Are Your Training Materials Accessible?

By Liz Medvetz posted 08-07-2018 07:26 AM


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?