Long read: Commit to digital disability inclusion
16 March 2021
Work is underway in ISD (Information Services Division) to progress digital accessibility with a project team auditing, fixing, and raising awareness of various issues such as web content; e-learning and applications.
To move the dial on digital accessibility we all have a part to play - our individual actions can make a difference.
What can you do as a team and an individual to increase your knowledge of barriers often unwittingly built into material you produce?
There is plenty of good practice guides available to browse through and then apply to your everyday working practice. There is also an Accessibility Checker that can be used for Word and PowerPoint.
Many people may have their own style of presenting documents and may feel resistant to having a set style imposed on them. However, the key objective is to get people to receive and understand communications, complete forms accurately and without delay. Failing to follow established accessibility good practice will result in some of our student and staff community being excluded from communications e.g., an image to set context for an article will be invisible to some without alternative descriptive text stating what the image is.
Positive steps you can take:
- Apply alternative descriptive text to Images
- Use UCL PowerPoint templates as these have accessibility built in - available under UCL Brand Resources at https://imagestore.ac.uk
- Heading styles in Word documents which help those using screen readers to navigate through the document
- Hyperlinks with meaningful labels for screen reader users rather than generic labels such as ‘click here’
- Forms that can be completed without the use of a mouse or are formatted in a way that can be navigated with a screen reader for example Microsoft Forms
- PDFs that do not contain scanned images
- Good colour contrast, and use of Styles rather than colour as the sole method to communicate
- Tone down very vibrant colours and avoid flashing images to avoid discomfort for neurodivergent (and other) readers
- Captions for media content/live sessions
Work out an action plan to improve inclusion - prioritise forms/documents that are mandatory or high use for your department or service.