Online training for employee training as well as public education remains part of the educational landscape. When designing eLearning content for compliance training, personalized learning, or any other learning experience, the resources you create must be accessible to everyone. Training content must be designed for everyone to use, including those with disabilities.
You must ensure the necessary accommodations including adding captions to videos, offering multiple ways to consume content, and changing the color contrast so content is more visible.
The best way to ensure that your online resources are accessible is to check your website against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which provide detailed information and a checklist for how to make your website more accessible. Whether you provide text content, audio content, or video resources, it’s important to make your content usable for those with disabilities.
Read on to learn more about the WCAG Guidelines and how to meet them with the help of accessible technology tools.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a framework for creating more accessible web content for people with disabilities. These standards are published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium, which sets accessibility standards for content on the World Wide Web.
The WCAG outlines four clear guidelines for websites to follow. Websites should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
For a website to be perceivable according to the WCAG guidelines, it must be perceivable to those with both visual and auditory disabilities. To create a more perceivable website, you should include closed captioning/subtitles alongside all audio and video content, or an accompanying text transcript. Including both is preferable. To make your website more accessible for those with visual disabilities, you should ensure a contrast ratio of 5:1 to meet WCAG Level AA and 7:1 to meet the requirements for Level AAA. For images, add alternative text that describes the image so that those with visual impairments can understand the images you use.
An operable website means one that can be easily operated by people with disabilities. Some people with disabilities cannot use a mouse or other tools to navigate websites. Therefore, having an operable website means that it should be operable and easily navigated using only your keyboard. If there are any components of your website that you cannot access by using your keyboard (your arrow keys, in particular), you should alter them to make them more accessible. You will likely find that your website is not only more accessible for those with disabilities, but is easier to navigate for everyone.
Creating an understandable website means creating a website that is easy to understand for everyone, including those who are visually impaired. Use clear phrasing in your blog posts and on web pages, and avoid using niche industry slang or other specific terminology. If your users find themselves confused by your content, they will spend less time reading what you have to say and more time trying to find the definitions of frivolous terms or trying to decipher your wording. You should organize your content in a way that is easily understood by a screen reader.
If you do choose to include any slang terms, jargon, or another unusual language, you should include a key if you want to reach the highest standard of accessibility.
A truly accessible website is robust, meaning that the content provided on the website should be accessible across a wide variety of devices, browsers, and technologies. You should check the accessibility of your website across multiple operating systems, including those that you might not use on your own devices, to ensure that everyone who wants to access your content is able to do so. For example, one of the fundamental rules of accessibility in the modern day is ensuring that your website is available on both mobile devices and PCs and that it functions properly on both.
Websites can reach a standard of Level A, AA, or AAA for each guideline. Level A is the minimum standard for accessibility, while AA suggests a moderate level of accessibility, and Level AAA is the highest standard of accessibility.
Meeting the WCAG requirements requires websites to change some aspects of visual, audio, and text content to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. By changing these features of your website, you will not only help people with disabilities access and understand the resources you provide, but you will also create more streamlined training courses for all.
Here are some tips for educational institutions to use to improve accessibility.
It is important to add captions, also known as subtitles, to any pre-recorded video or audio content. The only exception is videos that are considered “media alternatives for text,” which accompany text content but do not add any further meaningful information. Even if media alternatives for text are available, it is still good practice to include subtitles with your video. Don’t forget to add alt text to images, too!
To meet Level A WGAC requirements, all you need to do is include captions with your content. With the help of Maestra’s automatic subtitle generator, you can add in synchronized captions to any pre-recorded video without lifting a finger. Plus, you can translate your subtitles into over 80 languages, meaning that more people all around the world will be able to access and understand your content.
Before publishing video content, you should ensure that you include audio descriptions of the content. Audio descriptions describe content that cannot be deciphered from the main audio alone; for example, audio descriptions might include information such as characters’ names, descriptions of on-screen text, and more. Providing proper audio descriptions for prerecorded video content will help you reach Level A WCAG standards.
Adding subtitles to your video and audio content is a great way to make your content accessible for more people who use assistive technology, but there is no substitute for transcribing your educational content and including that transcription alongside the content itself. In fact, it is a best practice to include both synchronized subtitles and a static text transcript alongside video and audio content. Not only does including transcriptions with video increase your website’s accessibility, but it also increases their watchability and instantly betters your SEO.
Transcribing content is easy and simple using Maestra Suite’s audio-to-text generator, enabling you to add transcriptions to all of your audio and video content in an instant.
Creating accessible learning content is necessary for making your resources accessible to people with disabilities, as well as easier to use for everyone. Online learning should be for everyone, but unfortunately, many websites are not fully accessible to those with disabilities. You can play a part in making sure that your website and learning materials are available to anyone who wants them.
Creating an accessible online course is easy with Maestra. Maestra Suite automatically generates transcriptions for your video/audio content, adds captions, and allows you to edit your course materials for your learning management system (LMS) all in one place. Get started with your free trial today!