Peter, Graham, and I planned an accessibility awareness session for the Online Education Department (OED) with the help from Richard, our Disability and Wellbeing Adviser. We wanted the session to be interactive and hands-on. We also wanted it to be more technical than the general accessibility awareness sessions we run at UCEM because the OED team works with coding and all learning technologies used at UCEM.
So the session was split into two parts: the first part was to introduce accessibility awareness, which I took charge and the second part about accessibility testing, which Graham prepared and presented. In my part of the session we planned three hands-on activities so that participants get a chance to practice what we present.
Again, the session went very well and we received really good feedback.
However, one question that Louise posed got me thinking. She asked whether we are sufficiently helping students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. I knew the WCAG guidelines were there considering all accessibility enhancements but I wanted to dig into it a little more.
So I watched this AbilityNet recorded webinar on Autism and Accessibility, Design Challenges and Solutions to improve my understanding. WCAG can provide a baseline to provide autism accessibility and they highlighted these criteria:
- 1.4.2 Audio Control (A)
- 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide (A)
- 3.2.2 On Input (A)
- 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation (AA)
- 3.2.4 Consistent Identification (AA)
- 3.1.5 Reading Level (AAA)
They also suggested the use of pastel colours; however, with pastel colours it can be difficult to get the required colour contrast to meet the guideline 1.4.3. But they suggested using common sense and selecting colours that do not ‘jump at you’ that also meet the contrast requirements.
Here is a video montage of how it went at the OED Accessibility Awareness workshop (thanks Ross).
Our next accessibility workshop is on 2nd December 2019. If you are a UCEM employee you can register for the next accessibility workshop.
I am a Learning Technology Researcher and the Chair of the Online Learning Research Centre at the University College of Estate Management. My principle research interests lie in the area of social implications of information and communication technologies, especially eLearning.