Learning Technology

Top tips to make your learning materials more accessible #1

May 17th, 2019 at 11:05

With new digital accessibility regulations now in force since September 2018, HE institutions are required to be proactive in providing fully accessible websites – which includes VLEs such as Moodle. This provides a real opportunity to review and improve learning materials  for students and others. New websites must be compliant by 23 Sep 2019 and existing websites by 23 Sep 2020. So now is a good time to start making sure that any materials uploaded to Moodle are compliant.

Here are some recommendations for creation of documents (many of which apply to text and Pages in Moodle as well):

DO

  • Use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial,  Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Calibri
  • Ensure font size is at least 12 point (in Moodle use default paragraph text rather than imposing a size)
  • Use dark coloured text on a light (not bright white) background. Make sure the contrast ratio is sufficient (our Moodle format design is created to be as accessible as possible, so the default will be compliant). To check contrast, try printing in black and white.

DON’T

  • Avoid using colours for meaning – especially red/green combinations – as some people can’t see colour
  • Avoid using text over images (or provide an alternative way of accessing that text)

For headings:

DO

  • Use larger font size in bold, lower case.
  • Borders can be used – but avoid text boxes.
  • Use a meaningful title
  • Use the styles in Word to create a structure – similarly in Moodle use the headings under the i icon

DON’T

  • Don’t use underlining and italics: these tend to make the text appear to run together. Use bold instead. (Underlining on a web page implies a link – don’t use it unless that actually is the case.)
  • AVOID TEXT IN BLOCK CAPITALS: this is much harder to read.

For layout:

DO

  • Use left-justified with ragged right edge. (Again, Moodle’s defaults are good practice.)
  • Lines should not be too long: 60 to 70 characters.
  • Line spacing of 1.5 is preferable.
  • Use bullet points and numbering rather than continuous prose.
  • Use page numbers and create bulleted or numbered lists using the Office menu button and built-in styles not just symbols and spaces.

DON’T

  • Avoid narrow columns (as used in newspapers, and not allowed in Moodle).
  • Avoid cramping material and using long, dense paragraphs: space it out.
  • Avoid starting a sentence at the end of a line.

Writing Style

DO

  • Use short, simple sentences in a direct style.
  • Give instructions clearly. Avoid long sentences of explanation.
  • Use active rather than passive voice.
  • Be concise.

DON’T

  • Avoid double negatives.

Graphics

DO

  • Pictograms and graphics can help to locate and enhance information – make sure you give an overview in the text of the visual elements that you want students to gain from an image so that no one misses out.
    Here is an example:
    Graphic Accessibility Example
  • Use alt text to describe an image if needed
  • Lists of ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’ are more useful than continuous text to highlight aspects of good practice.
  • For long documents include a contents page at the beginning and an index at end.
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks not ‘click here’

DON’T

  • Avoid abbreviations if possible or provide a glossary of abbreviations and jargon.
Check your documents
Use the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker to find and fix the elements within your document that are not accessible. This can be found under File > Check for Issues

More information

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

No comments for “ Top tips to make your learning materials more accessible #1 ”