A checklist to test your e-learning modules with a screen reader

07 Jan 2021 Lee Luong 0 Photography

Quality controls are a key step for any e-learning project. Most seasoned e-learning professionals know that you should always test e-learning modules in the same environment as your learners. Not only does this help you spot technical issues before you deploy your course, but it ensures that your learners will have the best experience. It is therefore logical that for accessible e-learning modules, you should test your modules with a screen reader.

But if you are new to creating accessible content, how do you know where to watch out? What is the expected behavior… and what is not? We've put together this list of questions and answers to help you solve this problem! By asking yourself these questions as you test the quality of your projects, you go beyond simply ensuring that your module works from a technical standpoint; it will give you new ways to optimize the learning experience for everyone, especially for learners using a screen reader.

Navigation

  • Can you navigate through the module without a problem? Some interactions, like drag and drop, are not keyboard accessible. If you choose to include them in your course, people who use their keyboard to navigate, with or without a screen reader, may get stuck and be unable to move forward. If you are creating an accessible module, consider creating alternate interactions, such as a combo box matching exercise, for example.
  • Is there any content that you cannot access? For example, if you've included important information in a button's hover state, learners using a keyboard to navigate (with or without a screen reader) won't be able to access it. Consider putting this content right on the slide so that all of your learners can enjoy it.
  • Does reading each object on the slide take a long time? Remember to hide any objects that don't add value to the screen reader. If you're using Storyline 360, you can do this by opening your project, right-clicking the object, selecting Accessibility, and clearing the Object is visible for accessibility tools check box, or by removing this object from the reading order (article in English).
  • Do learners immediately know what to interact with? If not, consider adding additional on-screen text or alt text to explain to learners what to do.

Audio and video

  • Is there audio or videos in the pod that is preventing hearing or understanding screen reader audio? If so, consider playing the audio or video on click rather than automatically.

Text on screen

  • Is there any text displayed on the screen that looks weird when read aloud? For example, some write "and / or", but a screen reader will say this as "and forward slash or", which is a bit odd. If you come across things like these, consider changing your text so that it appears more conversational when read aloud.

Images

  • Are all the images in the module of educational interest? If you've included purely decorative images, the answer might be no. Consider hiding these images from screen readers so that they can pass them without describing them. If you're using Storyline 360, follow the process described above to get there. 
  • Is the alt text in your images relevant? Otherwise, consider removing or changing the alt text. For tips on how to write effective alt text, check out this alt text basics article here .
  • Does alt text make sense when read before or after onscreen text? Learners will hear (or read through their braille panel ) the alt text directly before or after the other text information on the slide. Hear it all in context and see how it plays out. If the alt text feels strange to you, consider changing it to make it look more natural.

For further

Hopefully, this list will get you thinking about other ways to optimize the learning experience for your screen reader users. If you think of something we forgot here, let us know below!

There are still a lot of things to know to master accessible learning. Continue your self-study by consulting these following resources:

BY: Lee Luong

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