Digital Accessibility | What is it?

By digital accessibility we mean the findability, usability and user-friendliness of digital information and services for everyone. It is a way to promote inclusion and diversity and to ensure that no one is excluded from accessing important information and services. In education, this mainly concerns websites, digital learning environments (like Brightspace, Ms Teams) and study information systems (like Osiris, TimeEdit, MyWURToday). More and more information and services, such as schedules, figures, news, readers, exam registrations, presentations, etc. can be found (exclusively) via the internet and apps.

Why Digital Accessibility in WUR? 

30% of the students in the Netherlands have some sort of a disability. ECIO (Expertisecentrum inclusief onderwijs) found out that 10% of this group experience difficulties in education due to their disability. Examples of disabilities are dyslexia, ADHD, psychological problems, auditory, visual or motor impairments. The goal of digital accessibility is to eliminate barriers that can prevent students with disabilities from effectively using and interacting with digital content.  

As an educational institution, WUR is obliged to ensure digital accessibility. These obligations are laid down in Dutch law. 

Kinds of disabilities & guidelines 

There are different kinds of disabilities that can be a barrier to students' learning. 

1. Visual disabilities

Disability Guidelines
Color Blindness
  • Use high contrast between text and the background.
  • Avoid these color combinations (Green/red, Green/blue, Green/black, Green/brown, Green/gray, Light green/yellow, Blue/purple, Blue/gray). 
  • Use icons and/or symbols with colored diagrams.
  • Use textures for representing charts, graphs & maps.
Blindness, Visual impairment & Dyslexia 
  • Use alternative texts for images, links & graphs.
  • Use a clear headings hierarchy.
  • Use descriptive titles for pages.
  • Use a proper text font and size.
  • Add transcripts for video files.

2. Hearing disability

Disability Guidelines
Partial or total hearing loss
  • Provide closed captions to visual and auditory content.
  • Provide text transcripts for multimedia content.
  • Add closed captions to live lectures (web lectures).
  • Use low or no background audio for audio with speech.

3. Cognitive disabilities

Disability Guidelines
ADHD
  • Use simple & consistent page layouts.
  • Use consistent text sizes, line spacing, and font type.
  • Make your content pages short, clear & simple.
  • Avoid having moving elements on your pages.
  • Avoid having time limits in your quizzes.
Autism
  • Maintain a consistent and predictable layout and navigation structure. 
  • Avoid sensory overload with flashing or rapidly changing content.
  • Use plain language and avoid jargon, abbreviations...etc.

Now you know more about Digital Accessibility!

Want to know more about making your Brightspace course more Digital Accessible?

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