From the DA team: this blog was originally published on 20 September 2021. We are re-sharing the post to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2022.
We know that making your content digitally accessible might seem like a daunting and time-consuming task. However, it is important to remember that accessibility is a journey, not a destination. We are all on a roadmap of learning how to embed more inclusive practice in our everyday work. We will make errors along the way and come across issues; at the same time, we will find innovative, creative, and practical solutions, move beyond compliance, and strive towards inclusive excellence.
Interact the way you want
One of the main tenets of accessibility is having more than one option on how to interact with content and platforms. Systems and tools should have multiple ways of usability to empower users and allow them control of their interactions. Below are some examples of how you can use assistive technology to take away some of the functional load of working on a computer, online, and synchronously.
- Navigate with a keyboard or screen reader
- Take a break from the keyboard and dictate
- Take a screen break with the Immersive Reader
- Do things quickly with Tell Me
- Translate messages in Teams
Present and collaborate inclusively
Creating content should always have digital accessibility at the forefront to ensure users of assistive technology have equitable access to material as do wider audiences. Creating accessibly from the start will bring about these inclusive benefits for users sooner, as well as avoid the need for remediation of inaccessible content later down the line.
- Ensure documents are accessible with the Accessibility Checker
- Check grammar, clarity and more with the Microsoft Editor
- Add someone to a call in Teams, e.g. colleague or interpreter
- Present with real-time subtitles (60+ supported languages)
- Add closed captions or subtitles to media in PowerPoint
Organisation can be beneficial for users not just for productivity – it embeds accessible and inclusive practice across multiple media. Set task management formats, highlighting resources that will be referred to often, and creating content with a consistent design will improve the predictability of your work, as well as your teaching.
- Create Outlook tasks in OneNote
- Search for messages and more in Teams
- Pin chats in Teams
- Use the PowerPoint Designer to improve your slide layouts
An important element in accessibility is that there should be no surprises for users when interacting with elements. Things like unexpected pop-ups can cause distractions for users with attention difficulties. The guidance below gives a few tips on how you can pause, customise, or even completely stop some of the known distractions we might experience.
- Limit Teams distractions with Do Not Disturb mode
- Mute Teams chats to manage distractions
- Manage Teams notifications and set your status
- Take care of your wellbeing with Personal Analytics
Personalise the look and feel
Accessibility does not mean that the way we perceive and interact with visual content and platforms will be boring! You can customise many elements of software we use at City, most importantly, making adjustments you might need to meet your accessibility requirements, such as high contrast colours and zoom controls.