clear enough indicator. Or 
  • Every time I make a new HTML page, I use heading styles for headings and paragraph styles for text so that text readers can distinguish headings from body text.   

It’s the little things, n’est pas? Share your tips down below….

Thanks Kate Mitchell for sharing these resources with us.

By: Kirsten Black

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