Tips on Making Resources Accessible to the Disabled Student
One of the challenges facing academia is the ability to make electronic resources accessible to the Disabled Student. When designing web pages, most of us aspire to capture the “art” when the design should reflect the “craft.” Making delivery of information the primary concern rather than focusing on aesthetics will allow these tips to open a window of alternatives. Online courses and electronic resources must be designed so the experience is the same for all.
As a designer of electronic resources, there are some basic tips that you should take into consideration like the use of “alternative text” to describe the function of each visual image. You should also consider providing captioning and transcripts of audio and descriptions of video. Minimize the amount of links that are used, they can be difficult to navigate for a Disabled Student. When designing web pages or electronic resources, keep in mind that different browsers and different versions of the same browsers may display web pages differently. Blind students often use a “text only” browser that will allow audible transmission of the text. A primary “text only” browser is Lynx. Visit their site and experiment with their test version browser. (http://lynx.browser.org/)
Most PC users and electronic resource designers are unaware
that built into Windows 2000’s program are limited, yet useful “Accessibility”
tools. Go into your programs (see below) and experiment with them.
They include a “magnifier, narrator, and on-screen keyboard.”
Having equal access to web sites and electronic resources will broaden the learning experience, plus make the university available to students with diverse needs. Visit the resources listed for links to information on making resources accessible to the Disabled Student.
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides a checklist for web designers and also links to various web resource tools at the following site: www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT
Bobby 3.2 evaluates and provides feedback on existing web pages for their accessibility to people with disabilities. Go to http://www.cast.org/bobby/ to experiment with a copy of this web-based tool.