Moving the Needle. Create Accessibility One Year Later

One year ago, I published "Be the Change" that began Create Accessibility. That blog post was motivated by my experience leaving Boulder, Colorado and the Google Innovation Academy. One year later a lot has happened that even I didn't realize until I did the numbers below.
Create Accessibility One Year Later By the Numbers44 Blog Posts Published19 Day #CreateA11y Challenge15 Video Tutorials8 Conference Presentations1 Google Site1 GitBook1 Caption Creator for Google Drive (Collaboration with Jordan Rhea, @rheajt)Countless Memories, Friendships, and Learning!

It would be great if any one of these solutions actually solved the pressing problem in education that I continue to address with this project. Unfortunately, there remains lots of online materials and platforms that are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Personally, I encounter inaccessible content on a daily basis, attend EDU conferences where videos lack captions, and encounter vendors selling products for s…

ISTE17 Presentation Materials

It was an honor to present Create Accessibility at #ISTE17.  I had two formal opportunities on the schedule to talk about my #GoogleEI project. There is another blog post percolating describing my overall ISTE experience. Until then, I wanted to share my Create Accessibility presentation materials.

Google Certified Innovators Tell All (Panel) I was one of 10 Innovator panelist who shared different aspects of their Innovator experience and participated in the backchannel with those participants joining us virtually. The event was live streamed and is now available on YouTube. Unfortunately for accessibility, the video is auto-captioned and there are errors throughout, including my contribution.  Below, I have provided a transcript of my contribution.

Transcript (27:25 - 29:01) Wendy Gorton: Now we have Melissa Oliver who is our Coordinator of Instructional Technology. Also Colorado. and Colorado is about to wrap up their year. So their cohort was the ISTE cohort. So they somehow pulled …

Dear Conference Presenter,

I recently spent the day finalizing session proposals to submit for consideration at some upcoming conferences. Several proposals focus on accessibility. This got me to thinking while I wait to learn of their status. Wouldn't it be great if the acceptance letter included something about ensuring the accessibility of your materials?

I took the liberty to draft such a letter as a starting point and included it below.

Dear [Insert Conference Name] Presenter,

Congratulations! Your session proposal has been accepted at [insert conference name]! [Insert Conference Name] values diversity and the learning experience of all our participants. As you begin to prepare your session materials, please keep accessible design principles in mind to ensure all attendees can access, enjoy, and benefit from your expertise.
Caption All Videos. Provide Alt Text on your ImagesUse Accessibility Guidelines on your Website  If you should need assistance in creating accessible materials, [insert conference na…

Day 19: Add Alt Text to Google Sites

Alternative Text is an accessible design feature that provides alternative text for images. Alt text is an important design feature for people with low vision or blindness accessing content online using a screen reader. If you have images on your Google Site that are communicating information, then alt text is needed. If images are purely decorative and do not serve a communicative purpose, alt text does not need to be included.

How to Create Accessibility by Adding Alt Text Click on your image in Google Slides. You know your image is selected when you see the blue box around it. Click on the 3 dots. Choose Alt TextType in your desired text > Apply

Current Challenge with Adding Alt Text It appears that one is no longer able to edit alt text on Google Sites. Alt text, once added, is not editable. In fact, I find that even as I'm typing the alt text, if I make a mistake and use the delete button in an attempt to backspace, it deletes the image entirely rather than allow editing. T…

Day 18: Creating Accessible Hyperlinks

One of the great benefits of creating digital content is the ability to use hyperlinks and make things interactive. How you describe your link text makes a different for accessibility. Using language like click here or learn more for your link text does not provide the necessary context and guidance for screen reader users to effectively interact with your content.

Screen readers will announce a link and then read the text that is linked. Here's a scenario for a sentence linking to more information about captioning.
Closed Captioning on YouTube is easy. Learn more hereYouTube Closed Captioning Tutorials will make creating accessible videos easy. The latter example provides context for your users. Your user would that the link was taking them to tutorials about captioning on YouTube.  The first example with the link text, learn more here, doesn't provide much guidance or context for where "here" is taking the user and what exactly they will learn there. For greater a…

Day 17: Color Contrast: Tale of Two Signs

I recently went to local, casual Mexican restaurant for lunch that I haven't been to in a while. It's a popular place where you can almost always expect to wait in a line to order before seating yourself. New on this visit, the large menus that used to hang on the wall behind the cashier counter have been replaced by 4 very large TVs displaying the menu digitally.  As I waited in line, I kept having to look at the ground because I found the menu so disorienting and provides a great example of how color and contrast affects the perception of digital content.
How Design Choices Affect Accessibility
Font Choices: Notice that Burritos and other Headers are in a crisp, sans-serif font. Each menu item is in a completely different font with much thicker letters and less space between them which makes that font more difficult to read.Font Colors: The patterned font colors between the mustard color and the white causes the eye to struggle to focus. The choice to lists the menu item in …

Day 16: Headings and Other Fomatting Features

When reading a newspaper, magazine, or even a textbook, I rarely read these types of text from the beginning to the end, word for word. Rather, I really on text features like titles to capture my interest and let me skip to that particular article. I use Table of Contents to provide navigation to exactly what I am interested in. Within a larger article or textbook chapter, I may scan the headings and subheadings to find the text to read more closely depending on my purpose for reading.  I may not read the paragraphs preceding a list detailing the top 5 habits to boost productivity but rather the list of numbers visually draws my focus and attention. As a classroom teacher, I taught my students to be strategic readers as well. Today, much of this type of text is available online but the reading behavior remains the same. I still look for the titles, headings, subheadings, lists, and more to be able to quickly find what I am looking for.

Now imagine, if you are blind or have low vision…