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H810 - Navigation Tips for students with visual impairments

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 4 Jan 2013, 16:50


Fig.1. Google Docs help center - navigation

I was looking for a way to an an Umlaut to the name 'Engestrom' in Google Docs help but instead stumble upon something far more valuable in relation to access to e-learning for students with disabilities - navigation short cuts. These apply to how a person with sight impairment might move through a text and so, like basic web usability, informs on best practice when it comes to writing, proof reading and lay-out, i.e. editing with a reader with a visual impairment in mind.

Somehow the clear way the guide is laid out caused the penny to drop in a way that hasn't occurred in the last three months however many times I have observed, listened to, read about or tried to step into the shows of a student with a visual impairment.

Web usability recommends a way of laying out text that is logical, clear and suited to the screens we use to access content from the web. This logic of headings and multiple sub-headings, let alone plain English in relation to short sentences as well as use of paragraphs makes reading not only easier for those with no disability, but assists those with varies degrees of visual impairment as content is then better able to respond to standard tools of text enlargement and enhancement, but also of screen readers that work best when reading through text.

What assistive technology does, a control that doesn't require a mouse and keeps a manageable set of keys under the fingers rather than needing to run back and forth across the keyboard, is to reduce the above commands to actions that a visually impaired or blind person can then use to control their web viewing experience.

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Design Museum

H810 - Evaluating accessibility : e-learning scrutinised

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 12:34


Fig. 1. Evaluating accessibility - H810

All of this can be multi-layered, more like petals of a rose that a poster-sized mind-map.

It is of course an iterative process too - things get shifted about all the time. Exported as a TEXT document it becomes the first draft of an assignment. At a glance I can see there are 6 or 7 main themes here, though a substantial part of my thinking will be around the ideas of usabilty and accessibility and whether universal design is more appropriate than highly focused user centred design.

I thought I could offer a PDF version here - apparently not. Clicking on it will allow a download that can then been zoomed and should remain legible.

Not an assignment, but can something like this work in a piece of work for evaluation?

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Design Museum

Web usability or pimping up my OU experience

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 13:23

Out of habit now I cut and paste all the course notes from H807 and H808 into word and reconfigure using techniques I have followed for a decade as a web editor based on the principles of Jakob Nielsen.

I got his book in 2000 and was using it when I started the MA in Open and Distance Learning with the OU in 2001.

Is the OU nervous about being so radical?

Is it note reasonable for us to expect them to keep uptodate? With a unit such as 'Inovations in E-learning' could an attempt at being innovative at least be made?

Some one is going to come along and create and manage platforms that are more suited to the next generation. I watch my son playing World of Warcraft, watching a downloaded movie AND texting friends and more than capable of keeping such a frenetic amount of activity going.

No wonder traditional classroom education bores him to tears. I'd home educated if I thought it wouldn't seriously compromise my ability to earn a living ... but then we wouldn't have school fees to pay?

The recent upgrading with colours and graded shading and a few clear icons and hugely welcome but compared to corporate sites the OU is at least four years behind.

This isn't 'sexy' presentation, but the lessons you pick up from Jacob Nielsen make text like this more suited to online reading. As I now NEVER print of, only diddle about with text and images in some kind of digital form I simply don't require text to be expressed as if it needs to be printed off or has been scanned in out of a book

Come on OU this is 2010, not 2002.

Perhaps when I've done my Web Editor bit on all the course content I could post it back in here?

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