Things to think about regarding inclusion and accessibility when developing products

The intention should be to make content as widely accessible as possible, and to be explicit where some users may be excluded.

For an in-depth understanding have a look at universal design for learning (UDL). This is a widely used term in the United States which is referred to in legislation. 

 

There are three key principles :

  • Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge,
  • Multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know, and
  • Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners’ interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn.

Content should have two key elements, flexibility and choice.

  • Material should be presented in different formats so that users can select for themselves how they receive it.
  • Users should be able to alter the look and feel of interfaces to reflect their preferences, including colour schemes, fonts, and whether to have images or not. 
  • Users should be able to choose how they respond e.g. text, voice, video.
  • Text, could be provided at different ability levels where it is intended learners should read it independently. 
  • It should be possible to have text read aloud, or to use a screen reader – preferably integral to the resource.
  • Images should be more than decorative, they should aid understanding, and have text descriptions provided.
  • Audio and video files should include a description (which could be written) of the content.
  • Turning them on and off should be controlled by the user.
  • A transcript should be provided, along with optional subtitles on videos.
  • Any links away from the page should state where they are going, if they open a new window, and be placed at the end of the line.
  • Ideally all websites should have an accessibility statement.

John Galloway, Bett Awards Judge