Accessibility of Web-based and E-learning Materials Dr. Simon Ball E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.techdis.ac.uk
E-learning: Accessibility and Usability • Accessibility: • “can be easily and conveniently approached, entered, and used by people with disabilities…” (US National Parks) • Usability: • “is the quality of a system that makes it easy to learn, easy to use, easy to remember, error tolerant, and subjectively pleasing.” (Jakob Nielsen – www.useit.com)
Universal Design • Accessible web design does not require special techniques or separate resources for disabled students. • Designing accessible resources results in them being more usable for everyone, regardless of disability or browsing environment. • This concept is known as ‘Universal Design’
Design For All • The EU term for Universal Design • During 2002 the EU will support the creation of a Network of Centres of Excellence, at least one in each Member State, that will train web designers and engineers in the principles of Design-For-All • European Institute for Design and Disability – increases knowledge across EU about barrier-free design • www.design-for-all.org
NN Group: Quantitative Research • Involved 60 people, all familiar with using the Internet, and where applicable all experienced at using the assistive devices employed • 20 screen reader users • 20 screen magnifier users • 20 people using no assistive technology • All were set four simple tasks, and given 20 minutes per task to complete them
NN Group: Quantitative ResearchTasks • Fact-finding: • find the average temperature in Dallas (no site specified) • Buy online: • Janet Jackson’s latest CD from www.target.com • Information retrieval: • take a bus in Chicago www.transitchicago.com • Compare and contrast: • find a specific kind of mutual fund on www.schwab.com
NN Group: Major findings Participants who used no assistive technology were • about six times more successful at completing tasks than people using screen readers • three times more successful than people using screen magnifiers There was also a very close relationship between success and satisfaction
NN Group: Completion Statistics • No assistive technology users: • 7/10 completed, 1/10 ran out of time, 2/10 gave up • Screen magnifier users: • 2/10 completed, 4/10 ran out of time, 4/10 gave up • Screen reader users: • 1/10 completed, 5/10 ran out of time, 4/10 gave up
Mencap Research • 11 users with learning difficulties reviewed 30 popular web sites in August 2001. Users had varying levels of familiarity with the Internet • Asked to give scores on visual appeal, clarity, navigation, is it obvious what’s being provided, help and contact details, is language understandable and readable, presence of graphics / audio to aid understanding
So, where do we start? • Web Accessibility Initiative www.w3.org/WAI • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ • TechDis Seven Precepts www.techdis.ac.uk/seven • Read first and digest BEFORE doing anything!
Some basic design tips - 1 Think about the technology being used – some of your intended audience may have old equipment such as monochrome screens or poor graphical capabilities, some may be using screen readers, screen magnifiers or mouthsticks
Some basic design tips - 2 Think about colour and visual effects. Is the page clear in greyscale? Do links change to a less visible colour after use? Does anything flash or move and if so is there a capability to switch them off at the start of the page?
Some basic design tips - 3 Organise materials in a simple and logical order. The order of your information may be obvious to you, but will it make sense if read linearly? Will it make sense to someone with perceptual difficulties?
Some basic design tips - 4 Present a clear organisational structure. The first page should be no more than an overview, with clear pointers to the remaining material and each subsequent page’s content.
Some basic design tips - 5 Each page must make sense in its own right. Include links back to the start page and a brief overview of where the viewer is in the schema. Put this information at the end of each page (to avoid irritating screen reader users)
Some basic design tips - 6 • Include meaningful ‘alt’ tags for all images • Caption all audio and video • Make links sensible (not just ‘click here’)
How not to do it (in plain English) Some easy-to-understand tips pages: • www.earth.com/bad-style/ • www.tuxedo.org/~esr/html-hell.html • www.ratz.com/featuresbad.html
So how can I be sure….. • Checking tools – there are many. Use a good one! Try: • A-Prompt: • Aprompt.snow.utoronto.ca • The Wave: • www.temple.edu/inst_disabilities/piat/wave/ • TechDis: • www.techdis.ac.uk/seven
Bobby? • Many web designers still favour Bobby despite price • Being Bobby compliant gives you a logo for your page • It is hard to use and unhelpful • Bobby compliance is not the goal • Go for WAI Level 2 instead