This is the Roehampton Digital Accessibility & Inclusivity Hub for all staff members and students.  The guidance below outlines key features and concepts to support teaching and learning in online and blended environment, both in terms of everyday use of available digital technologies and essential principles of digital pedagogy such as universal design and inclusivity.

If you have any questions or wish to address additional accessibility topics and features, please contact moodle@roehampton.ac.uk.

 

MICROSOFT Accessibility Features

Windows – Windows is designed to support productivity, creativity, and ease of use for everyone. Learn about the accessibility resources for vision, hearing, dexterity, mobility, focus, and more from the Microsoft official guidance.

Here are some of the most useful features:

  • Magnifier to make things to the screen larger: to quickly turn on Magnifier, press the Windows logo key  + Plus sign (+) . To turn off Magnifier, press the Windows logo key + Esc.
  • Turn contrast theme on:
    • Select the Start button, and then select Settings > Accessibility > Contrast themes.
    • To turn on contrast themes, select the theme you want from the Contrast themes drop-down menu, and then select the Apply button. Windows may display a “Please wait” screen for a few seconds, after which the colors on the screen change.
  • Turn on live captions:
    • Turn on the Live captions toggle in the quick settings Accessibility flyout. (To open quick settings, select the battery, network, or volume icon on the taskbar.)
    • Press Windows logo key  + Ctrl + L.
    • Select Start All apps > Accessibility Live captions.
    • Go to Settings Accessibility Captions, and turn on the Live captions toggle.

Microsoft Office accessibility checker is available on Word, Excel and PowerPoint and the process to run it is exactly the same on all of them. It highlights the main issues with your document and instructs you on how to fix them. If you are using Office on a Mac or via Office online, the process to access the accessibility checker is the same. With your document open, click on the Review tab in the ribbon and then click Check Accessibility.

Alternatively, With the document open go to File > Info. Then click Check for Issues button and choose Check Accessibility.

This report gives you a list of accessibility errors and warnings. These include things like:

  • No image alternative text
  • Unclear link text
  • Tips for checking slide reading order in PowerPoint

If you click on an item in the report, it will go to the part of your document with the issue. It will also give you Information about the issue, and instructions on how to fix it at the bottom.

Read aloud

Word – review tab à Read aloud à Listen (also available on OneNote and Microsoft Edge in Windows 11)

Immersive Reader – view tab in Word or type Immersive Reader in the search bar for changing the document’s colour, text spacing or column width

Power Point – Add closed captions to a video

You can add captions to presentations that you’ve recorded with video narration, screen recordings, and any other video (except online videos) that you insert into PowerPoint. Currently, adding captions to an audio-only recording isn’t supported.

  1. In PowerPoint, in the Normal view, open the slide that has the video that you want to add captions to.
  2. Select the video on the slide.
  3. On the Playback tab, select Insert Captions, and then select Insert Captions.
  4. In the Insert Captions dialog box, select the file or files and then click Insert.
  5. If you need to add more caption files, just repeat the process.
  6. Play the video and check that the captions appear correctly.

Chrome Browser

The Chrome browser supports screen readers and magnifiers and offers people with low vision full-page zoom, high-contrast colour, and extensions. You can find the full list of Chrome’s accessibility features on the Google guidance site.

  • You can turn on Live Caption for media that you play in Chrome. Live Caption is only available in English.
  1. On your computer, open Chrome .
  2. At the top right, click More     Settings.
  3. At the bottom of the Settings page, click Advanced   Accessibility   Captions.
  4. Turn on Live Caption.

 

Zoom in or out on your current page – Use the zoom options to make everything on a web page larger or smaller.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click More  .
  3. Next to ‘Zoom’, choose the zoom options that you want:
    • Make everything larger: Click Zoom in  +.
    • Make everything smaller: Click Zoom out  -.
    • Use full-screen mode: Click Full screen .

High Contrast and Custom Colour Support

There are a number of steps you can take to configure Chrome to run with custom contrast and colours.

  1. Install a Chrome Extension which allows you to specify your own custom colour combinations, for instance the Change Colours extension.
    • Quick page action to apply/remove styling overrides on a per page, per domain or global basis (overriding Web page colours)
    • Optional background, text, links and visited links colour configuration
    • Option for showing/hiding images
    • Option for showing/hiding Flash objects
  2. Use a Chrome Theme for some control of the colour scheme of the Chrome user interface. As an example, the BitNova Dark theme offers white text on a black background. The Chrome Extensions Gallery offers many other themes, with a variety of colour combinations.

MS Teams Accessibility Features

(excerpt from the official Microsoft support page)

Magnify screen content – With the Magnifier tool you can enlarge the whole screen (Full screen) or just a part of the screen (Lens pane) to make text and items on the screen easier to see.

  1. To quickly start Magnifier, press the Windows logo key+Plus sign (+).
  2. To zoom in, press the Windows logo key+Plus sign (+). To zoom out, press the Windows logo key+Minus sign (-).
  3. When the focus is on Magnifier, you can change its settings on the Magnifier toolbar. Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to move on the Magnifier toolbar. To select an option or options list, press Spacebar. To exit an option or options list, press Esc.
  4. To exit Magnifier and close the tool, press the Windows logo key+Esc.

Use high contrast colour – With the high contrast mode, the enhanced color contrast can help you see text and items on your screen better, making it also less straining on your eyes. For instructions, refer to Change settings in Teams.

Turn captions on and off – For persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, live captions allow to see what others are saying.

To start and stop using live captions in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options > Turn on live captions or Turn off live captions.

Change your background during a meeting – Reducing visual distractions can be especially helpful for persons with visual impairment or cognitive communication difficulties, for example. When the background is blurred or there is a steady image, it is easier to focus on the person speaking.

  1. To alter your background while in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More actions > Show background effects.
  2. Select Blur to blur your background, or choose from the available images to replace it. To upload an image of your own, select Add new and pick a .jpg, .png, or .bmp file from your computer.
  3. You can preview your chosen background to see how it looks before you apply it.

Record a meeting

A meeting recording can be helpful for people with cognitive difficulties, for example. You can go through the recording at your own pace as well as go back to double-check anything you might have missed. Before you start recording, make sure the other participants approve!

To start and stop recording in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select Start recording or Stop recording.

You can find the recording in the meeting chat history. To open the chat history, go to your meeting controls and select Show conversation. If you use Microsoft Outlook, a link to the meeting recording will also be sent to your email.

Comprehensive guidance how to record an MS Teams meeting, can be found here.

Moodle

Accessibility Checker

The Accessibility Checker button (marked with a circular accessibility symbol) brings up an automated accessibility checker which checks for some common errors in the text, such as:

  • Images with missing or empty alt text
  • Contrast of font colour and background colour meets WCAG AA guidelines
  • Long blocks of text are sufficiently broken up with headings
  • Tables missing captions and header rows

Screenreader Helper

The screen header helper button (marked with a braille pattern) brings up a tool for screen-reader users. It provides a summary of what text styles, images, and links are used in the text box.

Mac Accessibility Features

Every Apple product and service includes built-in accessibility features. Open the Settings app   and tap Accessibility to personalise your device. The Accessibility Shortcuts panel offers shortcuts to quickly turn on or turn off common accessibility features, such as Zoom, VoiceOver and Sticky Keys. Keep in mind the accessibility features would vary depending on the operating system (OS) and year of release.

You can learn tips, tricks and how-tos for accessibility features straight from Apple Support on YouTube. Watch here.

For all Mac Mobility features, including Voice Control, Assistive Touch, Siri, Touch Accommodations, and Hardware support, click here.
For all Mac Hearing features, including Conversation Boost, Headphone Accommodations, Sound Recognition, Sensory Alerts, and others, click here.
For all Mac Vision features, including, Voice Over, Spoken Content, Magnifier, Zoom, Audio Descriptions, and others, click here.
For all Mac Cognitive features, including Background Sounds, Spoken Content, Guides Access, Dictation, and others, click here.

If you have installed Microsoft 365 for Mac, you can use the Microsoft accessibility features as described above. Most Roehampton assessments require the use of Microsoft 365, especially when submitting to Turnitin because Turnitin does not produce similarity reports for documents created using Mac Pages, Numbers, and Keynote – they would have to be converted to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Although they do not have built in accessibility checker yet, you can still create accessible documents, spreadsheets or presentations with Pages, Numbers or Keynote by adding descriptions, using headings as well as built-in layout options for documents following the Apple guidance here. This is mainly by utilising the Format button in Pages, Numbers and Keynote on iPhone or iPad.

Inclusivity for Online and Blended Learning

How do we create an inclusive climate for online lectures via Teams and module content on Moodle?

Inclusive education environment

  • All learning and teaching happen regardless of ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, household income, the language one speaks.
  • All participants are treated fairly and get equal opportunities
  • Diversity and uniqueness are celebrated without discrimination

Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning has put together the following 5 principles (the full text can be found here):

Further information about Decolonising the Curriculum Project and Student Manifesto at University of Roehampton, can be found on the dedicated Moodle site (you would need Roehampton Staff/Student credentials in order to log in). 

Accessible Digital Design

The accessibility group at Home Office Digital, have created these dos and don’ts posters as a way of approaching accessibility from a design perspective. The posters focus on users with accessibility needs including autism, blindness, low vision, D/deaf or hard of hearing, mobility and dyslexia. You can find the complete guidance here.

Here is our quick guide:

Accessible emojis

This short AbilityNet article explores the benefits of using emojis in digital communications and 4 principles to ensure their accessibility:

  1. Don’t overuse your emojis as they can make your social media posts difficult to read for everyone, but in particular, for screen reader users who hear the short description (also known as alternative / alt text) for every emoji used.
  2. Use but don’t replace so your message is clear for all.
  3. Remember to test emoji visibility in both dark and light modes as the higher the level of contrast the more accessible the emoji will be.
  4. Steer clear of emoticons i.e. punctuation marks, letters, and numbers used to create something that generally resembles an emotion.

Web Accessibility

You can use W3C WAI resources to make your websites, applications, and other digital creations more accessible and usable to everyone. This Video Introduction to Web Accessibility and W3C Standards (4-minute video) highlights accessibility features supported by web technologies and the correlation with improved user experience design. The W3C resources can also be useful as an introduction to accessibility of websites and applications for computing students.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG Core Principles:

  1. Perceivable – the content can be seen and heard
  2. Operable – technologies can be used by typing or by voice
  3. Understandable – clear and simple language
  4. Robust – availability of different assistive technologies

UDL Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning, a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Learn more about the Universal Design for Learning framework from CAST. The UDL Guidelines can be used by educators, curriculum developers, researchers, parents, and anyone else who wants to implement the UDL framework in a learning environment. These guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.

  • Provide multiple means of representation
  • Provide multiple means of action and expression
  • Provide multiple means of engagement

Accessible Online Presentations

Online presentations delivered via Teams/Zoom/Blackboard Collaborate or other channels, helps us overcome a lot of physical barriers by removing the commute and continue to deliver learning and teaching when in-person seminars have been hindered (industrial actions and pandemic as recent examples). Online webinars also mean that members in the audience may have a wide variety of characteristics with respect to gender, ethnicity, race, marital status, age, communication skills, learning styles and abilities, interests, physical abilities, sensory abilities, socioeconomic status, and religious beliefs.

As presenters, we want to ensure that we avoid creating unintentional barriers for our audience. Since we are not likely to know specific characteristics of the participants (especially for larger online events), it makes sense to be proactive and design a presentation that will be accessible to anyone—or, at least almost everyone—without the need for accommodations. This is one of the many benefits of Universal Design for Learning – making the presentation more accessible improves its usability for all participants.

The following recommendations have been adopted from Tips for Delivering an Accessible Presentation by Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

  1. Make sure the settings of the webinar would allow attendees to log in using various devices and both app and browser version.
  2. Share relevant accessibility information with participants before the presentation.
  3. Use a headset and/or a web camera to ensure a clear audio and good video quality essential for online presentations.
  4. Provide multiple ways to learn and engage – via group discussions, chat Q&A, handouts, etc.
  5. Provide attendees materials (ideally, ahead of time) and in an accessible format.
  6. Spend a few minutes to explain how the video conferencing tool works (e.g. if you are using Teams, explain the chat options, raise hand option, built-in assistive tools (like live captions if available). Do not assume everyone is familiar with online conferencing.
  7. Make sure to clearly outline the structure of the session and stick to the advised timings.
  8. Allow time for a refreshment break if you have planned anything longer that 60 minutes to avoid cognitive overload
  9. Use large, sans serif, bold fonts and simply designed visuals on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds.
  10. Speak the essential content of visual materials, but avoid reading text word-for-word unless it is a quotation.
  11. Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes.
  12. Use color combinations that are high contrast and can be distinguished by those who are colorblind (blue/orange is a common colour-blind-friendly palette).
  13. Make examples relevant to learners with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.
  14. Spell acronyms and avoid or define terms, jargon, and idioms.
  15. Speak clearly; avoid speaking too fast, which is particularly helpful to individuals whose primary language is not the one in which you are speaking, sign language interpreters, and real time captioners.
  16. Summarize major points, give background and contextual information, display key terms and concepts visually, offer outlines and other scaffolding tools to help participants learn.
  17. Give attendees time to process information; pause between topics and after you ask for questions.
  18. Use videos that are captioned; if they are not audio described, speak key content such as the title at the beginning and credits at the end; consider sharing a summary of the content of a video before it is presented.
  19. Alert attendees to potentially activating (sometimes called “triggering”) content or resources before broaching sensitive topics.
  20. For larger events, do a test run with other panelists to iron out potential accessibility challenges.

Creating Accessible Documents

(Excerpt from ‘Creating Accessible Documents‘ Factsheet by AbilityNet)

To be truly accessible, it is not enough for a document just to look well-presented. For it to be read and understood by as wide an audience as possible – including, for example, people with visual impairments, dyslexia or learning difficulties – your document also has to work well with screen reading software.

It is good practice to write as though for electronic publishing – based on the following main principles:

  • use a proper ‘headings’ structure
  • write in short, simple sentences
  • write in plain language and avoid jargon and abbreviations
  • use a common, plain font and a text size of at least 12 point
  • use proper list formatting for numbered or bullet lists
  • provide a meaningful description of important images
  • check the accessibility of your document using Word’s built-in checker.

Accessible PDFs

If you need to convert a Word document to a PDF, follow the instructions above to format headings, tables and lists with Word styles. Also, convert any embedded Office objects to images and add alternative text to all your images.

Ensure that the following options are selected in the PDF creation settings:
•    Enable tagged PDF
•    Create headings using Word headings

Creating a tagged PDF is especially important for accessibility as it ensures that information about document structure such as headings, lists and alternative text will be available within the PDF document.

Accessible Digital Technologies & Services @ Roehampton

  • Blackboard Ally works seamlessly with Moodle to gauge the accessibility of the content on your module and programme sites. Here is a link to the Roehampton Guidance.
  • Caption.Ed allows students and staff to generate automated captions on all media hosted platforms which are supported by eLearning Services. Here is a link to the Roehampton Guidance.
  • Further information on Accessible and Inclusive Learning, including the University’s Disability Policy, UK legislation and creating accessible Word and PPT documents,  could be found here.
  • Roehampton staff members can find further pedagogical guidance on the LTEU Moodle Page
  • Roehampton students also have access to Disability and Dyslexia Services, please see here how to contact them.
  • For the Accessibility Services available at the UoR Library, please read here.