More than 4 million Australians live with a disability but so many of us continue to ignore their needs in our designs. Why?
If you work for a government agency you would already be familiar with the WC3 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that became compulsory for all federal, state and territory websites from the end of 2012 (WCAG 2.0 Level A) and increased to WCAG Level AA (minimum) from 2015. Extra standards have since been introduced and a combination of all the guidelines are available under WCAG 2.1.
But what do WCAG guidelines mean for learning professionals who don’t manage websites?
Do the guidelines even matter for learning designers who don’t work for the government?
The simple answer is YES!
Under Australian legislation it is unlawful to put in place any type of learning that appears to treat everyone the same but disadvantages someone because of their disability. It doesn’t matter whether you intend to disadvantage someone or not. When you are designing learning materials always take into account the needs of all of your users including the 1 in every 5 of us with a disability. That doesn’t mean only focusing on mobility and wheelchairs because those disabilities are obvious and visible. It means providing suitable access for everyone including people who use assistive technology to access digital resources, people with learning or intellectual disabilities who need clear plain English instructions, and those with low vision who need to read handouts or brochures to name a few. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provided by WC3 are a great place to start.
If improved user experience is our focus we need to design learning with accessibility in mind from the beginning.
If you need assistance to remediate any existing learning to make it more user centred and disability friendly contact LB Learning Solutions. We can also help arrange hands-on practical workshops for your team to meet accessibility standards using Word, PowerPoint, PDF or Articulate eLearning software.