Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Accessibility, education and web standards

The Canberra Web Standards Group was a speaker short for their meeting today at Geoscience Australia. So I prepared a quick talk on "Online Education With Web Standards, Tablets, eBooks and Smart phones". In this I suggested that web standards form a good basis for online education, with tools such as Moodle. Also I pointed out that the IMS e-learning format used by Moodle is very similar to e-book formats, allowing content to be easily converted for use on Kindles and iPads.

Roger Hudson preceded this with an excellent presentation on "Web accessibility and the elderly". He presented research results which show that most people do not know how to adjust the size of the font on a web browsers, do not know what the "accessibility" link is for and do not know what the text re-size buttons are for. He suggested we might be able to have a way the system could detect the user is having trouble with accessibility and automatically adjust the interface.

Roger mentioned that the elderly do not like smart phones, as they tend not to have keyboards with big buttons. This suggests to me a way to keep both the old and young happy with one web design: use small amounts of big text and a few bold graphics. Then tell the elderly this is big and bold for them to be able to read easily, but tell young people that this is designed for their small screen smart phones and tablet computers. ;-)

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