5 Tips for Making Your eLearning Accessible
Buildings have it. Signs have it. Schools, jobs, restrooms and transportation have it, too.
But what about your eLearning?
We’re talking about accessibility and in recent years, the protections afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act are expanding into digital territory as web and mobile applications evolve from ‘nice to haves’ to ‘must haves’ in our everyday lives.
For buildings, signs, and transportation, the ADA ensures access to the built environment for people with disabilities and establishes design requirements for the construction and alteration of facilities subject to the law.
For web accessibility, however, it means making websites, content, applications, LMSs, and eLearning accessible to all people – and thankfully, it’s often not difficult.
So that then begs the question: How, exactly, can eLearning meet the needs of – and be accessible to – all learners?
How To Make eLearning Accessible
When it comes to accessibility, there are a few things to know and a few things to implement to meet every learner where they are with accessible eLearning content, including some incredible tips from the pros at eLearning Industry.
1. Accessibility Is Often Built-In
Most smartphones, laptops and desktops come with settings for accessibility, including changing font sizes, font colors, brightness, and contrasts. Apple and Android mobile device operating systems handle accessibility settings differently but in general, with each upgrade, they are programmed to provide more options for people with various impairments.
Browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari not only have settings to help increase accessibility but allow extensions and plugins specifically designed to help users, such as text-to-speech applications.
2. Provide Variety
All non-text content should have a text alternative, so eLearning Industry recommends the following:
- ‘Alt tags’ for images written to describe them
- Videos with captions describing the audio track
- Audio with a text transcript
- Form inputs labeled
Videos in eLearning and other visual multimedia content, such as infographics, GIFs, and animations should be paired with a description, such as:
- A text description of the content for screen readers
- An audio description
3. Organize & Structure Your HTML
How content is displayed on a site may not always mirror what is in the underlying markup, or the HTML. Screen readers, for example, read the markup so it’s important to format the HTML correctly, such as:
- Use the correct ‘styles’ – such as H1, H2, H3, H4 – to organize and identify different levels of headings
- Use the bulleted or numbered list styles instead of characters or hyphens
- Only use tables when presenting an actual table of data
- Use bold for importance, italic for emphasis, and blockquote for call-outs or quotes
- Provide contrast – dark and light – between visual elements
4. Test & Monitor
Google Search Console mobile usability checks items such as text that is too small to read, clickable elements too close together, and content wider than screen. Additionally, there are some free accessibility testing tools available.
5. Be Consistent
As any newcomer – of any ability – to a new interface knows, there is often a learning curve when navigating an unfamiliar site for the first time. So consistency in navigation, display, organization and content proves critical for reducing that learning curve and bolstering accessibility for all users.
eLearning Industry even recommends creating a first-visit tour, welcome course, or a tutorial as an introductory foray into a course.
Make Learning Accessible For Everyone
We know you want to get accessibility right. We also know that it can feel overwhelming when trying to determine where and how to start. These five tips will improve the eLearning experience for all users for a better, safer and more educated workplace.