Brief: To produce a gold standard course to teach BBC developers how to ensure their code is as accessible as possible. To work with Kent Lyons, a web-design agency rather than an e-learning one.
Multiplatform Producer, BBC Academy, August 2012 – December 2012
- Developed further the one-size fits all accessible approach for the BBC Academy first seen in Fair Trading – moving course design further towards a web-based approach.
- Worked with SMEs on course design and structure.
- Designed re-useable HTML templates with Kent Lyons.
- Produced all videos.
User centred design
The look and feel of this course is very different to other online courses I produced. And this wasn’t my choice, to have it this plain. With courses such as Fair Trading, visuals were incredibly important – the target audience were production people like me who tend to think in pictures. So a highly visual look and feel was appropriate there.
However, this course is Web Accessibility for Developers. An expert review with paper print outs of designs similar to the final version above tested the best. I thought it needed some more work – it felt very plain to me. But they loved its clean feel. The general consensus was any more styling would be distracting.
In the top right hand corner, there is a Course Contents button. When this is selected, the site map drops down.
This lists all the pages of the course. Each page is an HTML link so the user can easily navigate wherever they wish – making this a valuable instant access resource as well as a course. This also acts as a map showing the user where they have been and what they still have to do.
In the left hand corner, is the key. Page names change from grey and white once they have been visited and because you can’t just show a change in state in colour because of accessibility, there is a dot next to each visited section and a green tick once a module has been completed.
The courses on Academy Gateway which is the front end of our Learning Management System (LMS), all sit inside an iframe. The Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) weren’t happy about the iframe – if this course was supposed to be about best accessible standards, we couldn’t use one. An iframe behaves like a page within a page. That means a screen reader like JAWS (Job Access With Speech) can’t interpret the contents of the whole page. This is very confusing for a visually impaired person trying to follow the structure of the contents. So the iframe had to go.
One thing which came out very clearly from speaking to developers was the desire to hear from people about how their disabilities affect their access to the internet.
We had four contributors who appeared throughout the course covering key disabilities blindness, deafness, colour blind and mobility all giving key insights into how their disabilities affect their access to the web.
Feedback from the developers has been very positive. Comments have included:
“It would be rude to mention web accessibility training without saying
this rather excellent web accessibility course is also available at (link to internal site)”