Posted by: MandyS | November 1, 2011

Activity 19.1 – Accessibility guidelines

This has been a demanding activity, not least because of the sheer volume of material, but well worth the effort. If nothing else, at least I know where to look.

Here is my overview of the various guidelines:

General:

 
Level of Detail – There is a vast amount of detail here which covers just about every eventuality. What I like is the fact that it first specifies what is to be achieved (Checkpoint) then tells you how to go about doing so (Technique). The problem I have with these guidelines is that I have no technical experience so found some of the explanations somewhat bewildering, particularly in relation to HTML; I know what it is but it is not something I use. Likewise, I have heard of ALT but I don’t know how to use it. I would imagine that those with more technical capability than myself would find the explanations more understandable and useful.
 
Is the guidance complete? – There are a number of links to other sites throughout the guidelines, e.g. adding audio and embedding captions. There are also examples of what the ultimate format should look like. 
 
Would you recommend this guidance? – I think the guidelines are comprehensive and a useful resource for finding out how to create alternative formats and what they are suitable for and I would recommend them as such.
 
Web Pages:
 
 
Level of detail – this is simply a summary and as such it is very much an overview which highlights various considerations arising from the guidelines. There is no technical detail at all. 
 
Is the guidance complete? – it is emphasised that this is only a summary and provides links to the main guidelines and in particular the more detailed quick reference guide to the techniques which can be used to make web content accessible.
 
Would you recommend this guidance? – This particular part of the site does not contain much information other than the basics to be achieved but the links allow direct access to the parts one needs to know i.e. how to do it. As such, I would recommend the site.
 
 
Level of detail – There is very little technical detail here but the video gives a clear explanation of the problems associated with using screen readers and the simple solutions available e.g. alt text and Headers. I think this works for me because it is quite simple. I suppose the only issue now is that I still don’t know how to use Alt text and Headers. 
 
Is the guidance complete? – There are a couple of links at the end to the guidelines but little by way of further information i.e. how to use Alt text would be useful.
 
Would you recommend this guidance? – I think this video is ideal for someone like me who is not technically minded but needs to know about website accessibility. For that reason, I would recommend the site to other tutors. 
 
 
Level of detail – This gives a detailed explanation of the various considerations needed for making text, alternative formats and web pages accessible for people with dyslexia. These are largely more practical than technical in nature e.g. paper colour, font size style and colour but nevertheless are understandable and usable. 

Is the guidance complete? – The guidance is itself quite comprehensive but there are a number of links at the end directing the reader to sites giving more detailed information.
 
Would you recommend this guidance? – This is a very useful guide which clearly identifies how to make various formats accessible and as such I would recommend it to other tutors.  

Powerpoint:

 
Level of detail – this is a comprehensive guide to the use of powerpoints and how to make them accessible. It explains good practice and is technically detailed but, most importantly for me, it shows exactly how to create the various options e.g. hyperlinks, text boxes, screen tips etc.
 
Is the guidance complete? – it is very much a self-contained but being so comprehensive, there is little need for links to further information. There are however links to video versions of the ‘how to..’ explanations which is invaluable for someone with limited technical experience like myself. 
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – definitely; it is a must for anyone involved with powerpoint presentations. 
 
 
Level of detail – this is a more practical guide to creating accessible powerpoints and is good because it specifically focuses on particular problem areas. Again, there are plenty of ‘how to’ demonstrations for those less technically able. In particular, it deals with each version of powerpoint and identified that powerpoint 2010 has an accessibility checker; excellent news.
 
Is the guidance complete? – There are plenty of links here to further information and the one I particularly liked was the link to Alternative Text; at last I know how to do it!
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – compared to the last it is more succinct as it deals specifically with common issues and how to resolve them. In that respect, I would recommend it.

Word Documents:
 
 
Level of detail – this is a comprehensive guide similar to that for powerpoints. It is technically detailed but in a way which is understandable i.e. by showing how to use the various options in word to create accessible documents. Ironically, it contains the information I have been waiting for about alternative text.
 
Is the guidance complete? – like the powerpoint guide, this is very much self-contained but does provide the valuable ‘how to’ videos for the complete novice.
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – definitely; a good guide to the basics.
 
 
Level of detail – this is the more practical version which focuses on particular problem areas and establishes the do’s and don’ts by means of examples of what a screen reader will ‘read’ from the document. Although not as technically detailed as some of the guidelines and not as visually attractive, it sets out the basics. 
 
Is the guidance complete? – there are links to further information which is helpful.
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – at first I wasn’t as impressed but I think that was more to do with appearance. It actually contains some very useful guidance which is easily understood so I would definitely recommend it to other tutors.
 
PDF Documents:

 
This is similar in nature to the Powerpoint and Word document guidelines and what I have said there applies equally here.
 
 
Level of detail – this is Adobe’s own guide. The sheer volume of information and technical detail put me off slightly and I think I would struggle to work through this. Having said that, the site gives the option of being able to explore the guidelines in smaller chunks which I think would be an advantage to a novice.
 
Is the guidance complete? – It is certainly comprehensive and there are ‘links’ to other parts of the document, however, being a PDF document the links do not physically work.
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – I think this type of guidance would be suitable for someone who has some technical knowledge of PDF but I would not recommend it to the novice.
 
 
Level of detail – although there is probably the same amount of technical detail here as with the last one, for me it is in a much more manageable and understandable style, which focuses more on the practicalities. the only downside is that it is somewhat out of date, especially for me as I have Word 2010; from prior experience, much has changed.
 
Is the guidance complete? – there are plenty of links here to further information, should it be required.
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – I think this combined with the JISC Techdis are more suitable for the novice as they have lots of ‘how to’ and don’t necessarily assume any technical knowledge. 
 
Flash:
 
 
Level of detail – this is similar to the powerpoint guide and, although detailed, it is more practical in nature focusing on the problems and how they can be resolved. To that end, the technical detail is not such as to be bewildering to the novice.
 
Is the guidance complete? – yes, there are links to further information should they be needed.
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – the guidance is easily understood so yes.
 
 
Level of detail – this is very much an overview of the issues and what to do to make Flash accessible. It may be lacking in detail but it contains a basic summary, which is easily understood. In particular, it has a ‘testing’ section so that you can check the accessibility.
 
Is the guidance complete? – there are links but not to anything which contains more detailed information. 
 
Would you recommend the guidance? – I would recommend using this and the previous guidance together.
 
Resources about video:
 
Audio description

Guidance on standards for audio description 

Level of detail – this is quite detailed but I think the visual appearance is somewhat off-putting; there is a lot of narrative but that may just be my style of learning. This was a shame because there were some good points about descriptions to accompany videos which would be quite useful.

Is the guidance complete? – this is a self-contained document which does not link to further information (or not that was apparent).

Would you recommend the guidance? – It may contain some useful guidance but I would not recommend it as it is not easily readable.

Comments on U.K. guidelines on audio description 

Level of detail – this is more someone’s own thoughts on the guidelines and although there are some useful snippets, it does lack detail about what to do and how to do it.

Is the guidance complete? – I don’t think it was intended to be complete, hence the links to further information.

Would you recommend the guidance? – I think it puts the issue of audio description into perspective so I would recommend it for that reason alone. 

Subtitling

 
Level of detail – this is more an information page about the fact that YouTube now has automatic captioning.

Is the guidance complete? – no, but I don’t think that is its purpose

Would you recommend the guidance? – it is worth reading but out of date now so I probably wouldn’t recommend it. 
 
Level of detail – this is an overview but there are plenty of links to other pages on ‘how to’ (Proud Geek) so in that respect the detail is there but not necessarily obvious. I think you need to know what you are looking for.

Is the guidance complete? – there are plenty of links to further information but this makes it a time consuming exercise.

Would you recommend the guidance? – it may be a site which is worth exploring in more detail to see what is there but I would not necessarily recommend it.
 

Level of detail – this is a good overview of the basics, but again the layout does not make it easily readable. 

Is the guidance complete? – It is very much a self-contained report although there is a reference section. 

Would you recommend the guidance? – It is a good overview, so probably yes, I would recommend it to fellow tutors.

Signing of video


Level of detail – this contains details about virtual signing, explaining what it is and how it is achieved. There is also a useful powerpoint summary which contains additional information. However, it is purely that; information and it is not intended as guidance on how you can do this yourself! To that end, the guidance is not complete although I would recommend it as useful information. 

 

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