Considerations for eLearning and Accessibility Planning


Download a copy of Articulate Storyline 508 Compliance Tips – 6_Best_Practices_for_Designing_Accessible_E-Learning

Accessibility Planning

  1. To use leading edge applications that meets or exceeds current accessibility standards – for example Articulate Storyline 2.

  2. To provide employees tools such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, Jaws, ZoomText and other products to permit equal access to information.

  3. To leverage lessons learned which have enabled the continuous improvement to how information can be made effectively accessible.

  4. To leverage existing standards, checklists and tools which will improve how we currently present information to accessibility users.

  5. To provide information in alternate formats.

  6. In the event of accessibility tool failure, provide one on one peer assistance to access training information.

Content extracted from on Dec 16, 2014 by Kevin Brake

Making information accessible

Everyone has the right to access public information. If a person cannot access a public document because of a disability, they are being denied their right to access.

Descriptive Video Service (DVS) (Accomplished by one on one session by a Skills Development Team Member)

DVS provides descriptive narration of key visual elements — the action, characters, locations, costumes and sets — without interfering with dialogue or sound effects. This makes television programs, films, home videos and other visual media accessible for people with vision disabilities.

Assistive Technologies (Dragon Naturally Speaking)

People with disabilities may use one or more of the following assistive technologies in communicating with others or in getting information:

  • speech input and synthesized speech output
  • screen readers, screen magnifiers, screen projectors
  • audio recorded information
  • text telephones
  • adjustable signal level and tone on audio devices
  • volume control
  • hands-free data entry and response selection
  • intelligent word prediction software
  • alternative pointing devices, such as mouth sticks
  • keyboard controllers
  • book holders and page turners
  • touchscreens, and
  • standardized icons.

What you need to do under the standard

To provide accessible customer service, organizations need to:

  • Create and put in place an accessibility plan that:
    • Considers a person?s disability when communicating with them
    • Allows assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks, etc.
    • Allows service animals
    • Welcomes support persons
    • Lets customers know when accessible services aren?t available
    • Invites customers to provide feedback
  • Train staff on accessible customer service
  • Put their plan in writing
    • Let customers know how to find their plan (e.g., on their website)
    • Offer their plan in accessible formats, like large print, if requested
  • Report their progress online

People with vision loss

Vision loss can restrict someone’s ability to read, locate landmarks or see hazards. Some customers may use a guide dog or a white cane, while others may not.


  • When you know someone has vision loss, don’t assume the individual can’t see you. Many people who have low vision still have some sight.
  • Identify yourself when you approach and speak directly to the customer.
  • Ask if they would like you to read any printed material out loud to them (for example, a menu or schedule of fees).
  • When providing directions or instructions, be precise and descriptive.
  • Offer your elbow to guide them if needed.

Tools for organizations with 20 or more employees

  1. Getting Started Guide
  2. Template Plan
  3. Training Tips
  4. Checklist

Additional Tools

  1. For more detailed information, download the Employer Handbook or the Training Resource.
  2. Employer Handbook (78 pages)
  3. Training Resource (51 pages)

Accessibility Standard for Customer Service

For organizations with 20 or more employees

Here?s a short checklist to help you make sure you?ve done everything.

Step 1: Created and put in place an accessibility plan that:

  • Considers a person?s disability when communicating with them
  • Allows assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks
  • Allows service animals
  • Welcomes support persons
  • Lets customers know when accessible services aren?t available
  • Invites customers to provide feedback

Step 2: Trained your staff on accessible customer service

Step 3: Put your plan in writing

  • Let customers know how to find your plan (e.g., on your website)
  • Offered your plan in accessible formats, like large print, if requested

Step 4: Reported your progress online

While this checklist refers to a plan, the online report asks if you have policies, practices and procedures. They are the same thing.

ISBN: 978-1-4435-8284-1

Visual Disabilities

Key Concepts for Blindness
Challenges Solutions
Users generally do not use a mouse Don’t write scripts that require mouse usage. Supply keyboard alternatives.
Images, photos, graphics are unusable Provide text descriptions, in alt text and, if necessary, longer explanations (either on the same page or with a link to another page).
Users often listen to the web pages using a screen reader Allow for users to skip over navigational menus, long lists of items, ASCII art, and other things that might be difficult or tedious to listen to.
Users often jump from link to link using the Tab key Make sure that links make sense out of context (“click here” is problematic).
Frames cannot be “seen” all at once. They must be visited separately, which can lead to disorientation. Don’t use frames unless you have to. If you use them, provide frame titles that communicate their purpose (e.g. “navigational frame”, “main content”).
It may be difficult for users to tell where they are when listening to table cell contents Provide column and row headers (<th>). Make sure that tables—especially those with merged cells—make sense when read row by row from left to right.
Complex tables and graphs that are usually interpreted visually are unusable Provide summaries and/or text descriptions.
Not all screen readers support image maps Supply redundant text links for hot spots in image maps
Colors are unusable Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning
Users expect links to take them somewhere Don’t write scripts in links that don’t have true destinations associated with them (e.g. href=”javascript: function(this)”)

Teaching Methods

These are some things you might consider as you embark on the day-to-day routines of teaching with a blind student in your classroom.

  • verbalize as you write on the board, overhead projector, and/or charts – be as explicit as possible as you verbalize, for example: “Go stand by the door” instead of “Go over there,” “Let’s look at sentence #5,” instead of, “Look at the next one;” “I have circled one quarter and one nickel; how much is that?” instead of, “How much have I circled?”
  • as you introduce a lesson and are giving examples of how to complete an activity, ask a question to check for understanding of the task.
  • if you are handing out a worksheet on which the directions have been modified for the blind student, you may want to develop a routine in which you go around to this student for more specific instructions after you get the class started
  • don’t be afraid to use the words “look” and “see,” as these sound more normal than saying things like, “Here, feel this!, or, “Did you listen to TV last night?”
  • if it can be touched, encourage tactual exploration

Useful tips

If you are evaluating your courses to work with different accessibility tools, be sure to use for example to use VMWARE or Virtual Box.  The reason you may want to use multiple images is based on different accessibility tools conflict with each other.

Another tip is to use online accessibility checkers, but be sure to check your content while outside of your organization firewall.  Otherwise you may get false information with regards to your products useability.

I believe another option is to pay the CNIB to conduct a review and provide feedback on what you need to change.

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