Overview – This module provides an introduction to universal design, web usability, and web accessibility. The focus of the module is to provide an overview of web accessibility, including its essential role in providing equal opportunity for people with disabilities, additional benefits to others, myths surrounding web accessibility, and examples of web page coding techniques that improve the accessibility of web pages.
Learner Outcomes/ Objectives
- Describe principles of universal design
- Discuss benefits of universally designed content for everyone
- Define usability
- Define accessibility
- Describe how accessibility benefits users without disabilities
- Identify forms of disability that should be considered when designing accessible web sites
- Identify and describe a web page with accessibility / usability issues
Length – this module should take the average learner approximately 9 hours to complete.
Readings for this topic
- What does accessibility mean?
- How does accessibility help your users?
- Experiencing a website via a screen reader
- How does accessibility help you and your clients?
- Overview of Section 508 standards
- Overview of WCAG standards
- Understanding consistency and semantic markup
If you do not have a lynda.com account, you may wish to consider these supplemental readings).
- The Wide Range of Abilities and Its Impact On Computer Technology: Findings About Computer Users PDF document
- Study Shows 57 Percent of Adult Computer Users Can Benefit From Accessible Technology file
- Demonstration – A common misconception is that an accessible web page must be dull, boring, or just plain text. Take about 10 minutes to explore the WAI’s Before and After Demo (described on page 5). Notice that an accessible web page can be just as appealing as a non-accessible page! We’ll spend more time with this demo in a later module.
- Presentation – Universal design for the WWW file
- After viewing the presentation above, review this six-minute video which demonstrates how screen readers assist people who are blind navigate the web and access web pages. Text Transcript
- Next, review this linked resource – World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design – This ten-minute video includes interviews of individuals with disabilities and describes at a very general level how to make web pages accessible to people with disabilities.
You’ll keep a journal of your exploration of accessibility topics in your blog. I provide a separate overview of how to update your weblog. I do ask that you copy and paste your entry for the week in this assignment so I can review and comment on it in this space (outside of the blog where everyone can see my comments). You should update your blog each week. Each post should be at least 200 words in length and must be in your own words. Be sure to cite all sources.
Your blog entry this week should focus on the topic of universal design. What new concepts did you learn? What insights do you have about this topic? What resources helped you better understand the topic? How did the provided materials (textbook and web sites) enhance your understanding of this topic?
Blog posts will be graded as either satisfactory or not. A satisfactory post will exhibit these characteristics:
- Blog post is published on time, is very well written with no typos, grammar, or spelling errors, expands upon course topics, and exceeds the minimum post length. Post contains images where relevant to the content, and links to multiple (more than 2) resources.
Assignment/ Lab exercise
In your experience visiting web sites at one time or another you’ve probably encountered a web page that is difficult or frustrating to use. You also may have noticed web pages with accessibility issues. In this activity you will describe a web page that is either difficult to use of has one or more of the accessibility issues described in the World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design video. Write a one or two paragraphs that include the URL of the web page, the goal of the web site, the target audience of the web site, and three to five sentences about the accessibility and/or usability issues of the page.
This lab will be graded as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If the latter, you will have one week to modify your submission and and sent it to me via email. After that week, the grade stands.
The rubric I will use in grading this assignment includes the following categories:
- Content – Content is complete, accurate and addresses relevant accessibility/usability issues encountered by the student. There are no grammatical errors.
- Critical thinking – Clear evidence of critical thinking (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).