Before discussing how to make your Lectora course more accessible/508 compliant, it’s important to keep in mind two main principles to make your course accessible:
- Provide an equivalent experience for those with hearing, visual, motor function and cognitive impairments.
- Be able to navigate a course or website with only a keyboard.
In my last blog post, I demonstrated how you could use dynamically targeted actions in Lectora to show the same content in different ways depending on the needs of the user, and discussed some of the most important items to keep in mind, reading order, layering, avoiding showing content over time, etc.
Here are seven simple ways to make your Lectora course more accessible:
1: Use Descriptive Titles for Everything
This means for pages, graphics, navigation, charts, graphs, etc. Make it conversational, how would you describe this item to someone who cannot see it? There is a 128-character limit in Lectoras’ properties box. If you need a longer description, you can use a hidden text box, (white type on a white background, for instance), which a screen reader will read, but will be undetected by sighted users.
2: Tables Must Identify a Header Row
The data contained in a table will not make sense without this. Using the table tool, you can designate a header row by highlight the appropriate row in the table, right-clicking and choosing “Table > Header Row.” The Lectora chart tool can create charts with header row identification.
3: Don’t Put Instruction Text in Rollovers
This is important, don’t put instruction text in rollovers, graphics or Flash* without an equivalent descriptive text using the Lectora text tool. Screen readers such as JAWS, read only text boxes and ALT tags, and anything that changes content after the initial page load can make the reader start over from the beginning.
*Flash can be made accessible to screen readers, but the prohibition against changing content over time still applies.
4: Don’t Use Color Alone to Convey Information
For example don’t use the text, “Click on the green image to proceed.” It’s also important to have adequate contrast between text and background.
5: Provide Key Commands for Navigation Consistent with User Expectations
Keep consistent key commands for navigation and consistent with your user expectations. Such as, right arrow = next page, left arrow = previous page, etc.
6: Use Some Form of Linear Navigation
Provide a form of linear navigation and label the destination of each item with an appropriate ALT tag, such as “Next Page” or “Launch Document”
7: Don’t Use Features You Cannot Accomplish with Only a Keyboard
Do not use Click and Show, Table of Contents, Hot Spots, Drag and Drops, or any other feature you cannot accomplish with a keyboard alone. Of course you can use the variable method to provide an equivalent content for users of screen readers or other assistive devices.
While dealing with the requirements of section 508 can add to development time, it should not keep you from providing a rich experience for all users. Remember, 508 covers a wide range of issues, and anyone at any time may find themselves in need of the extra accessibility it provides.