We’ve all been well underway with projects, only to realise that we haven’t factored in some fundamentals.
One of the very first questions we should ask ourselves is “who might be accessing this content?” Closely followed by “…and is this content accessible to them?”
The good news is, given that in most cases we all want our learning content to be available to everyone, you should automatically be considering the same needs on every project.
There are general principles when creating content, whether it’s in video, interactive video, gamification or even written text. These principles serve as a good foundation when it comes to considering specific accessibility requirements.
Making your content clear, concise and easy to understand is a positive for any project. Simple fonts, uncluttered design, available subtitles are all basics. And keeping these basics at the forefront of your mind will keep accessibility at its forefront too. Tailoring to those with specific accessibility needs means making many different, project-dependent decisions. But maintaining this general awareness as you progress is key.
The specifics of your elearning will depend on the type of content you’re designing and who it’s for. However, you’ll probably be considering those with auditory, visual, motor, cognitive and speech disabilities.
This blog is intended to help you think about the importance of accessible learning content generally. It would be impossible to go into all the specifics here – but there are more detailed resources out there. And with elearning specifically, the Web Accessibility Initiative and guidelines are a great place to find out more.
Accessibility is also very much part of the creative process. However, we hope a couple of examples might help to get the ideas flowing.
Take visual impairment.
Some people will be unable to physically see the content in the same way as others. We therefore need an alternative method of delivering information. For example, if we look at elearning content involving branching scenarios, purely visual options would not work. A screen offering the choice of pressing A, B, C or D would be inaccessible to those with a visual impairment. In this case, you might include audio descriptions e.g. as with audio described television programmes. You could also think about providing audio feedback when an option has been selected.
Perhaps for users with auditory issues, you’ll need to think about things being more visual. Text based alternatives are always an option. Simply using subtitles can also be of enormous help, depending on the content.
Just two very simple examples but, as discussed, you can be as innovative as you like.
Let’s not view accessibility as a problem but rather as another opportunity to get creative.
Near-Life has worked with various types of organisations in many different sectors. We’ve delivered elearning projects involving interactive video, gamification and all kinds of immersive content. Our authoring tools are flexible and will allow you to deliver your project in the way you want to, including from an accessibility angle.
Read more about how to use Near-Life to make your project accessible in our guidelines developed with the support of the Digital Accessibility Centre.