Online accessibility standards may not have affected generations prior to the baby boomers, but do you know who it will affect? Web accessibility adherence, or lack thereof, will affect all internet users who plan to age, that means you. Let me explain…
My team accepted an assignment from a client who specialized in accessibility software, training and consulting. They covered the gamut of ADA, Section 508, WCAG, VPAT, CVAA, and AODA, setting the gold standard and guiding sectors of the federal government. Their expectations were high. The assignment was to convert eLearning from power point to multimedia learning experiences in a LMS, vetting them against a team of in-house QA testers with disabilities.
The end product was slated to be more accessible than www.whitehouse.gov.
The whole thing was a challenge – big personalities and the unknown. No one on my team wanted to touch this project with a 10-foot pole, so as the director I stepped up and took the assignment. The decision helped me establish ethos as a leader and helped my team grow.
Several months into the project I was in a review session listening to the QA tester rip apart our interactive learning games. He said, “The tab button is still skipping out of order”, (insert his sigh followed by disgusted silence). The scene was a moving target. It was a dance of his report versus my team. Every week I returned with a list of new failures triggered by the prior week’s solves.
We were all exhausted, including the QA tester. One day he said, “Sara, you know one day all this will probably affect you?” He went on to explain some of the tips below. It was a long haul but we put on our game faces and moved forward to cross the finish line.
Here's WHY you should care about web accessibility:
If you plan on aging this should matter to you
Most people experience a decline in vision from age 41-60. Some experience lack of clarity while others have a shifting perception of color.
Designing for accessibility in general eLearning / Training doesn’t take that much more time or effort
When designing consider color contrast, font sizes and pair alerts with symbols. Images should play a supporting role in a document not just decorate the page. Be sure to use alt tags and HTML headings appropriately. Learn more about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). *The above statement rings true unless you are creating interactive games from scratch for an accessibility expert.
“26% (one in 4) of adults in the United States have some type of disability"
If you work at a University know students don't have to disclose their disabilities, but they do need to be able to access all course materials.
You have a voice and a platform to make a difference
If you're ready for some next steps check out this accessibility toolkit recently posted by Cara North. You don't want to miss this comprehensive list of accessibility tools for designers and developers by Lisa Dziuba. I after you become enlightened from Lisa's post jump into Robbie Li's and consider how you might move beyond compliance and think differently to solve problems for a learning persona requiring accessible design.