Blurred Lines…… It’s Catchy Name for a Tune But Not What You Want For Your Digital Learning Experience!

Digital Learning Experience
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    Now hear this ……. You are no Robin Thicke and Pharell ……. I mean sure, you are probably pretty cool, but as a learning designer, we implore you ……no blurred lines. Ok – so all silliness aside, let’s get serious for a moment about accessibility and digital learning product. Image if you will being John Every Employee. You have asked John to complete a mandatory training course – you know – code of conduct, keep out of company jail kind of stuff that we are all so excited to do every year…..repeat after us “I solemnly swear I am up to no good….” – ok we are there. But John can’t launch the course – and it is not because he has a browser issue or even an issue with the course itself per se.

    BlurRED Lines

    John is trying to meet your deadline – but for him, the course launch button does not exist. He can not even start the course. 

    This is just one example of what an individual with disability experiences on a daily basis.  

    John, through the eyes of his screen-reader, should be able to easily navigate throughout the course and complete as any other individual.  

    So what can you do to ensure the learning experiences you develop do not leave people like John out in the cold. We are glad you ask. Here is our handy list of the top 11 things (we were going to give you ten -but 11 felt important)  you can do as a learning professional to make your experiences more accessible: 

    Our Top 10 plus 1 (Yes we know it is 11)  Accessibility Get Started Here List 

    1. Learn about web accessibility standards and education you and your team.

    2. Add captions and transcripts for video productions. Transcripts need to be descriptive in order to best support the visually impaired.

    3. Incorporate keyboard navigation in your digital content

    4. Add Alt text for imagery

    5. Think about accessibility when designing timed assessments or provide adequate time for completion.

    6. Use headings (h1, h2, h3) appropriately (they’re important for navigation with screen readers)

    7. Minimize distractions (things that flash, videos that autoplay, gifs that won’t stop moving, popup windows, notifications)

    8. Check your contrast ratios with text and backgrounds

    9. Never use color as the only indicator of information, and avoid red text

    10. Don’t merge cells in a table, and use appropriate table headings. 

    11. Give links solid, descriptive text. No URLS. No “Click here” 

    If you are like “Hey, we will rock your Get Started Here List” and want more of the Going the Distance challenge – consider diving in here: 

    Our Accessibility Going the Distance List 

    • Create a Digital Accessibility Strategy

    • Adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for all digital content to include job aids, instructor handouts, e-learning, and stand-alone video.

    • Incorporate testing protocols to include accessibility testing.

    • Partner with your procurement team to set supplier standards that incorporate WCAG guidelines as part of our agreements and contracts. When is the last time a vendor partner asked if you had accessibility requirements? 

    • Ensure customer-facing software and documentation adhere to WCAG guidelines.

    • Be aware of accessible facilities as we deliver face-to-face training.  

    • Understanding of methods to deliver accessible virtual classroom training.

    If you are still wondering what the why is – we can give you a few – the first of which is having a digital accessibility strategy for learning is a solid inclusion strategy and communicates to our colleagues who may be differently-abled that they are part of the organization. If that does not move you, consider the 800 lawsuits were filed in 2018 for digital accessibility claims, but the most noteworthy was the Dominos appeal to the Supreme Court.

    If you have other ideas or think we have missed something – please reach out and let us know. We love hearing from you. If you are like this is great, but where do we get started – give us a call – we would be glad to see our experiences with you. As we say around here, together we learn. 

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