Upcoming Accessibility Workshops on July 8 and July 15

Workshop sign

The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible documents and video content.

Creating Accessible Content

This one-hour course is focused on creating accessible documents within Microsoft Word, Google Documents, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides and other platforms. The course will cover the use of heading styles, exporting to PDF, writing effective alternative text and how to correctly format tables.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 2-3 pm
    • Wednesday, July 15: 2-3 pm

Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 1-2 pm
      • Meeting link
      • Meeting ID: 977 9167 0567
      • Password: Not required
    • Wednesday, July 15: 1-2 pm

If you plan to attend these trainings, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Guides available on the district website

Cluster of wooden Scrabble-like tiles that spell out LEARN

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about accessibility resources available on the district website. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

The Olympia School District is committed to providing accessible content for our students and our community. To aid in this effort, the Communications department has created and gathered a wealth of resources on the creation of accessible documents for posting to the web.

These resources may be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, and they cover the most popular tools used within the district, including:

Please take advantage of these resources when producing documents intended for the web. If you use a unique software suite, or if you have accessibility questions in general, please reach out to Robert Hardy for assistance.

Creating Accessible Content workshop offered June 10

Numerous computers in what appears to be a computer lab or professional development class

Interested in sharing online content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible content in Word, Docs, PowerPoint, Slides, SchoolMessenger and Schoology.

Attendees will learn the role of accessibility within document creation and how to incorporate it into an efficient workflow.

The next workshop is Wednesday, June 10 from 2-3 p.m

If you plan to attend the training, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

 

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Installing and Using Grackle

Grackle Docs logo

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to install and use Grackle. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Grackle is a powerful add-on for Google Docs that acts as both an accessibility checker and a PDF exporter. Available to all Olympia School District employees, Grackle is, in many ways, the shortcut to creating accessible PDFs.

Installing Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Get add-ons
  3. Click the magnifying glass and search for Grackle.
  4. Select the + button

Running Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Grackle Docs > Launch. Grackle will launch on the right side of your document.
  3. Select Sign In with Google and grant Grackle permissions to access your account.

When Grackle is launched, it will scan your document for accessibility issues. A complete list of Grackle errors and solutions can be found in the Google Docs Quick Start guide on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page. When you have corrected an error, select Re-Check to verify the issue has been resolved.

Exporting to PDF

Once all accessibility issues have been addressed, an accessible PDF can be exported from Grackle. Simply select Export to PDF to begin the process. Users may choose to be notified via email once the corresponding PDF has been created. Grackle will also store a copy of the accessible PDF within your Google Drive.

PDFs created using Grackle are accessible and are ready to be posted to the district’s web platforms.

Thank you for your work in creating accessible documents. If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.

New video captioning workshop scheduled June 3

ClapperboardInterested in sharing video content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on ensuring the accuracy of YouTube’s automatically-generated captions.

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

The next workshop is Wednesday, June 3 from 1-2 p.m

If you plan to attend the training, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Additional benefits of captioning videos

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the additional benefits of captioning video content. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Note: Robert Hardy is offering a Zoom training this Wednesday, May 13, about captioning videos (see information at end of this post).

Providing accurate captions is a necessary step in making most video content accessible. Like other elements of accessible design though, the benefits of captioning videos extend beyond just accessibility.

Captions within YouTube are translatable into dozens of languages using YouTube’s automatic translation tool. While not imperfect, these automatic translations provide greater access to our content. To enable translations, users can turn on the captions, go to settings, select the captions menu and then select Auto-translate.

YouTube Captions menu - Auto-translate is selected

Captioned videos are also easier for users to find. Google regularly crawls online content for their search results. Traditionally, video content has been very challenging for search engines to parse. By providing captions, Google is able to more accurately index the content, ensuring it shows up in users’ search results.

Captioned videos are also easier to search within. Rather than watch an entire video, users can use the transcript function within YouTube to skim through a video. To open the transcript tool, open the three-dot menu and select Open Transcript. This is particularly helpful when watching step by step guides.

YouTube video menu - Open transcript is selected

Finally, captions themselves are beneficial to everyone. Say, for instance, that you are staying in your home for several weeks with your entire family. Captions enable you, and all of your family members, to watch videos muted. In fact, up to 85% of videos watched on platforms such as Facebook are watched without sound.

If you are interested in posting accessible video content and creating captions using YouTube, you can attend this Wednesday’s (May 13, 2020) Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions workshop:

  • Meeting link
  • Time: 1-2 pm
  • Meeting ID: 913 4627 2957
  • Password: 012344

Thank you for your work in captioning videos and ensuring they are accessible! If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.

New Workshop: Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions

Workshop sign

Interested in sharing video content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is now offering a Zoom workshop on ensuring the accuracy of YouTube’s automatically-generated captions.

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

Wednesday, May 6

Wednesday, May 13

If you plan to attend these trainings, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Enhancing the accuracy of automatically generated captions

Clapperboard

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to use YouTube’s automatic captioning to create accessible video content. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet via Zoom.

Creating videos using ScreenCastify or other tools is a great way to reach out and connect with your students and our community. Captioning this content is a necessary step in ensuring everyone can access and enjoy it. Tools such as YouTube automatically generate captions,  but there are some steps that can be taken to enhance the accuracy of the captions and ensure the meaning of your message is fully conveyed.

Increasing the accuracy of automatically generated captions:

  • Have clear audio with a single individual speaking. Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Reduce background noise and refrain from background music or other distractions.
  • Introduce yourself at the outset of the video. This negates the requirement to manually enter your name in the captions at the start of the video (for example: [Robert Hardy]).
  • Narrate your on-screen actions, particularly when creating step-by-step guides.

Editing captions in YouTube(click here to view a screencast of this process):

  1. Upload your video to your YouTube channel. After several minutes, YouTube’s automatically generated captions will become available.
  2. Select your profile icon at the top right of the YouTube screen, and select YouTube Studio.
  3. On the left-hand menu, select Subtitles.
  4. On the row that reads “English (Automatic)”, beneath the Subtitles column, select Published Automatic. This will open YouTube’s subtitle editing screen.
  5. At the top right, select Edit.
  6. Edit the captions in the left menu, editing for grammar and punctuation. Some hotkeys are available to enable you to simultaneously watch the video:
    • Shift + Space – Plays the video
    • Shift + Left Arrow – Rewinds the video by one second
    • Shift + Right Arrow – Fast forwards the video by one second
    • Shift + Enter – Adds a new line in the caption.
    • Shift + Down/Up Arrow – Goes to the next/previous caption
    • Enter – Adds a new blank caption
  7. If needed, the timings of captions can be adjusted by dragging the edges of the caption on the caption timeline beneath the video.
  8. When done, select Publish edits.

Tips for formatting captions:

  • Include sound in brackets:
    • [Laughs]
    • [Rolling thunder]
  • If including music, include the song title and musician:
    • [“Fifth Symphony” by Beethoven]
  • If music lyrics are central to the message of the video, include those using the ♪ icon (you can copy and paste it from here):
    • ♪ Never gonna run around and desert you
      Never gonna make you cry ♪
  • If speech is inaudible, use [inaudible]
  • Try to keep captions synced with the spoken speech, and try to refrain from overly long captions

Thank you for your work in creating captions for your video content. If you have any questions about this method or other accessibility concerns, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Don’t rely on color alone to convey meaning

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to use color to enhance design — not drive it. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

When designing content for the web, be sure not to rely on color alone to convey meaning. Use color to enhance design, but not drive it. Colorblind or screen reader users may not be able to easily perceive differences in color, which can create confusion.

Take for example the graph below showing this week’s high temperatures in Seattle and Olympia.

High temps for Seattle and Olympia are shown, with Seattle represented by a blue line and Olympia represented by a orange line

While this may appear to clearly convey the data, looking at this graph with the colors removed quickly reveals problems. What line represents each city?

The same high and low temps line graph is shown, but with colors removed. Both Seattle and Olympia are represented by black lines, creating confusion.

By adding texture to the lines in the graph, line labeling can be clear, regardless of the colors being used.

Color Alone3 (1)

To make these graphs even more accessible, the author could also include the accompanying data table, as was discussed in the Providing Alternative Text for Complex Images blog post.

When working with text alone, additional differentiation could be added through bolding, underlining or the inclusion of accompanying symbols. These tools enable color to accentuate a message, rather than convey it. Always consider what information would be lost if the document was converted to grayscale.

If you have any accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy (6105), the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Working with tables in Microsoft Office and Google Docs

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about working with tables in Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

One way to make your content more accessible is to include tables alongside graphs or charts. Including a table not only enhances the accessibility of the document, it also allows data to be easily extracted for future use.

When adding a table, it is important to take a few steps to ensure the table is accessible.

Use True Tables

Be sure to use true tables within your documents, rather than tables built using the tab key. To add a table in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, go to Insert > Table and select your table size.

Mark table row and column headers

When reading a table, users will glance up or to the left to see column or row headers. These titles allow a reader to comprehend relationships within the data.

3 empty table examples. The first table contains no headers. The second table includes a header row. The third table includes a header row and column.

Unfortunately, unless table row and column headers are programmatically defined, they are inaccessible for a screen reader user.

Microsoft Office

To mark a column or row title in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint:

  1. Select the table.
  2. Go to the Table Design ribbon.
  3. Ensure Header Row and First Column are selected appropriately. Header Row signifies a row of column titles, while First Column denotes row titles.

If your table spreads over multiple pages, you will also want to ensure Repeat Header Rows is selected under the Table Layout ribbon.

Google Docs

Users of Google Docs can use Grackle Docs to create accessible tables:

  1. Open the Grackle add-on by going to Add-ons > Grackle Docs > Launch. The Grackle Docs add-on will launch on the right side of the screen.
  2. Grackle will recognize that a table has been included without a header row or column. The error will appear as “Tables must be tagged or marked as layout tables.”
  3. Click “+Tag” beside the error to enter the Tag Table menu.
  4. In the Tag Table menu, select the appropriate options from the “Mark first row as header” and/or “Mark first column as header” options.

Avoid blank or merged cells

If you are converting your final document to PDF, it is recommended to avoid blank or merged cells in your table. Blank or merged cells can confuse Adobe Acrobat, creating tables that are misleading or downright inaccessible. Populate blank cells with meaningful data, or with a placeholder such as inserting three hyphens in the cell. If your table has merged cells, usually contained within a header row, consider if the table can be broken into two simple tables.

For tips on working with tables in other software suites, please refer to the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have additional questions or tips, please reach out to Robert Hardy at extension 6105.