Guidance on accessibility
Accessibility promotes equality. The content of course platforms must be easily accessible for students. The technical accessibility of the Learn system is ensured by the E-campus services. The accessibility of the content used on the course platforms is the responsibility of the teacher. The teacher can make a significant contribution to accessibility by paying attention to the structure of the platform and the clarity of the language used on the platform.
In Finland, accessibility is required by the Act on the Provision of Digital Services. The Act also applies to certain content produced by teachers for the Learn and Open Learn platforms. From 23 September 2020, public and recurrently used teaching materials must be made accessible.
This document sets out recommendations that can be followed to make the learning platform more accessible.
Pay particular attention to the structure and clarity of the course. Use materials on the platforms thoughtfully and ensure that all content on the platform has a purpose. Explain the purpose of the materials and activities on the platform so that the student knows what the different contents are for.
Headings and texts
- Use descriptive and informative headings
Headings structure the text, and when enough headings are used, the text is easier to understand.
- Format titles with the text editor's title style
Screen readers recognize headings by their heading style, so simply increasing the font size or making it bold is not enough.
- Use lists
Lists make it easier to read the content. However, lists that are too long are cumbersome and difficult to understand.
- Keep the content on the homepage of the course platform concise and distribute content to sub-pages
Excessively long texts on the home page of the course platform make it difficult to see the page at a glance. Use concise and descriptive texts on the homepage and divide long text blocks into sub-pages created with the page tool.
- Check the content using the accessibility checker button in the editor
Always check the text you have created with Learn's text editor using the accessibility checker button in the editor. You will receive suggestions for corrections if there is any accessibility-related content that needs to be corrected.
Highlighting and colors
Avoid unnecessary styling
Use the default font, or if you want to change the font, use the same font systematically across the whole platform. Use caution when changing font size and color.
- Avoid underlining and using blue in the text
Underlining and blue color indicates a link. To avoid misunderstandings, it is not recommended to use them when the text is not a link.
- Use bold and italics to emphasise
The screen reader recognizes bold and italics and can highlight text correctly.
- Avoid using only color or shape to convey essential information
Information communicated by color or shape alone is not conveyed to the screen reader or color-blind student. For example, information about an error in the text may not be conveyed to the student if the error is expressed simply by changing the text of the incorrect passage to red.
- Pay attention to the contrast between text and background
Colors in the text and background that are too close together can make the text difficult to distinguish and read.
- Use descriptive text in link names
The purpose of the link should be clear from the link text or its context. The link should also describe the destination that the user will reach by following the link.
- Set links to open in the same browser window
It is recommended that links are configured to open in the same browser window. If it is appropriate or clearer that the link opens in a new window, it is useful to inform the user of the opening in a new window, either in the link text or in the link description.
- When a link takes you to a file, indicate this in the link text or description
When a link opens a file, such as a pdf or word document, instead of a web page, it is a good idea to mention this in the link text or description.
- Use tables judiciously
Tables are difficult to use on screen readers and mobile devices and should therefore be used judiciously only in situations where it is not possible or reasonable to present the information in any other way.
Add a title
Give the table a title. Also use row and column headings. Learn's "create table" feature allows you to give the table a title, and selecting "Both" from the "Titles" option in the table settings will turn the cells in the top row of the table and the first cell in each row into title cells. Use these cells to enter the titles of the rows and columns of the table.
- Avoid combining cells
It is also a good idea to avoid empty rows and cells.
- Check the table with the accessibility checker - button
The Accessibility checker button can also check for accessibility problems with tables.
- Add a description to images
When you add a picture, fill in the field "Describe this image for someone who cannot see it". The text will be displayed in the screen reader. If the image is a decoration, you can use the "This image is decorative only" option. In this case, the screen reader can ignore the image.
- Add a text alternative to images
When an image shows a diagram or contains other essential information that needs further explanation, a text alternative must be created to show the information contained in the image. The textual equivalent can be linked to the image, for example by linking a broader description in the same context as the image, or by stating under what heading on the same page the broader description can be found.
Add subtitles or text alternative to videos
If the video is used for a long period of time, i.e. you use the same video for several years or with different groups, the video must have subtitles or the course platform must provide a text alternative to the video.
You can add a text alternative to the video in the same way as you would to the images, i.e. by linking the text alternative to the video or by telling under which title the text alternative can be found on the course platform.
Subtitling of videos can be done for example using Xamk's Panopto video service or using an external video service such as Youtube.
- Check the accessibility of Word and Powerpoint files
Microsoft Office programs include a tool to check the accessibility of documents. The Check Accessibility button can be found on the Review tab or in the File menu, under the "Check for Issues" button in the Info section.
Third party content and services
When using third-party learning materials or digital services such as YouTube videos, podcasts, articles or digital tools, it is recommended to assess the accessibility of these in the same way as the accessibility of the content produced. Content produced by a third party is not directly covered by the law, but when using third party services, it is always a good idea to review the accessibility of the service or content and check whether the service provider has an accessibility statement or other accessibility documentation.
more information on accessibility online
Information about accessibility in Moodle
General information on accessibility and accessibility requirements.