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