Creating their own resources is an effective way to enhance and consolidate learning. When creating content it is important that any text can be manipulated to enable a learner to change its appearance or convert it into another format.
A learner may need to change the size or colour of the text or the background. If the text cannot be manipulated then it is inaccessible to that learner – no matter what additional formatting is included.
The section on Text to Speech explains how using a built-in option in Microsoft Word can provide essential reading support in a variety of ways. There is a similar option in Adobe Reader.
There are many reasons why sub-titles are helpful for learners. The BBC recently published a report stating that 20% of their iPlayer downloads were accessed with sub-titles. This illustrates that accessibility features are beneficial for a wide range of learners not just those with disabilities.
When creating either audio or video content it is good practice to do so from a script. For video it is also good practice to use a shooting script. Both of these will help to provide a transcript once the audio or video is complete, along with sub-titles. If you use a shooting script it can also give you good prompts to provide an audio description track for blind learners.
Websites and web content
Many teaching and support stafff are creating websites and content for sharing information and experiences. It is worth knowing the basics of accessibility to ensure that the widest range of learners can access information independently.
- Use a heading structure. This can be customised to your own house style or preferences.
- Use good colour contrast. Pale grey on a blue background may look stylish but many people will not be able to read the text. There are a range of colour contrast checkers available.
- Avoid large blocks of text and break up text with bullets or numbered lists.
- Don’t use any font smaller than 10pt and avoid text in capitals.
- Ensure that links can be easily seen and don’t use colour only. Underline is a standard way of indicating that text contains a hyperlink.
- Ensure that the text of a link makes sense. Avoid ‘click here’ or ‘link’.
- Don’t indicate information with colour alone.
- Add Alt text to all images and/or graphical representation of information.