The way we work has changed and with that change we have an opportunity to do things in a different way. In the world of learning and development, we are tasked with engaging our audience in the right format, at the right time, and for just long enough to make the concept stick. This is accessibility at its core.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility is the quality of being easy to use and consume. For those with disabilities this is crucial, but those same principles can be applied to all. Access to technology, stable internet, website usability, content in human and machine-readable formats and multiple modalities can make or break your content creating a barrier to engagement. When we are mindful and thoughtful and consider the message and the modality, we can create engaging and inclusive learning content for our entire audience.

Why is accessibility important?

While learning content is meant to engage a wide audience, most of the learning content produced today remains inaccessible to people with disabilities, excluding an estimated 12% to 26% of our learners. Unfortunately, it’s hard to identify just how many learners we are missing when accessibility is a factor and how many of those then become active resistors to your message.

Small changes to the format, modality, visuals, or duration of your content could mean the difference between accessible and inaccessible content. These adaptations can mean the difference between reaching one and reaching many.

How do you create accessible learning content?

Accessibility must be the default. There are simple ways to work accessibility into your content:
• Include descriptive names for images and visuals.
• Include closed captioning and transcripts for audio and video.
• Include text over images and visuals to provide context for what is being discussed.
• Use concise and clear language without jargon – this makes text screen reader friendly.
• Use call-outs or legends for colored items – don’t rely on color to differentiate different concepts without context.
• Make content easy to stop and start again by including bookmarks and play/pause controls.
• Be consistent in slide or page titles and headers to help your audience visually navigate the content.

Tools for creating accessible learning content

There are numerous ways to create accessible learning content and great tools to do so with learning design. Articulate 360 offers ways to design accessible learning content in most of their products and even dives deep for Storyline 360 and Rise 360 in Articulate 360’s FAQ’s on accessibility. Microsoft offers features for an inclusivity and accessibility on their accessibility page for vision, hearing, neurodiversity, learning, mobility, and mental health.

Resources like the official Section 508 website, the Tools for Accessibility Check from the University of Illinois, and websites like the Web Accessibility Initiative are great places to start.

The most important thing to remember is that accessibility should be the default, begin with accessibility in mind, thinking of it as a continuum all the way through the design process. Creating content with every learner in mind means you’ll likely reach a wider audience. Evolve knows learning solutions and can assist you in creating the engaging and inclusive content you need. Schedule a consult today to start to evolve.