Making the Web Accessible

This week we are studying accessibility. I had no idea how little I knew.

As I was looking through the resources, I realized that before the college can provide accessible online courses, colleges have to train the designers to make the information accessible in the first place! My background is publishing; I made thousands of pdfs for a MAJOR book publisher and not ONCE was I asked to make it accessible. I didn’t know anything about pdf accessibility! And I can tell you, I know A LOT about pdfs. And guess what? I watched the Adobe video on how to make an accessible pdf and it is easy to do! Not only that, but it is even easier to make the files accessible in the native authoring program, i.e. InDesign. I have put together entire textbooks with InDesign. And guess what? I didn’t know there were accessibility features. I’m saying all of this to make a point. Most things that show up in a web course has to be created elsewhere first. Accessibility is hidden in the files, where the average user doesn’t see them. But these hidden instructions mean something to screen readers.

I think that when someone is designing a poster, or a math book, the person isn’t thinking that one day that material may be on the web. Sometimes we must think of where our product might end before we even begin. Accessibility is one of those times.

I realize I am probably the only person in the class who uses InDesign rather than Word. So I went to the Microsoft website and found this video about how to make Word documents accessible.

Video: Find and fix accessibility issues in Word 2010

Excuse me while I change some of the colors in my web site….

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