your favorite articles, resources and tools

your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Jennison Asuncion -
Number of replies: 18

To make this seminar as useful to you as possible, I thought I would start a thread where in we can share URLs to resources, articles and actual tools that specifically promote and/or discuss accessibility and eLearning.

I’ll kick things off with a few of mine, recognizing that these are more geared to the online forms of eLearning and not necessarily classroom technologies.


1. An interesting and useful read is an article that appeared in campus Technology called ”A Public Consortium Emphasizes the Importance of LMS Accessibility” which is located at - in addition to providing a good overview of the topic of accessibility and eLearning, it provides a case study of how a higher education consortium in the US is tackling the accessibility of their LMS, working directly with their vendor. Their vendor happens to be a Canadian eLearning company called desire2Learn.

2. For those of you needing to address more the technological aspects of making web applications and sites accessible, I have always referred eLearning web developers I have consulted with and have often myself used the resources at WebAIM - They have tutorials, articles and a useful and active email discussion list.

3. Finally, in terms of tools, the folks at HiSoftware have a number of products that could be useful for folks including those who do not necessarily have expertise in web accessibility, but that have to make this happen for their web sites and applications. My own experience, for what ever its worth, was with their Hi-Caption tool, which allowed my Flash developers to easily add captioning to eLearning that included an audio track (we had talking heads), making it accessible for Deaf and hearing impaired learners who could make use of it.




In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Autism resource

by Alice MacGillivray -
I saw a couple of posts about autism in the introductions.  This is not my area of expertise, but another Fielding doctoral student (hello Timothy - I am in the Human & Org Sytems program there) does have a lot of expertise with autism.  Here is her website; I've not searched it for content related to our conversations here.

In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Plain language resources

by Alice MacGillivray -
I've not yet seen anyone mentioning plain language, which is a field grounded in accessibility.  Although it is often associated with general public access to technical information (health care, law, etc.), it is interesting to think about it in terms of academic jargon.

It seems to me that formal educational materials are sometimes obscure by design.  If one tries to use examples of practical use in some mathematics curricula, for example, it can be seen as "applied" and not as prestigious as "pure" math.
In reply to Jennison Asuncion

$200 or less list: Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Software

by Sylvia Currie -
During our November SCoPE seminar: The Use of Open Source and Free Software in Education we gathered an annotated list of recommended tools into a Wiki. One category on that list was free adaptive software. I copied that section into a new Wiki: $200 or less list: Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Software. We can continue to add to it during this seminar. I'll copy suggestions posted in this thread to the Wiki, or feel free to add them yourselves.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: $200 or less list: Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Software

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Whose Dollars? I'm guessing that though many of you are Canadian, it's US $ that you're talking about (though it would be great if they were Jamaican ones! ... 200 Jamacian $ = about 1.50 UK Pounds!)

It looks a useful list, though, thanks, and will sit well with the list from TechDis that I usually use.
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: $200 or less list: Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Software

by Sylvia Currie -
Emma, I'm giggling at your comment about Jamaican dollars. I often make the mistake of being in my own world when I talk about time zones, but I forgot about needing to do that with currency!

In fact, so far we have participation in this seminar from US, Canada, Switzerland, UK, Australia, Sri Lanka, Ireland, New Zealand, Argentina, and Turkey. Those are the only countries I know about, because we get so many people reading along without logging in to SCoPE.

So let's make it $200 Canadian, and I'll add a currency converter link to the Wiki!

Also, I noticed Simon also mentioned TechDis earlier and I've been meaning to follow up to learn more about it. For everyone wanting to do the same, here's the TechDis web site:
In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Emma Duke-Williams - is a useful site - it's got a mix of tutorials etc., (though the last time I used them, I don't think that they are as good as Webaim's). The site's strength, to me, is the forums.

In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Janice White -

Thank you to everyone so far in this seminar for the useful leads they include in their postings! Here's one from me. approve

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework (supporting elearning opportunities) is an extensive site offering many pathways to explore. Use the Search tool on the site to check out "accessibility" resources plus follow the e-Standards link currently on the welcome page.


In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Claude Almansi -
I've bookmarked the links that have come up so far in this seminar at Result at accessibility_of_elearning is an awfully long tag, but then, the "accessibility" and "elearning" tags have awfully long lists of bookmarks ;-)
In reply to Claude Almansi

accessibility of elearning --

by Sylvia Currie -
Great idea to gather these resources up in, Claude. approve I'll get busy adding the accessibility_of_elearning tag to reources I've bookmarked as as well.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: accessibility of elearning --

by Claude Almansi -
Self-serving too, Sylvia: I participate in a project aiming to further a culture of Web accessibility in Ticino (CH), and one of our primary targets is the education world. And I wanted to be able to easily access and share in future the resources all of you are indicating (not only in this thread).
In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Cath Stager-Kilcommons -

While a few people have already highlighted some of my favorites, here are more of my favorite resources.

Best regards,



Special Formats and Accessibility

Ajax and Screen Readers -

Graphs, Math and Science:

Accessible Content Magazine  – Graphic Testimony: It's possible to provide long descriptions for dynamically generated graphs.
Creating Accessible Math and Science Materials ( )

Rich Media:

National Center for Accessible Media Rich Media ( resources for developers and users interested in ways to make rich media accessible to people with disabilities.  Includes the Media Access Generator (MAGpie) .
Rich Media Demo [Movies we captioned with MAGpie for Accessing Higher Ground Conference in 2002 -]

HTML Tools:

Accessible Website Menus: Ultimate Drop Down Menu 4.5 by Brothercake

Web Developer Extension for Mozilla and Firefox

Web Accessibility Checker ( New tool from ATRC at University of Toronto uses WCAG 1, WCAG 2, 508 standards and others.

Why Accessibility:

Ten Reasons -

Evergreen Valley College of California: Simple Questions to Help Understand about Accessibility (

A Fresh Way to Introduce Web Accessibility to Web Developers: A Train-the-Trainer Session
Why accessibility is important to you… (article from WebNauts):

Standards Compliance

Web Accessibility for Section 508 - Tutorial (Twelve How-to sections divided into topics).

W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines and Techniques:

W3C tools:

CSS Validator
Semantic data extractor

Accessibility and eLearning:

ACCESSIT ( Introduction to Accessible Information Technology in Education GRADE Project provides excellent and thorough training modules to create accessible e-learning content.  Requires creating a free log-in (so they have numbers for their grant).
MERLOT - MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, searchable collection of peer reviewed, higher education, online learning materials created by registered members, and a set of faculty development support services. MERLOT's vision is to be a premiere online community where faculty, staff, and students from around the world share their learning materials and pedagogy.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) or Universal Design of Instruction (UDI)

Accommodating Students with Disabilities in Higher Education
(online version
from Utah State University.                                          
Curriculum Transformation and Disability (CTAD)
(Grant ended summer of '06) University of Minnesota
for booklet in PDF: Curriculum Transformation and Disability: Implementing Universal Design in
Higher Education

Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability at the University of Connecticut UDI Project Resources and the related links ( )

Writing and Readability:

How to write Global English- Some principles for clear writing

"Who's Reading your Writing"

Readability Test – Submit your URI

In reply to Cath Stager-Kilcommons

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Claude Almansi -
Wow Cath! Thank you so much! I'll add your resources under the above-mentioned tag
In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by WL Wong -
Apologies if I re-list a site that others have posted. There are so many useful resources mentioned... it's been hard to keep track and listing on delicious is a great start.

Would like to add Joe Clark, Web Standards Project, The Australian Web Adaptability Initiative (OzeWai), Accessify forum , Skills for Access and Accessible Digital Media

In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Christie Mason -
These are some links that I've collected, I haven't reviewed them in for around a year so I apologize if any are broken links or deprecated info. Christie Mason


In this first look at forms and accessibility we'll cover the very basics you should consider if you are to help as many users as possible to interact with you and your web site just as you would like them to.


For those developers out there who would like to try and build an accessible site, or would like to just have some neat and useful testing tools, we have collected a few which are provided here as a service.


The Web Accessibility Toolbar is provided by the Accessible Information Solutions (AIS) team at the National Information and Library Service (NILS), Australia. Please read the Terms of Use before downloading and installing the Web Accessibility Toolbar.

The Web Accessibility Toolbar has been developed to aid manual examination of web pages for a variety of aspects of accessibility. It consists of a range of functions that:

  • identify components of a web page
  • facilitate the use of third party online applications
  • simulate user experiences
  • provide links to references and additional resources.


Welcome to the Bobby Online Free Portal. This free service will allow you to test web pages and help expose and repair barriers to accessibility and encourage compliance with existing accessibility guidelines, such as Section - and the W C's WCAG. To learn about products to test websites of all sizes for accessibility issues, please visit the accessibility section on

Please note: This online dialog tests only one page at a time. The server limits the number of pages it checks in order to keep the online service available to all to one web page per minute.


Simulation in the Web Designer's Color Card and Chart


Guideline . of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines . requires that foreground and background colour combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having colour deficits, or when viewed on a black and white screen. Two colours provide good colour visibility if the brightness difference and the colour difference between the two colours are greater than a set range. They suggest a colour contrast algorithm, which is used in this test. The algorithm is under development, and may be likely to change. Any changes to their algorithm will be updated on this page.


When images are provided to illustrate complex ideas, the same information MUST also be provided in an accessible form.

In this case, the image (a .PNG file) would be generated on the fly from information stored in a database (or in this case a log file) which is constantly being modified. None-the-less, because the basic information that is being displayed is originating from ASCII text, by using the LONGDESC attribute we can provide the same information as text for users and user agents who cannot extract the information from the image.
Code Sample:
"img src="/images/ctry_usage_ - .png" style="width: - px; height: - px; border: none;" alt="Usage by Country for June in Pie Chart format" longdesc="/longdesc/ctry_usage.html""
"span style="font-size: - pt; color: White;"""a href="/longdesc/ctry_usage.html" title="Link to the usage information represented in the pie chart""d"/a""/span"


A chart or graph is essentially an image with detailed information. Some charts or graphs have more information and data in them than others. Text browsers and screen readers cannot convey images to their users, so an equivalent alternative to the essential information that is visually available from the chart or graph must be provided. The amount of alternative information to provide depends on the contextual use of the chart or graph, but generally it should include all the information available to the sighted user.


30 days to a more accessible web site

This book answers two questions. The first question is "Why should I make my web site more accessible?" If you do not have a web site, this book is not for you. The second question is "How can I make my web site more accessible?" If you are not convinced by the first answer, you will not be interested in the second.

(Note: Site is an excellent example of being what they're teaching)


Dramatically reduce errors related to site presentation and usability with this comprehensive Link Validation tool. Save dramatically on time, cost, and complexity associated with building, deploying, and maintaining Web sites that function properly. HiSoftware content quality solutions provide "out-of-the-box testing and reporting for Accessibility, Privacy, Searchability and Usability standards, empowering organizations to keep up with ever-changing Web technologies and standards. The value-added Link Validation tool provides structure and organization validation to your site, allowing both content and site structure to be of the highest quality.


How-tos and Demos

  • Alt Text for a Functional Graphic
  • Alt Text for a Logo
  • Alt Text for Decorative Images and Spacers
  • AltText for a Link that contains both Graphics and Tex
  • tIncluding a Graph and Its Description on the Same Page
  • A Graph with a Description in a Separate, Linked File
  • Associating a Graph and its Description with the longdesc Attribute

Data Tables

  • Identifying Column and Row Headers
  • Associating Data Cells and Header Cells in a Complex Table
  • A Data Table with a Summary Attribute
  • A Data Table with a Caption element and a Summary Attribute


  • Labeling Input Fields
  • Grouping Related Items on a Form
  • Radio Buttons with fieldset, legend, and label
  • Buttons Using input elements of type = button and button elements
  • Graphical buttons
  • Labeling Pulldown Menus


  • Video with Closed Captions and Audio DescriptionFlash


On more that a few occasions people have complained that Internet Explorer doesn't have a convenient way to view longdesc attributes. Now it is true that they do expose it programmatically so there is noting to stop AT from making use of longdesc. But there are two reasons why someone using IE - on its own might want to have access to longdesc attributes.They might simply want to see a description of the image (particularly if they couldn't make out what the image is of).They are developers who wish to test their longdesc links.


The Communication Technologies Branch of the United States National Cancer Institute (part of National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services) has been conducting usability testing with people with disabilities, specifically blind and lowvision users, to

  • understand the relationship between accessibility and usability
  • understand how blind and low-vision users work with Web sites
  • develop research-based guidelines for accessibility and usability
  • assess the usability of specific Web sites for blind and low-vision users


  • Images & animations: Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual.
  • Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for hotspots.
  • Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
  • Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here."
  • Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
  • Graphs & charts. Summarize or use the longdesc attribute.
  • Scripts, applets, & plug-ins. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
  • Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.Tables. Make line-by-line reading sensible.
  • Summarize.Check your work.
  • Validate. Use tools, checklist, and guidelines at


Colour is increasingly used these days to help convey information. When one in twelve men have some measurable degree of colour vision deficiency, the use of certain colours in certain ways can cause difficulty when navigating web pages or software, and even total illegibility in some cases.


Section - requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA), in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, has been charged with the task of educating Federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section - implementation. Using this web site, Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section - .


Use the table below to give you some basic help with the Section Requirements for Web Pages, you can also print it out and use it as a checklist.


Cynthia is a web content accessibility validation solution, it is designed to identify errors in design related to Section - standards and the WCAG guidelines. The main purpose of this portal is to educate web site developers in the development Web Based content that is accessible to all. This online test only validates one page at a time. Note this demo will test about one page per minute / per site.

Accessibility Report Mode
Do not fail pages for WCAG Priority - and - errors, simply warn me.
Include the Alternative Text Quality Report
Include File source on Accessibility Failures
Emulate this Browser:

Do you want to have the functionality of Cynthia Says on your Desktop?

You can obtain the Same features of the Cynthia Says portal and more for your desktop. This special edition of AccVerify is being made available to help educate web content developers on the development of accessible web sites.

UIACCESS.COM is a resource for universal interface design and usable accessibility information. The primary purpose of this web site is to provide free information on web accessibility. See the extensive list of resources, some exclusive to UI Access.


Vischeck simulates colorblind vision. Daltonize corrects images for colorblind viewers.


An initial introduction to resources for people new to Web accessibility

WASP LEARN - Accessibility

You really can have the best of both worlds — a site that’s accessible and visually appealing, too. Find out how and everyone will love you.


Watchfire® WebQA, the next generation of Linkbot, is a website quality testing tool for small or departmental websites. WebQA assists with quality assurance and accessibility testing by reporting on web content issues to help developers and quality assurance staff pinpoint and fix quality, interaction and accessibility defects. WebQA supports accessibility testing by integrating the features of Watchfire® Bobby. Using these features, you can test your level of compliance with Section - or the W C's WCAG accessibility standards. In addition to testing content, WebQA can also help you edit your site's metadata to improve search ranking and internal site searchability. Read the WebQA Factsheet (PDF, - KB).

WebQA scans web pages for problems, and generates reports, including:broken linksspelling errorsslow loading pagesaccessibility issues

WebQA scans through the following technologies:JavascriptFlashDynamic contentSecure pages (https)Media filesSession IDs


WebXACT is a free online service that lets you test single pages of web content for quality, accessibility, and privacy issues.

In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: Table Accessibility

by Christie Mason -
Tables Accessibility
HTML tables are often chided for being inaccessible layout methods — they're difficult to interpret by non-visual browsers and more often than not are used against their purpose for presentational effects. Along with the HTML 4.01 standard came some new tags and attributes dedicated to creating accessible tables. It takes a bit of work to make a sophisticated table accessible, but is ultimately worth the effort.
WAI HTML Table Linearizer
Online, single page renderer to check table linearization
Creating Accessible Tables
Christie Mason
In reply to Jennison Asuncion

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Pam Berman -

Screen reader software: for people who want to get a feel for how a screen reader works, Charles L. Chen has created Fire Vox (a free screen reader extension for Firefox)

In reply to Pam Berman

Re: your favorite articles, resources and tools

by Russell Solowoniuk -

In August I took part in an online workshop on web accessibility through the University of British Columbia.  UBC developed a "Web Accessibility Process Manual" which is quite a good resource. It can be found at:

The manual is called "Accessibility in Online Learning",


The PowerPoint slides from the workshops are also available on this site.