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 New on this visit, the large menus that used to hang on the wall behind the cashier counter have been replaced by 4 very large TVs displaying the menu digitally.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…

Day 15: Fonts

It is super easy to get carried away with fonts. Visit and there are over 800 fonts to explore. Choose a font and it will display even more fonts as popular pairings! With so many choices and great designs, it is easy to go overboard. This is never really a good idea as my recent sketch clearly indicates. Multiple fonts in a document, slide, or website can make the text difficult to perceive and for users to focus on whatever you or your students are trying to communicate.

Fonts can be organized into families or categories. There are handwriting fonts that look like cursive or more decorative fonts that can make your letters appear like they were written out of logs or even straight from a blockbuster movie opening credits. However, serif and sans-serif fonts going to be much more readable for a broader audience than handwriting or decorative display fonts. A serif font is characterized by little lines at the finishing edges of letters. Times New Roman is an popular …

Week 2 Reflection: There is No Pixie Dust

Spring Break coincided with Week 2 of this challenge and even though I worked a few days in the office, I had more time to devote to finishing up a previously unpublished posts. I also spent time working through a Web Accessibilility Course that is offered by Google and hosted on Udacity. I've only completed a third of the course so far and I've been learning lots more about coding for accessibility and new vocabulary--modals, focus behavior, and skip links and more! This is a big upgrade from my self-taught html skills when I worked for a non-profit academic society building websites and databases in Seattle back in the late 90s. Thankfully, the Way Back Machine doesn't have an archive of my work.

While updating my web skills this week, I came across an article on CNET about Vin Cert, titled "Internet inventor: Make tech accessibility better already." In this article, Cerf, who is hard of hearing himself makes the claim that accessibility "can't be a p…

Turbonote: View YouTube Video & Transcript Side-by-Side

When a video is closed captioned on YouTube, there is a transcript available below the video. These are displayed by selecting More underneath the video title and then choosing transcript on the drop-down menu. The challenge is seeing both the video and the transcript at the same time. You end up scrolling down to the transcript and back up to the video and repeating this cycle to get what you need.
The Chrome Extension Turbonote solves this issue. With any YouTube video that is closed captioned, this extension allows you to view the transcript next to the video. I use this frequently for longer videos because it allows me to quickly scroll through the transcript and find the part I'm looking for, click on that text in the transcript and the video will jump exactly to that location. The extension allows you to navigate a video just like you would in YouTube.

Turbonote can do more such as note-taking, bookmarking and other features which I have never used. I have used it strictly …