Authoring With Corsbook
Universal Design and Accessibility
First published on February 17, 2019
Good design tends to be accessible by a diverse a range of users, including users with visual and other impairments. This approach is called Universal Design. Further, many schools and organizations require materials to be accessible by all students. While this page won’t cover everything, it will provide some suggestions to improve accessibility.
Color and Contrast
Some students are color blind. They can’t differentiate between reds and greens. So avoid pure red or green, or make the colored content clearly differentiable. For example, instead of using red and green check marks, you could wither use blue or orange ones, or use a different symbol for each case.
Some students can’t read low contrast content. For example, black lettering upon a dark blue background might not be readable. So make certain to include a sufficiently high contrast.
Image Alternative Text
The visually-impaired often cannot perceive images. This can be somewhat mitigated by including a description in the Alt Text field for the media (see the metadata fields for media items in the Media Library). Alt Text should not merely repeat the caption. It should add descriptive information for those who cannot see the image. For example, the alt text for a volcano could be “pointed mountain with smoke puffing out of top”.
To help audio-impaired persons, videos should ideally be captioned. There are several services who will do this as well as software that allows you to enter such. An alternative that might be sometimes acceptable is to provide a transcript of the video that includes some description of visual elements.
Captioning can also be very helpful to readers whose primary language is different than that of the speakers in the video, or to those accustomed to a different accent.
- Universal design (Wikipedia)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired (Perkins)
- Image ALT Text includes examples of how to write Alt Text(Pennsylvania State University)