New screencast on creating accessible content in Google Slides

The Communications and Community Relations department has put together a new screencast covering how to create accessible content in Google Slides. This ten minute video demonstrates building new slides, including data accessibly and adding captions to a live presentation. It also covers how to use Grackle to scan your documents for accessibility concerns and export a final, ready to post PDF.

Quick-start guides covering these tools, as well as how to create accessible content in other software suites, are available on the Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have questions or tips regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

New screencast on creating accessible content in Google Docs

The Communications and Community Relations department has put together a new screencast covering how to create accessible content in Google Docs. This ten minute video demonstrates the correct use of headings, alternative text, tables, lists and columns. It also covers how to use Grackle to scan your documents for accessibility concerns and export a final, ready to post PDF.

Quick-start guides covering these tools, as well as how to create accessible content in other software suites, are available on the Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have questions or tips regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

New screencast on creating accessible content in Microsoft Word

The Communications and Community Relations department has put together a new screencast covering how to create accessible content in Microsoft Word. This ten minute video demonstrates the correct use of headings, alternative text, tables, lists and columns. It also covers how to scan your document for accessibility issues and export a final PDF.

Quick-start guides covering these tools, as well as how to create accessible content in other software suites, are available on the Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have questions or tips regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Making documents POUR

Tea being pouredThis week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about making documents POUR. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

When considering the accessibility of a document or piece of content, it can be easy to focus on the technical details. Are the alt tags included? Is this form fillable? What is lost in this approach is the understanding of the end user and how they will interact with the content.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a framework for document review that is less technically focused, and instead focuses on the experience of the end user. This framework can be helpful when considering the life cycle of a document and deciding upon the best route toward accessibility compliance.

The framework is called POUR. Documents must be:

  • Perceivable – Can the document be easily perceived? Are there contrast issues, or is text locked in an image? Are data tables included alongside graphs?
  • Operable – Are interactive elements set up in a way that enables interaction? For most text documents, this is not a concern, but it does arise when creating forms or designing websites. Interactive elements must be operable with both a keyboard and a mouse.
  • Understandable – Is the language as clear and concise as possible? Consider the intent of your message and remove additional clutter.
  • Robust – Can the content be accessed across a wide range of devices? PDFs are a robust document solution for desktop and mobile devices. The SchoolMessenger and Schoology platforms have also been designed to be robust.

Taken together, these principles provide a non-technical framework with which to consider your content.

If you have any questions or tips regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is May 20

Laptop and alarm clock on a white table

This Thursday, May 20, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our accessibility work and how it impacts people within our community.

As usability specialist Steve Krug said:

“The one argument for accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically improve people’s lives just by doing our job a little better?”

It is a powerful statement that cuts through the occasionally dry language of headings and alt tags and reminds us of the human impact of our work.

If you would like to learn more about how to create accessible content and positively impact our community, check out the Accessibility Resources page on the district site. We have a range of guides available demonstrating how to create content more inclusively.

Thank you, as always, for your hard work and dedication to ensuring our services are available to everyone within our community.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating a Table of Contents in your documents

Stack of binders

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about using true headings to create a table of contents. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

True headings are an essential aspect of accessible document design, allowing screen reader users to skim a document. Beyond enhancing accessibility, true headings also enable authors to insert an interactive, accurate and professional table of contents within their documents, creating a better user experience for every reader.

To insert a table of contents, authors must first use heading styles within their document. More information on using true headings can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, but basically, you’ll want to highlight section titles and select the appropriate heading type from the top menu.

In Microsoft Word, heading styles may be located within the Home ribbon.

Microsoft Word screenshot. The Home ribbon is selected and the Heading styles menu is shown.

In Google Docs, heading styles may be located in the top menu bar.

Google Docs screenshot. The Heading menu is highlighted in the top menu.

Headings should not be used consecutively, but rather, should be nested within one another. For instance, a document title would be marked as a Heading 1, chapter titles would be marked as Heading 2 and subchapters would be marked as Heading 3.

Once headings have been used, inserting a table of contents is straightforward, both in Microsoft Word and in Google Docs.

Microsoft Word

  1. Place the cursor where you would like the table of contents to appear.
  2. Select the ‘References’ ribbon.
  3. Select ‘Table of Contents’ and pick a style of table of contents.

Customizing the table of contents

Tables of contents within Microsoft Word can be heavily customized, allowing for certain heading levels to be excluded, or specific styling to be applied. To add a customized table of contents, select ‘Custom Table of Contents’ from the Table of Contents menu (step 3 above).

Updating page numbers

If the document continues to be edited after inserting a table of contents, the page numbers within the table of contents may need to be updated. To do so, simply right-click the table of contents, select ‘Update Field’ and then select ‘Update page numbers only.’

Google Docs

  1. Place the cursor where you would like the table of contents to appear.
  2. Select ‘Insert’ from the top menu.
  3. Select ‘Table of Contents,’ and then pick from the available styles.

Customizing the table of contents

Unlike in Word, there are limited pre-built customizations available, but the table of contents can be edited like other text.

Updating page numbers

Like in Word, page numbers within the table of contents may need to be updated if the document is heavily edited. To update the page numbers, right-click the table of contents and select ‘Update table of contents.’

This added benefit of true headings is yet another example of how accessible design is truly universal design. By improving design for a portion of our audience, we inevitably improve it for everyone.

As always, if you have questions about true headings, or accessibility in general, please feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker

Person appears to be ready to mark a checklist of items. Next to person doing this is a laptop computer.

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office.

The Accessibility Checker within Microsoft Office is a powerful tool that can be used as a final step in document creation. The steps involved in running the Accessibility Checker differ depending on your operating system, but are quite straightforward. Please note these steps are the same for both Word & PowerPoint.

  • Mac– Go to the Review ribbon and select “Check Accessibility.
  • Windows– Go to the File menu and under Info, select “Check for Issues” and then “Check Accessibility.”

The Accessibility Checker will open on the right side of the screen and will contain a list of issues located within the document. The quick-start guides located on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page cover each of these errors and how to resolve them.

When working with older Word documents, users may receive the error “Cannot check the current file type for accessibility issues.” To resolve this error, go to File & Save As. In the Save As window, select the File Type option and select “Word Document (.docx).” The Accessibility Checker should now be able to run without errors.

Accessible content from Microsoft Word documents can either be copied and pasted directly onto a SchoolMessenger or Schoology page, or exported as an accessible PDF.

As always, if you have any accessibility tips or questions, please feel free to reach out to the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist, Robert Hardy.

Creating Accessible Content workshop offered May 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 Monday, May 10 from 4-5 p.m

If you plan to attend the training, please register via PdEnroller. 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: Creating alternatives for complex images

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to provide alternative text for complex images. Please reach out to Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Some images are difficult to describe succinctly. Images such as graphs or flow charts don’t lend themselves to simple interpretation, and can be concerning when approached from an accessibility standpoint.

In actuality, these complex images can be simple to make accessible. Rather than provide an alternative text tag, the author can include additional content alongside their complex image. This additional content not only enhances accessibility, but also improves the user experience overall.

Graphs

When it comes to graphs or charts, the easiest and most accessible route is to provide a data table alongside the image. Take for example this graph showing the high and low temperatures across a week:

Olympia high and low temps week of 2/13/19 - table included below

While the chart does well to show trends, the true numerical values are locked within the image itself. Including a corresponding data table is particularly helpful in conveying exact figures and ensures the data is accessible to all. 

Temp

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

High

40

32

34

39

42

38

33

Low

32

15

14

22

27

28

16

Doing this also enables users to copy and paste the data. A live example of this practice can be seen on the district’s 2018 Annual Report.

Flow Charts

Another complex image type is a flow chart. Take for example this flow chart from the Capital High School Course Catalog:

CHS course catalog flow chart example - list version included below

Similar to the graph above, a flow chart can be challenging to describe in paragraph form. What can be included to enhance accessibility? In this case, the answer would be to include the flow chart in list form alongside the graphic. This flow chart could be displayed as:

  • Algebra 1 (required)
    • Geometry (required)
      • 4-year college path options (Meets 3rd math credit)
        • Algebra 2 (C or better in Geometry)
          • IB Discrete (B or better in Alg2)
            • Pre Calculus (B or better in Discrete)
          • Pre Calculus (B or better in Alg2)
            • IB Calculus SL (B or better in Pre Calc)
              • IB Calculus HL (B or better in Calc)
      • Non 4-year college options (Meets 3rd math credit)
        • Financial Algebra (Alg & Geom)
        • Precision / Bicycle Manufacturing (Alg & Geom)
        • Robotics Math (Alg & Geom)

Similar to the chart and table example, this simplified layout also allows for content to be copied and pasted later on.

By providing alternatives in these ways, we can work not only to enhance the accessibility of our content, but also the general usability.

As always, if you have any questions regarding creating accessible content, please reach out to Robert Hardy.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Columns, the right tool for the job

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to control the layout of a document using the Columns Tool. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

One of the most important elements of creating accessible content is to use the right tool for the job. As so many of us are self-taught Microsoft Office users, we find ourselves relying on the tools we are familiar with, rather than the ones designed for the task.

For instance, we may use asterisks rather than bulleted lists, or bolded text rather than true heading styles. While this may visually create the structure of a document, it fails to provide the programmatic accompaniment needed for users of assistive technology. These methods also often require more work from the author for a less satisfactory end product.

One of the more problematic uses of the wrong tool is the use of tables to define a document’s layout, rather than using the columns tool. By using the table tool rather than columns, the programmatic structure of the document is one of a data table. This sets users of assistive technology up for trouble, as these tools will anticipate a data table and describe the page in terms of rows and columns. As is apparent from the example below, describing the second column as “_______________” isn’t very informative.

Name:_______________Date_______________
Class:_______________School_______________

Rather than use tables, using the column tool is the way to get the job done:

Name ______________

Class: _______________

Date:   _______________

School: _______________

To add a columned section to your Microsoft Word document, simply select the Column Tool from the Layout Ribbon and select how many columns you would like.

Now, for many, the column tool within Microsoft Word is initially unwieldy, pushing text into the wrong columns or leaving too much blank space. Thankfully, there are solutions.

To control the margins of your columns, you can select the columned space, click the Column Tool, and then select More Columns. You can then define the column width, the spacing between columns and even if you want columns to be different widths.

To control the flow of text between columns, you can insert column breaks that force the text below them to the next column:

  • Windows: [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter]
  • Mac: [Cmd]+[Shift]+[Enter]

These two simple controls over the Column Tool remove its unwieldy nature and enable authors to use the right tool for the job. If you have questions about this or other accessibility features, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.