Today, I visited a local university that has a campus-based program for students with learning disabilities. I am helping to make the program’s Web site more accessible to its students. I met with the program director, two representatives of university Web services, and an adjunct-faculty member responsible for managing site content. We discussed possible cognitive-accessibility features and next steps for the project.
We will focus on content first.
- Outdated information will be pruned or updated.
- Text will be rewritten into plain language.
- Contextually-relevant images will be added, especially photos taken during program activities.
- After the above tasks are accomplished for one to five pages, they will be evaluated by program students.
We will then revise the site’s design. To do so, we will determine which cognitive-accessibility features we can incorporate using the university’s content management system (CMS). Examples:
- Alternative style sheets could be created that conform to text accessibility standards with which I have experimented.
- A text-to-speech function, likely ROKTalk, could be added to the CMS template.
- Short, captioned videos could be embedded as is done so well on The Mencap Web Site.
- A text-size enlarger and a background-color changer could be added similar to those of The BBC’s My Web My Way. (The ROKTalk toolbar includes such features, but this may be another way for site visitors to invoke them.)
- Other development steps will be outlined in future posts. For example, the My Web My Way idea could be expanded such that site visitors could choose their own mixture of content types.
- Program students will be included in every step of the site development.