Digest #147: Making Your Material Digitally Accessible

Digest #147: Making Your Material Digitally Accessible

Dr Helena Paterson is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Glasgow. She is the Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Lead for the School of Psychology. Her expertise lies in digital education and her research is about children and adults’ perception of difference as it pertains so first impressions and person perception. Dr Paterson was the guest host of the #LrnSciChat on Digital Accessibility on 25 August 2020. You can find the summary of that Twitter chat here: Digital Accessibility #LrnSciChat. You can follow her on Twitter @PatersonHelena.

To boost digital accessibility, the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 came into effect in the UK in 2018. This law requires that all websites for organisations that benefit from public money must be digitally accessible to all users. This law also applies to teaching materials hosted in virtual learning systems in universities such as Moodle and Blackboard.  Extensive guidelines have been written to help organisations to make their websites digitally accessible and are known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). This law has sparked a wider discussion about how we make our content accessible to students and also to pupils because it has shone a spotlight on the different kinds of things that can be barriers to learners. More importantly, though, it made many people realize that digitally accessible also means better for all students. In starting to work with my own materials, I found that it is not a lot of effort and does not take much time to make materials accessible. I also really find the concept “Accessible by Design” very useful: Plan with accessibility in mind when you design new teaching materials. In today’s digest a collection of resources is provided to get you started with digital accessibility.

1.     Dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility by Karwai Pun 

This is an excellent summary article that discusses attention, social-emotional issues, and environmental context issues. While the article applies these issues to user experience research, the concepts are the same for all of us. This article features helpful posters that can be downloaded and used as a resource.