Are Your Training Materials Accessible?

As trainers and project managers, we all need to be aware of making our training materials accessible so that they may be used by all of our end users – those with and without disabilities. To make materials accessible after they have been created can be much more time consuming than if they were initially created with accessibility in mind.

Making our training materials accessible not only helps our end users, but it also keeps us in compliance with our laws and guidelines. In the United States, they include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508, in the EU there is the EN 301 549, and other countries have their own set of guidelines.

You may have read the article I wrote for the January 2017 PCM Newsletter, called “Keeping Accessibility in Mind for End Users” to raise our awareness of what features of the technology (aka assistive technology) someone with a disability would use to learn, perform on the job, or use in their personal life for many of the things those of us without disabilities take for granted.

I have truly been amazed to see what Microsoft has done with their products and their current focus on accessibility! It is so different than what they were like when I worked with assistive technology in the disability field in the early 1990’s. They have created an Office Accessibility Center website that provides a variety of resources including items for those of us in the training community to use to make our training content accessible.  The site includes some accessibility awareness videos, templates specifically designed for accessibility, short “how to” videos and instructions on how to make our training materials accessible.  The videos are good examples of what an accessible video should contain with closed captioning that can be customized for optimal viewing by the user. Select the Get training link to get started.

For those using Google Docs, the Accessibility for Google Docs link contains their information on how to make your document or presentation accessible.

If you use Oracle’s User Productivity Kit (UPK), the 508 compliant accessible publishing format is the HTML web site, however Oracle UPK and Accessibility contains additional accessibility information for the UPK.

Technology and tools are constantly changing. What are you using to create your training materials?  What issues have you encountered?

3 Comments
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Accessibility Question

August 21, 2018 11:16 PM by Stacy Mitchell, 36800

Liz - thanks for the post.  I have a question regarding compliance.  My understanding of compliance is that there are different levels of WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).  Do you know what level your school aims to be at to be accessible?  Thanks! Stacy   

Accessibility Question

August 31, 2018 12:17 PM by Liz Medvetz

Hi Stacy,

My understanding is that we are working to achieve a very high level of conformance.

Two tools that U/Albany is using to ensure accessibility are Siteimprove and Ally. Siteimprove is being used by our web content editors on our website and Ally is used in Blackboard by our faculty.

Siteimprove’s Accessibility Checker evaluates any web page for accessibility issues. It provides feedback about your content – detecting issues and how they affect users. It gives specific recommendations on how to fix the detected issues.

Ally is a tool that focuses on making digital course content more accessible. Ally works seamlessly in the background of our Blackboard LMS to automatically check course materials for common accessibility issues. The tool then generates multiple accessible formats of the original instructional content for students to select and offers step-by-step guidance to faculty on how to improve their content accessibility.

What is your institution doing?

Liz

Accessibility Question Follow Up

September 5, 2018 11:43 AM by Stacy Mitchell, 36800

Thanks Liz!  This is helpful.  We just upgraded to CS 9.2 and are in the process of updated training material.  Right now, we are publishing material in a variety of formats including pdf's that are accessible and html.  

Liz - I will take a look at the sites you use and may have some questions. 

I am curious if others have others tools they are using. If so, can you please share?   

Thank you! 

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