Learning Strategies has seen an increase in students referred from Queen's Disability Services. Many of these students require searchable pdf files on the web to enable them to access the material.
Over 3 months all the pdf files on this website were made accessible, text scripts for audio files were added, text only versions were added, and web page accessibility was increased through the WebPublish system.
Special thanks to the A.M.S. group Accessibility Queen's for providing the necessary funds for this three month project.
It is important that documents and web content be provided in a manner that is accessible to persons with disabilities. More than ever, persons with disabilities use adaptive technology to access and use information. Accessible documents are vital for any adaptive technology to work properly.
A screen reader is software that enables people with a print disability to use a computer. It provides auditory feedback of any information that would usually be seen on the monitor. While the majority of screen reader users are blind or visually impaired, screen readers are also used by individuals with specific learning disabilities such as Dyslexia.
At the top of each page, WebPublish has "invisible" links that are read out loud by screen readers. They allow the user to skip to the main page navigation or skip to the main content of the page and begin reading out loud from that point. This provides better structure of the page.
WebPublish follows the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium: www.w3.org) accessibility standards laid out in the Queen's Web Standards and Accessibility Development Guide http://queensu.ca/www/wsaguide/index.html
Using headers allow easier navigation for all users and creates document structure which will increase the document's readability by those who use screen readers. Screen readers identify each header on the page allowing a user to better understand each section of text. A screen reader can also jump from header to header allowing faster and easier navigation.
An alt tag is simply text that is added to an image that describes the image to those readers who are blind or low vision. An alt tag will be read out loud by a screen reader.
A screen reader will say "link" before every hyperlink on the page. Therefore it is important that links are clear from the context and avoid the "Click Here" or "More..." type.
Using the "title" element is important for links because it will display a text tip when the mouse hovers over the link. "Title" elements are also read out loud by screen readers and can give more description of the links destination or purpose.
To benefit persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, text scripts of the audio files are provided.
Use numbered or bulleted lists, use good colour contrast, don't use tables to design page layout, and use a good font type and size.
For more information please see The Queen's Equity Office's website.