The final part of an 8-part series from Clive Shepherd, looking at Universal Design principles…
I know, by this stage you just want to get your materials up on the server and out there meeting a need. However, some checks really do need doing.
Check that your materials really are fit for purpose, for example:
- They are accurate and up-to-date.
- They are free of spelling and grammatical errors.
- They are free of racist, sexist and other discriminatory content.
- They are free of software bugs and broken links.
- They work without error on the hardware and software for which they have been designed.
Check that your materials conform to the rules of good usability, for example:
- It is always clear what the learner is expected to do next.
- Only the necessary controls are provided and these are easy to use.
- Overviews and summaries are provided for each content block.
- Longer pieces of textual content are separated into sections accompanied by clear and meaningful headings.
- The material is sequenced logically.
- The number of menu levels is kept to an absolute minimum.
- Text is easily readable / visuals clearly visible / sound clearly audible!
Lastly, check that your materials are accessible by those who suffer from common disabilities, for example:
- Web pages are formatted such that the visually impaired can access them using screen readers.
- Colours are used in such a way that they do not disadvantage the colour-blind.
- Text is re-sizeable.
- Audio and video files are accompanied by transcripts.
- Interactions can be accomplished using the keyboard as well as a mouse.
Make sure you’re not the only one who checks your materials, because you may well be blind to many of the problems which others will pick up. And don’t be afraid of feedback, because that’s the way you keep your materials fresh, relevant and useful.
About the Author:
Clive Shepherd is a consultant with an interest in all aspects of technology-assisted learning and communication. He is a regular speaker and contributor to conferences and publications throughout the E-Learning world.