Hello everyone! My name is Ladek and my guest for this episode is Diane Elkins. Diane has been in the training and development field for 20 years as a trainer, instructional designer, and eLearning project manager. As Co-Owner of Artisan E-Learning, she helps companies get up and running with eLearning initiatives, and specializes in the use of rapid development tools.
She has gained national recognition as a trainer and eLearning expert, serving as a judge for the Brandon Hall awards. She’s received awards from the eLearning Guild and Articulate. She is the co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series and is a regular contributor to the ATD Learning Technologies Blog.
In this ‘accessible’ conversation, Diane and I discuss
00:00 › Start
4:40 › All Access—Why accessibility is a particularly important and special topic for Diane. If your learning isn’t accessible… is it really complete?
11:30 › Key To The Door—How to position the conversation to develop accessible courses in your company so that you’ll always get a “yes”
14:50 › Design The Gates—Diane then walks us through a series of things that any designer can do today to make their courses more accessible. I don’t want to spoil any of the fun we have in the conversation… about menus, buttons, assessments, and so much more
42:34 › Socially Accessible—Along the way we touch on all kinds of other topics such as the technologies Diane recommends, the process controls that can help… and even how to make sure you get accessibility learning into your social media feed!
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This is the eLearn podcast. If you’re passionate about the future of learning, you’re in the right place. The expert guests on this show provide insights into the latest strategies, practices,
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a company leveraging open -source software to deliver effective, customized, and engaging learning experiences for schools, universities, companies, and governments around the world since 2005.
Learn more at Open LMS .net Hello, my name’s Ladek, and my guest for this episode is Diane Elkins. Diane has been in the training and development field for 20 years as a trainer,
instructional designer, and eLearning project manager. As the co -owner of Artisan eLearning, she helps companies get up and running with eLearning initiatives and specializes in the use of rapid development tools.
Diane has gained national recognition as a trainer and eLearning expert. She has served as a judge for the Branded Hall Awards and has received awards from the eLearning Guild and Articulate. She is also the co -author of the popular eLearning Uncovered book series,
and she’s a regular contributor to the ATD Learning Technologies blog. In this very accessible conversation, Diane and I discuss why accessibility is a particularly important and special topic for her,
and why if your learning isn’t accessible, it’s just not done. We then talk about how to position the conversation in your organization or your school to develop accessible courses so that you’ll always get a yes from leadership,
from management, etc. Diane then walks us through them, the meat of our conversation. She walks us through a series of things that any designer can do today to make their courses more accessible.
Now, I’m not going to spoil any of the fun here that we have in the conversation, and it’s super fun. But we talk about things like menus and buttons and assessments and so much more. So you’re going to have to go in and listen to the episode to hear them all.
But believe me, it’s worth it. Along the way in this conversation, we touch on all kinds of other topics such as the technology that Diane recommends, the process controls that can help, and even how to make sure you get accessibility learning into your social media feed right now.
So you got to check this one out. And remember, we record this podcast live. You’ll hear it in this episode. Several people chime in. We answer a bunch of their questions. So we do this live so that you can interact with us in real time.
So if you’d like to join the fun every week on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on YouTube, just come over to elearnmagazine .com and subscribe. Now, I give you Diane Elkins. Hello,
everyone. Welcome to the Elearn podcast. As you heard multiple times, my name’s Ladik. I am from a company called Open LMS. And this podcast is not about me. This podcast is about my wonderful guest here today,
Diane Elkins. How are you today? I’m doing well. Thanks. Excellent. Diane, where in that lovely room that you have there, where do we find you sitting in the world today? I’m in Fairfax,
Virginia. Fairfax, Virginia. Nice. We had another guest just one week ago in Richmond. I feel like Virginia is our new spot. Okay. Well, I like it here. I’m 14 years into my five -year plan living in this area.
So I like it a lot. That is awesome. I love that. Where I’m where are you from originally then? West Palm Beach, Florida is where I grew up. Okay. Well, there’s a hurricane there now. So I guess that’s it.
Yes. Nice. Well, as I like to, for everyone who has guest on this show, I would love for you to introduce yourself to us. Give us the 60 /90 seconds on who you are and what you do.
Well, I am co -founder of Artisan eLearning and we are a custom learning design firm heavily in eLearning, but not exclusively. And in just a couple of months, we’re going to celebrate our 20th anniversary of Artisan.
So that’s super exciting. That is hot. Yeah. So we’re, um, we got about 22 employees. We’re 100 % virtual from even before it was cool. We’ve always been virtual.
And, um, I love doing it. I love learning about industries and professions and tasks that I didn’t even know exist. And that’s one of the things I love about this job is you just get windows into the world.
Tell me, you know, oh no, our last guest, her name is Lisa Avery. She’s president at Lindenburg College, and she literally threw a profession on the table that, I mean, I’ve considered myself a pretty worldly person,
but I had never, I didn’t even know this was a thing. And now, now I can’t remember the word. It was a person who specializes in knowing how modern assembly line technology functions.
And then, you know, building learning around that, like, there you go, you know, every, so I’m sure you and your team get to have a new gig, like, you know, every whatever, six weeks, you know, at every quarter or so you get a total.
Yeah. Actually, they overlap. So on Tuesday, it could be, um, you know, microfinance in Sub -Saharan Africa. And then that afternoon, it’s strategic pricing of peanut butter.
And then the next day, it’s how to evaluate the effectiveness of international relief efforts. Like it’s, it’s anything. That’s awesome. And, you know, that’s, that’s one of the things that I enjoy.
But you know, the bigger, higher purpose, of course, that I love is we help people do their jobs better, you know, on some random Tuesday in November, some guy named Joe is sitting at his desk or at his workstation or he’s in front of a customer or a patient and doesn’t know what to do.
And we can help him know what to do. That is awesome. That’s awesome. Everybody wins when people know what to do on the job. Everybody wins. There’s never a downside. I want to let you know as well,
we do have a comment from Alicia. I believe it’s led better. And she says happy pre -anniversary. So that’s fantastic. I’m not sure if that’s someone you know or not, but there you go. go. Thank you. Excellent. When I approached you about coming on the show,
you said that accessibility was a topic that was near and dear to your heart. Gimmie, we’ve talked about accessibility. I don’t want to say a lot, but it’s an important topic that has appeared multiple times on the show.
We’ve done our summits around it. It’s a big topic in the AI space right now, but how does that affect accessibility? Tell me why, where does it fit in your universe and why is it coming more and more to the forefront?
Is it something that’s special to you for a particular reason? Yeah. So remember Joe that I mentioned on some Tuesday in November who needs help doing his job, we should be able to help him even if he can’t hear,
even if he can’t use a mouse, even if he can’t see. We want to help everybody get better at their jobs and everybody means everybody. And the default design assumption for most people and for many years,
myself included, was we designed for people like us. And we don’t realize that the default design behaviors introduce barriers to people.
And we have the power to remove those barriers, so why wouldn’t we? But I mentioned 20 years of artisan. I was in my career a little bit longer than that,
but I was in the e -learning career for 10 years, probably before I had even heard the word accessibility, which speaks to my privilege. I didn’t need it.
And so that part of the world just was invisible to me. And a client came to us and said, “We need these courses to be accessible.” And I go, “To be what?” And then I learned about this whole other world.
And for many years at artisan, then we offered it as an option. And then about two years ago, maybe three, our president, Amy Morrissey,
said, “Why are we making it a choice? It should be the default.” Yeah, why is it an option in the menu? Right, exactly.
I like the way Sarah Mercier says that she’s another speaker in the training world. If it’s not accessible, it’s not done. Yeah,
we’ve had the pleasure of having Sarah on the show. Yeah, she calls it out perfectly like that. Absolutely. So it is now our default and a client has to talk us out of it. That’s interesting.
I wonder and so like before we go into our goal here was that you wanted to provide some practical, simple tips and tools and methods that people could bring this into their practice immediately.
And we’re going to get there, but tell me why this is. And before I do that, I got to tell you, it just warms my heart that Mary Olsen just chimed in here and she just reminded me it’s mechatronics is the thing that was on the Tuesday the show.
Not only is that fantastic, but Mary, thank you so much for listening to the last one and coming back. That’s wonderful. As Gavin Henrich,
he’s been on the show a couple of times, would talk about over at Brickfield Labs, why this shouldn’t even be like we can’t pull it out. It just has to be done because that is the proper way to do things. So how do we continue to have that conversation or what still needs to be finessed or changed or evolved in the learning,
design, development, instructional, etc., etc., in the nomenclature so that it’s default. What needs to still be done? I want it to become like mobile used to be.
Remember how there used to be conversations, oh, should this be mobile? Oh, is your tool mobile? No, mine’s not. Oh, mine is. Should we do mobile? It workshops on mobile. Now it’s just assumed. Nobody’s putting out a tool that doesn’t work on a phone.
Nobody’s going, “Hmm, should we be mobile?” I’d love that to be the same way with accessibility. It is just assumed that it’s just automatic in the tools, that it’s automatic in people’s minds, but it’s not.
It’s better. It is way better. You asked a minute ago, “Why is the conversation changing? Why now?” I think it’s part of the DEI awakening that corporate America had a couple of years ago.
You can’t have DEI without talking about ability. It is great to have conversations about race and gender and gender identity and body shape and ethnicity and religion,
but ability has to be on that list or you are not diverse, you are not equitable, and you are not inclusive. Hi there. I’m sorry to break into the show right now, but if you’re enjoying this show,
if you are challenged, if you’re inspired, if you’re learning something, if you think that you’re going to be able to get something out of this to put into your practice, do me a quick favor. Pause right now and just hit subscribe on your podcast player right now.
It doesn’t matter which one. Just hit subscribe because that way it’ll make sure that you never miss an episode in the future. Thanks. Now, back to the show. I want to also emphasize here something that I’ve learned and honestly that really profoundly affected me.
I give credit to this again to Gavin Hendrick for this because he put it so eloquently. He’s just like, “You and I, you started out your explanation of this which is like, ‘Look, I didn’t realize because I’m a person of ability.’ But if you broke your arm yesterday,
suddenly you’re not. Or if you and I are trying to learn on a loud bus or maybe I’m taking a class in an open office where I can’t have the video playing or something like that,
I love how that changes the conversation entirely because then it’s not about, ‘Hey, let’s think about a small section of the universe. It’s everyone at any point in life.
Maybe you need to do this on a mobile device because, gosh, you only have those 15 minutes between meetings. All ability is temporary. I’m going to use that as a sound by that super profound.
There you go. It’s not mine. I got it from an accessibility expert at Procter & Gamble, but I love it. I have adopted it as my own. In terms of how do we make it the default,
sometimes it’s about framing it in ways that are easier for people to process. One of the common misconceptions about accessibility is, “Nobody in this industry could be blind or could be deaf or whatever.” Unless you’re a trained vocational rehabilitation specialist,
you don’t know that. It’s not my job to decide what somebody can and can’t accomplish in their life. That’s not my job. Sometimes, if you’re trying to get people to wrap their head around it,
if I’m looking to make something accessible and, let’s say, have keyboard navigation instead of mouse only, which means gasp, giving up drag -and -drop questions,
I could say somebody with a limb difference or I could say, “What if somebody just had carpal tunnel syndrome surgery?” That is easier for them to process.
I don’t just want people to add closed captions because it helps people on the subway. For that person, it’s a convenience, not a barrier.
Someone who’s deaf, it’s a full -on barrier. At the same time, I don’t care what convinces you. If the subway story is what’s going to convince you to do closed captions,
then let’s talk subway all day long because I care about the outcome. The other thing is, you want to make sure you don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to. So if I go to my boss and I say,
Hey, can I have the extra money and time and budget to make these courses fully WCAG compatible? First of all, I’m giving that boss the entire authority 100%.
And I’m asking a question that’s easy to say no to. But if I were to go in with an assumptive close with something that they would have to say yes to,
I could say, I’m building into this project schedule and plan the ability to build in the DEI features to make sure everybody has access to this course regardless of their ability.
I’m assuming you’re good with that. Like you’d have to be a really big jerk to say no to that. I’ll leave my politics on the table.
So there you go. Anyway, no, that’s beautiful. Let me ask you this. A question just popped into my head that I honestly have no idea what the answer is to and I’m wondering if you do too. Is there a potential?
I want to say marketing, marketing hits. So so many of us, especially if we’re building courses online that we’re going to sell out to the world, if you know, we’re B2C or consumer facing,
is there an SEO hit that we get from this? Does Google or any of the bots out there, would they prioritize something that’s built excessively more these days?
I quite honestly have no idea. I don’t think a bot would unless it was part of this search input. So if your customers are searching for safety compliance training accessible or safety compliance training WCAG,
then yeah, it should matter. If somebody’s just putting in safety compliance training, I don’t know whether or not a search engine would prioritize it. I doubt it, but you never know. But if you are going to the open market,
you are absolutely ruling out customers. And again, should that be the reason to do it? Well, I hope you do it because you want to be equitable. But again, I don’t care if it’s increasing market share that gets you to do it.
Great, let’s talk about increasing market share. And especially if you’re going with the larger organizations or or government agencies, it’s a purchasing requirement. I mean,
for the federal government, it absolutely is legally required for corporations. It’s fuzzy because the law doesn’t explicitly say you have to.
But Americans with disabilities ask this, you can’t discriminate based on ability. And gee, everybody else gets to get better at their job and not you. How is that not discrimination?
But the law doesn’t specifically say. But if we have a number of clients at Artisan who we create courses for them that they then sell.
And many of their biggest clients, that’s a huge requirement. Is it the courses be accessible or you’re not even in the conversation with them? They’re not even looking at you.
– Fantastic. Well, on that note, let’s take us to, what are the simple things that we can do to go from both making our content and our courses are online learning more accessible,
but also building it into that process so that it’s not even a no -brainer, it’s just this is what we do. So give us some of those examples. – Yeah, and these are things that don’t require a lot of training,
that don’t require a lot of special technology, and that don’t require approval from your boss. So even if you need to go a little bit rogue on some of this to get better than you were yesterday.
I mean, even if you do one thing that makes you better yet than yesterday, why not do it? So I think one of the best things you can do and so easy to do is to add closed captions to everything.
I mean, there’s really no reason not to. It is very affordable or you can do it yourself. It is not a massive impact on your budget, but it’s a massive impact for people who are deaf or hard of hearing or maybe have audio processing challenges,
English is second language. It’s just a no -brainer. So that’s one closed caption. So let me ask you this as well and that would,
for instance, right now everyone is listening on LinkedIn or YouTube, but that’s closed captioning is automatically happening, right? If they wanted to, if they wanted to appear in the learning space that you’re building for,
is that always an extra feature now where it’s like if I’m going to Wistia or some other video hoster, I have to, like that’s another feature I’ve got to click that button or it’s not just default?
Well, it depends on what you’re using. A lot of what we do is self -paced content, like in Storyline, and so we’re adding the closed captions. A lot of these tools use AI automated captioning,
which is way better than it used to be. But even if even the best ones are maybe 90 % accurate, and so I think you need to be careful because I don’t think most people would be okay if their storyboards were 90 % accurate.
If your narrator was only 90 % accurate, you’d ask them to rerecord it. And what if that accuracy issue is the missing the word not? Sure,
of course, yeah, exactly, or that one, yeah, that one, the green wire, not the blue wire. Right, exactly, exactly. So if nothing else, yes, turn on the automatic captioning.
I mean, if it’s between, sorry, if it’s between no captions and automatic captions, pick automatic captions, but especially for pre -recorded or asynchronous content,
use AI if you want to get you 90 % there, but double check the rest. Yeah, as soon as they go back and edit it. Okay, cool. So captions are on over here, this one. Make your buttons a little bigger. That’s not hard.
You talked about somebody who might temporarily not be able to use a mouse. Last year, this time, I had frozen shoulder. I could maybe move my arm, lift my arm about 10 degrees.
That was it. It was very painful. And so there were days where I had to use my non -dominant hand for my mouse. And I was working in some audio editing software and it’s little bitty buttons. And I was on track to hit the right button.
And then at the last minute, I just lost that full dexterity and I ended up pushing cancel instead of submit. Like it was just happening over and over and over because those buttons were so small.
And so if you have a larger button, if somebody has a tremor or a limb difference or something, it’s, I mean, it’s so easy. Just make your buttons a little bigger or a little farther apart.
Easy peasy. Easy. OK, so now, again, another question that comes from a marketing background. I hope nobody’s going to beat me up if I’m getting this wrong.
But Google’s recommendation 10 years ago, whatever, is like, if you can’t see the button from 10 feet away across the room, it’s too small. Like that’s their recommendation in terms of design for either a landing page or a sales page or something like that.
Is that the same kind of advice that you’d have? Or it’s just like, look, if they can’t find it, you’ve done it wrong. Yeah. I mean, there are some things that are just common sense. You look at the button and go,
hey, that’s a small button. Just start watching for it. And usually the people who make small buttons are the people with the best vision. People designed for people like themselves. But there are formal standards.
So you’ve got the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG, and they’re coming out. Has it released? It’s supposed to release in August. Today’s the last day of August. I haven’t checked. Maybe it’s out.
I should go check as soon as we’re done. But the new 2 .2 guidelines are going to have actual recommendations. And I think it’s 24 by 24 pixels,
CSS pixels. Or is it 48 by 48? It might be 48 by 48. I don’t know. Anybody who’s listening, if you got that link, throw it in the chat. Go Google it for me, please. So anyway, now you don’t have to guess. Here’s the recommendation.
Does– OK, another innocent– innocent, and I hope not completely stupid question, if I’m designing, does the screen resolution that I’m designing in change or alter my perception and also my choices that I make as I’m putting something together?
And I say that as well with the knowledge that I’m using a 13 -inch laptop right now. Some people have giant 45 -inch screens. How much does that affect your decision -making in the design process?
You absolutely have to care. I mean, you can’t know what everybody’s monitor size is. But especially if you want something to work on a phone, it has to be tapable with a finger.
You have to be able to read it on a phone. So I think the resolution does matter. And one of the things we’re still figuring out, and again, the standard isn’t out yet,
or it’s been out measured in hours, probably, they’re talking about CSS pixels instead of absolute pixels. And actually, we haven’t figured out internally,
how does that affect storyline? Because I can say, oh, let’s use nothing less than a 14 -point font in storyline. But a 14 -point font, if your slide size is 500 by 700,
is going to look different on a screen than 14 -point font if your slide size is 1500 by whatever, because it’s going to shrink down to the same space. So it is all relative.
And that’s why testing is really important, you know, tested on the devices that people are likely to use. Fantastic. So captions and big buttons, what’s our next one? Captions, big buttons, color contrast,
aqua on white, never again. Never. Just don’t. Orange is even pretty tricky, orange and white.
Now, I said these are things you can do rogue without your boss involved and some people might be going, but Diane, I’ve got a color palette. – I was just gonna say, man, you just destroyed the entire color palette of my corporate,
the corporation I work for. – Well, here’s the thing, color contrast is not about what colors you use, it’s about what colors you put text on and the color of that text or anything,
an icon, you know, anything. You can use all the orange you want, but don’t put white text on it. Do black text and then look like Halloween or use orange for a stripe somewhere.
Make it a drop shadow on an image. You don’t have to put white text. So you can have a purely pastel color scheme. Great, just don’t put white text on it. Just like you can use all the navy blue you want,
but don’t put black text on it. And again, you don’t have to guess, just like with the buttons, there’s about to be guidelines so that you don’t have to guess, there are guidelines. You go to web aims,
contrast checker, web aim, W -E -B -A -I -M, and you click a little eyedropper and pick one color and you click an eyedropper again, the other color, and it’s gonna say pass or fail for big or small text.
Like it just tells you, you don’t have to guess. So there’s no reason why starting this afternoon, you ever, ever have to have bad color contrast again.
– I want to also, I want to take this opportunity to circle back to what we were talking about in the beginning, like, and Alicia says it great in the comments, accessibility is universal, right? And everyone can use it. Some,
I can think of at least two, but probably three people, some of the most successful people in the world that I know, you would, you know, if you met them on the street, you would say, wow, these are bright outstanding, you know,
they can’t pick a tie out because they’re either colorblind or that, but you know, the contrast between what a tie does and their shirt is, you know, and I find that fascinating because this contrast issue would be huge for them.
– 8 % of the US male Caucasian population is colorblind to some degree, 8%. – That’s a lot of people. – It is, now that’s the demographic with the highest percentage.
It’s much less common in women. It’s less common in other ethnicities, but 8%. So do you have colorblind people in your audience? 100%. No doubt.
We have 22 people. I’m sure we have somebody colorblind with our 22 people. Just a lot of averages. Yeah, well, that is amazing. So I’m going to try to keep repeating these because,
you know, repetition is everything. Captions, big buttons, high contrast. What’s number four for us? Don’t auto advance your slides. Oh, if I,
if I’m in a storyline course or whatever and one slide’s done and it auto advances the next, I’m deciding for you how long it takes for you to process that content. And if you’re using assistive technology,
it might take you longer. If you have dyslexia, it might take you longer. If you are not fully fluent in English, it might take you longer. Let the learner decide how long and along with that,
in the WCAG standards, the guideline is allow enough time. And yeah, they can go back, but if they’re constantly having to go back and forth, that’s really disruptive to the learning process.
And similarly, you know, pause, play, timeline, scrub bars, anything you can do to let the learner stop and pause if they need to.
And I was just reviewing a course in somebody’s portfolio and it didn’t have the pause button and it just, it was driving me nuts. Right. For nothing else, I wanted to, I was evaluating their work.
I wanted to make notes and it just kept playing. And I’m like, no, I want to stop and process what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing. So give them control with pace,
timing and when they choose to move forward. Easy thing to do. Sure. So now I’m going to, I’m going to ask you the opposite, the inverse of that. So my son, who is almost of driving age.
Good luck to you. Thank you. Thank you. And all your neighbors. And my car. car. So he’s now going through the process in the state that we’re from,
the online sort of driver’s ed, you know, pretest course. A fascinating thing that we’ve discovered is that rather than advancing too quickly,
the course requires you to stay on a screen for two minutes, three minutes, even though happily my son can ingest material pretty quickly. And you know, he’s like,
he’s like, “Dad, I’m sitting here like literally sitting around “for sometimes five minutes because that’s a requirement.” Talk to me about that. – Okay,
that also gets to the, should you lock down your course, should you have to click all three buttons before you move forward? So the purest instructional designer side of me would say adult learners like control of their own learning.
I would like to pick and choose what and how they learn. Great, well as an adult, there’s all kinds of things I’d like control over that I don’t get control over, okay?
So put your big girl pants on and take your training, okay? You’re gonna learn what compliance needs you to learn. So the way I see it is if you allow people to skip content,
some of them will. You’re either okay with that or you’re not. But one of the things you have to factor is your learner’s ability to make good choices for themselves. 16 year olds do not have the ability to make good choices for themselves.
Fair amount of the workforce may not, you know, if I’m doing training for a grocery store on how to clean up a spill and my target audience,
you can start at a grocery store when you’re 14 in many states. – Sure. – 14 to 20 year olds is my primary target audience. They don’t have the ability to make smart decisions about what they should and shouldn’t learn and how long they should spend on things.
So, yeah, if there’s life, liberty, I’m not life liberty, sorry, life, livelihood or lawsuit at stake, sometimes the learner doesn’t get to choose.
And I know that’s a wildly unpopular opinion, but there are some things you have to do because you have to do it. Well, and this is what, this is what we talked through and, you know,
with my son because he kept complaining when I said, look, you’re lucky, you’re in a privileged position. You know, you go to this school and blah, blah, blah. And there’s probably people who are taking this test who can’t speak English, you know, and so they have to have that time to,
you know, for that requirement, exactly everything that you just kind of went through, right? And so I appreciate you really giving us that opinion. It’s very little to do with accessibility and more to do with,
are we getting the information across? And can we say, you know, this was delivered, you know, whole stop. So, yeah, all right, number, number five then. Okay, so number five,
don’t use funky fonts. Don’t center your fonts. I mean, a heading is fine, but like if you have a paragraph, don’t center it.
It’s really hard for some people to read. It’s a little hard for everybody to read, but it can be especially challenging for other people. Unless you’re creating art, fonts, text,
it’s meant to be read. Right. So you never want creativity to sacrifice legibility. So big,
huge walls of words are harder for some people to read if your font’s too small. And there is zero standard for how big or small your text should be. So even though there are standards coming for the buttons,
there are no WCAG standards for how big your font should be. But just be smart. Fonts over a picture. That picture better be really,
really, really faded out. Like really, really, really faded out. So if there’s anything that’s going to keep somebody from reading your text,
if they have an eyesight challenge, dyslexia, or any of those other things we’ve talked about, don’t do it. You’re not that precious. You’re not that special that your design is so important,
that it’s okay for somebody to not be able to read it, or that you give them a migraine because of how hard they had to try. Any thoughts on left justified versus forced justified?
Yeah. What’s the other word for it? It just went out of my head. It’s forced. Do you call it? I feel like there’s no, okay, yeah. So words, you know, where it’s like it takes up the space, you know? Any thoughts? You want left justified.
Okay. Yeah. Forced justified puts strange spaces in between words, and it can be challenging. Again, it can be challenging for everybody, but it can be especially challenging for certain groups of people.
Fantastic. Can I remember all five? I don’t know. Let’s see. So we’ve got close captioning, big buttons, high contrast. We talked a lot about the time on screen.
Auto -advance, giving the learner control. No auto -advance. No auto -advance. Yeah. And text that makes sense. And text that makes sense. Yes. So one of the things I can switch a little bit to live presentations in person or virtual is to describe your visuals as much as possible.
So if I’m giving a webinar and I have a graph showing and I say, “Well, you know, just like this graph shows us.” Right. Okay.
There’s people in your audience who have no idea what you’re talking about. Whereas whereas if I say, “It’s like this graph.” I mean, it’s clearly showing that there’s a huge spike in X when Y.
And I don’t have to say, “For those of you who can’t see this graph, I’m not going to explain.” Like you can work it in very gradually. Another thing that can help with that dynamic is if you can share any relevant visuals,
maybe your whole slide deck or anything relevant in advance, because if I use a screen reader to read things to me, so if I’m visually impaired,
I might use a screen reader and it’ll go through a document, a PDF, a PowerPoint, a story and read to me everything on it. Well, if you give me a link to your materials at the beginning of your session,
it’s too late for me to use my screen reader because I can either listen to my screen reader or I can listen to you. Right. I can’t do both. So if you can send out anything relevant in advance,
then the person who uses a screen reader can choose to take the time in advance to listen to it, to figure out what it says, so that in the presentation, they’ll be more prepared.
I’m glad that we’ve gone down this path. It was unexpected for me, but it’s really important. Like the WCAG standards, is there anything that you’ve created or anything that you use regularly to work with clients that are going to be doing both asynchronous and synchronous teaching?
Say, “Look, here’s your synchronous checklist to make sure that it’s going to be accessible. Do you have something like that?” I don’t personally. I am sure they exist. I’m actually working with ATD and Sierra Mercier right now,
a program called ATD Intensive in November, where it’s going to be a three -part program each day is like five hours. I’m going to take 12 sessions to be a deep dive on accessibility and we’re going to be addressing virtual instructor -led and classroom.
And so there’s a pitch ATD Intensive. Join us in November. We’ll also be creating some tools. So as we do the research for that, hopefully, I’m sure they exist.
I don’t, I’m not an expert in that area, but one, a couple of extra other things, especially in the physical classroom and meetings, normalize letting people sit where they want,
wear what they want, and get up when they need to. Normalize it. Interesting. You know, you’ve got people who want to sit up front because they like to sit up front and people who want to sit in back because they like to sit in back.
You have people who need to sit up front because they need it to hear or to see. There are people who need to sit in the back because they may need an emergency trip to the bathroom. They may need to stand up and move for some reason,
and so they can do that less conspicuously in the back. They might not have the effort or energy it takes to walk from the back of the room to the front of the room around all the chairs and purses.
And so they’d rather sit in the back and they might need to get up, you know, just normalize letting people do what they need to do with their body in space. I like it.
I’m going to take that into my classroom in October here when I’m coming up, fantastic. What other pieces would you put on the table? Do you have anything else that you want to share? Yeah, I could keep going for hours on this one.
Don’t use timed quizzes unless there’s a really, really, really strong job -specific reason for that time limit. Okay. Again,
it’s about allowing people enough time. Sure. I personally have a hard time, you know, why wouldn’t we use the book and why wouldn’t we use Google for anything,
for any sort of quiz just simply because I don’t know of any, I don’t know of many jobs that say, you know, you have to have lots of stuff memorized, but you know, that’s, they’re far and few between if they are out there. Yeah,
but it’s a disadvantage. It’s a barrier for people using assistive technology or who have certain information processing challenges. challenges. So unless that time constraint exists on the job,
really ask yourself whether that time constraint needs to exist in the quiz. So the other thing that can help with quizzes is submit buttons.
So some people will create a quiz where the minute you press B, it grades as opposed to B and then submit. Right.
So yes, that is an extra click for people. But for that person who maybe has a tremor and accidentally hit the wrong one, or they just want to be able to change their mind. Right.
As I say, I personally like to think about my answer, right? Like I was the one who colored it in and then he raced it and colored it. You know, like that was that guy? Yeah. Yeah. So just, you know, add a submit button,
not, not hard. If you’re out there on social media and you’re putting hashtags, hashtags can be really challenging for some people to read when it’s multiple words together.
Mm -hmm. And so you can use what’s called camel case, where you capitalize the first letter of each word. Okay. So if my hashtag was living my best life,
right, which I have never used, you know, living my best and life, that’s, but you live in Richmond. Come on. You’re, you’re living in your wrestling. Anyway, I’m in Fairfax, but that’s all.
So that would be four words for capital letters is a lot easier for people to read. It’s just a little thing. Okay. Another little easy thing is don’t restrict your device orientation.
So for example, in storyline, there’s a little tech box you can say that if, if I want you to be viewing on your phone portrait, there’s a little box I can click so that if you turn it portrait,
it’s going to say, please rotate your device the other way. Okay. And of course, I thought that’s awesome because I’m designing for this. And if you turn it portrait, it’s going to be so small. Well, Well, if I turn it portrait and it’s too small,
I know how to fix that problem. I don’t need you to tell me how to fix that problem. And the reason we don’t want to restrict it is because what if that person has their device mounted to their wheelchair?
And it is not easy for them to change the device orientation or they have certain assistive technology that works better with a certain device orientation.
So just don’t restrict it. And yes, if somebody takes your course and holds it portrait and it doesn’t look as good, they know how to fix that problem themselves.
That’s true. I want to go back to assessment for a second because you put the quizzings on. What about reporting and feedback to the learner?
Because ultimately, you’re going to take an assessment, you’re going to deliver an assignment, you’re going to create something and turn it in. What sort of accessibility pieces would you put around the instructor’s feedback,
the reporting back to that student about what they did, how they did it, and then is there a thought, a standard, anything about trying again or multiple attempts or whatever like that?
So let me tell you, over to you. Yes, so a couple of things. So multiple attempts is often more of a system graded thing like a self -paced course. And one of the things you always have to ask yourself is who is this activity for?
Is this purely for the benefit of the learner to help get them to chew on that concept a little bit longer, to help them make sure they really understand it and correct them before they move forward? Then you have one set of choices.
Or is this because my compliance officer needs a report? And I’m not minimizing that need. That’s a legit business need in many organizations with many topics. So you have to adjust what you do based on that.
Because if my compliance officer needs to know that everybody passed their safety test with 100 % but they got three tries for every question, I don’t think they can rely on that score as much as they think they can.
I don’t think that means what you think it means. That 100%. So in those cases, you might need to have a single attempt. If I am going to have a quiz,
and again, my world is more the self -paced world, if I’m going to have a quiz that has what I call teeth, the score matters. If you don’t do well on this,
you’re going to get called into somebody’s office. Or you could hurt somebody, or you could lose your job. I don’t want that quiz to be the first time I ask them that question.
I want to give them those same questions, maybe with different wording and a slightly different scenario and slightly different distractors. I want to give them a chance to practice and fail and correct before the one that matters.
And then in the one that matters, probably one attempt. It depends on why you care about the score. And what’s at stake if they don’t. And then you have to decide what your score is.
Okay, everybody passes at an 80%. Great. You’ve just proven that you don’t understand 20 % of the safety things. 20 % of what could kill you, you don’t know.
Yay. You’re only 20 % likely to kill yourself or someone else around you. Not okay. There are a lot of organizations that codify codify their quiz strategy.
Each course will have a 10 question multiple choice quiz with four options for each question and you must pass with an 80%. – Right. – Really? Every single course has exactly 10 things worth testing.
Really? Exactly 10. None of them have seven. None of them have 12. And why is 80 % okay on this? – Right. – You know? And on others,
why do I even care that it’s 80 %? This is a course on how to help you be more efficient in Excel. You get a 40? Okay. You are 40 % more efficient in Excel.
That’s awesome. – Right. – Good for you. Right? Like, why do I care? That was for you, not for me. – Diane,
my final question for you, and I can listen to you talk about accessibility all day long. This is, I love your personality. Just your delivery is so perfect. What other technologies,
you’ve talked a lot about storyline, but what other technologies or processes or efficiencies would you recommend people start considering putting into their process so that it becomes the normal way of designing rather than a menu item to add?
– Right. So accessibility starts with instructional design. So if my storyboard writer is writing for drag and drops, okay?
That’s not okay. If my writers are writing using sense -based language, you know, in the picture to the right. – Right.
– If you can’t see, there is no right. There isn’t, you know? What if the task requires a certain sense or a certain ability?
You know, it’s a course on conflict management. We’re talking about tone of voice and we’re talking about eye contact. Not everybody has that ability. It doesn’t mean we don’t teach it, but it means we have a smart strategic conversation about it.
So it starts in the writing. It starts with selecting diverse images, including ability. You know, do you have anybody in your course who’s Caucasian and who’s Black and who’s Hispanic?
Probably. Do you have a good male -female balance and maybe some non -binary? Great. Yeah, is every single person in your course traditionally able?
Do you have somebody with a hearing aid in one of your images? Do you have somebody with a blood glucose monitor in one of your images? Right? So representation matters. So I don’t think that quite answers your question,
so I’ll go back to your question. Different technologies and processes. It starts from the beginning and it starts with tool selection. You know, you’ve got to pick a tool. Storyline is downright decent for accessibility.
It’s not perfect. Pretty good. I know a lot of people who use Adapt and Evolve for accessibility. I know Domino’s doing good work there. I mean,
there’s a lot of companies doing good work. Is your LMS accessible? Right. You know, you can access the course. Let’s say you’re doing systems training. You’re doing a course on your company’s time and attendance system and you make the course successful.
Great. But the time and attendance system isn’t accessible. Eeks. You know, that’s a problem bigger than this little chat we’re having. And it really helps to build it in from the beginning,
like most things that you build, whether it’s a house or a feature film or an e -learning course. The longer you are in the project, the harder it is to change course.
So if you’re making a prototype, build the accessibility into the prototype because retrofitting it later. Like, you know, that little close button on layers, you do a click to reveal activity.
You do a little close button. And you forget to go behind the scenes and add the alt text that calls it the close layer button. Well, how many of those buttons are going to be in your course?
Right. Wouldn’t you rather get it right on the first one, test it, it, and then make 50 copies of that close button? So building it in from the front is one of the best things you can do.
100%. And I think building it from the front, and then just, I find it fascinating, test it, right? Like, that’s another thing. You got it. Actually, hey, like, go give this to 10 different people in 10 different departments and 10,
you know, whatever, and not just sort of send it out to your, you know, your usual team. And see what feedback you get. And testing it with a keyboard. Put your mouse away and go through the whole course.
And that doesn’t take any special technology. It’s tab, tab, enter, down arrow, space, standard keyboard. So put your mouse away. And if you can’t get through the course, that’s a problem.
And then somebody needs to check it with a screen reader. So whether that’s someone on your team, whether you hire it out to a company, whether you individually contract to a person who uses a screen reader in their own life as their own experience,
a lot of ways to do it. But you can’t assume it works, just like I have a proofreader check that all my commas are in the right place. I’m not just going to assume I set up everything right behind the scenes for accessibility.
Human error. That’s something I know I did. Speaking of human error, I was going to thank you for being on the show. But just as I did, a person named Tharwat Krayam just asked a question.
And the question is, what’s the best way to reference images within content? Okay, big one there. So that one doesn’t necessarily fall into the,
hey, something quick you can do tomorrow. But it’s an important one. So if I can’t see, then I can’t see your images. And so I have a screen reader going to read to me what’s going on.
And so if you put text on a slide, and I’m not talking about in like Zoom, but I got a storyline course, a rice course, a captivate course, a GOMO, whatever, a screen reader is going to automatically read text.
So if you typed or pasted it as text storyline, a screen reader is gonna read it, but it’s gonna get to that image and not know what to say because right now, AI is likely to change this,
right now screen readers aren’t smart enough to figure out what the image is. And so in most tools, in PowerPoint, in storyline, in word, in, you know,
rise, in captivate. Any image, you can find a feature called alt text where you can describe what’s happening. And that’s a whole art in of itself. How much do I need to say?
You know, if I have two people talking, or let’s say it’s a course on bullying in the workplace, and I have one person kind of in the other person’s face. Do I need to mention that one is a man and one is a woman?
Should I mention that one is taller than the other? Should I mention that one is dressed more formally than the other? Probably all of those things because that’s about power dynamic. If it’s two people shaking hands and it’s just a course on customer service,
maybe none of those things matter. So I have to decide what matters and I need to describe that. But the other thing that you can do with this alt text is you also look at the whole image,
including anything you’re saying. So if I have a course for a harassment prevention course, and I said, if you feel that you’ve been treated inappropriately,
you can either speak directly to the person in question. You can go to your supervisor or you can go to HR. And while that narration is happening, there’s a little diagram building on the screen.
It says you, the person, your supervisor, the HR manager. I don’t need to add alt text to those images because all they’re doing is illustrating what’s already in the narration.
So if I’m using a screen reader, I don’t need to hear icon of HR manager, icon of supervisor, icon, no. Because the narration said,
you can go to your supervisor, you can go to the HR manager or you can confront the person directly. The, I’m not saying the image has no value because we know visual reinforcement helps with learning for those who are able to see it.
But for those who don’t see it they’re still getting the same information so I can pull it out so a screen reader doesn’t even know it’s there. And that way they’re not having to listen. You have to somebody who’s using a screen reader you help need to help manage their cognitive load more so than anybody else.
Because if they’re having to listen to descriptions of details that don’t matter it shouldn’t take them three hours to go through one hour course. Because they have to learn what everybody in the course was wearing.
Because if I can see it yeah I know what you’re wearing and I processed it for a nanosecond. But if I had to read three sentences about what you’re wearing and everybody else in a course I’m like I don’t even know what’s what I don’t even know.
I don’t even know what to pay attention to anymore. On that note Diane Elkins how do people reach out to you to not only learn more about accessibility but to just talk to you about design and all the one other wonderful things that you do.
Sure LinkedIn is my social media drug of choice so you can follow me there you can follow artisan e -learning there. And that actually gets to my last tip which is one simple thing you can do to make your content more accessible is to change your algorithm and social media.
So if you’re say for example a LinkedIn person if you are not seeing people post about accessibility it means it’s not a part of your algorithm yet. So go find some posts and people start liking and start commenting.
Next thing you know your feet will be filled with it and you’ll be surrounded by great tips and information. Super cool. This has been a truly delightful truly delightful conversation.
I can’t thank you so much for taking almost a full hour out of your day -to -day. I’m sure many people will be contacting you, but I wish you all the best and we will hopefully see you again soon. And people should come to ATD Intensive in November.
– Yes, yes. And thank you for giving a megaphone to this issue. – Thank you again for listening to the Elon Podcast here from Open LMS. I just wanted to ask one more time. If you enjoyed this show,
if you learned something, if you were inspired, if you were challenged, if you feel like this is something you can take into your practice, please do me a favor. And right now on your podcast player, hit subscribe.
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