Online resources have the advantage of being well-suited to screen readers and other accessibility devices. In this project, I will seek out resources for ensuring that my dissertation’s layout and design are inclusive.
General Accessibility Guidelines
I am still in the process of learning about best practices for inclusive design. To this end, I will work with the Web Accessibility Content Initiative’s guidelines page as well as Penn State University’s accessible design resources to refine my chapter drafts to meet standards.
I see this as an ongoing process, as suggested best practices for inclusive design will continue to evolve over the years. This is another advantage of producing a text that I can modify over time. As accessibility recommendations evolve and new web tools emerge, I will be able to update my dissertation’s formatting to incorporate more accessible formats and digital tools. I will detail these alterations in the change-log document I will include in my project’s back matter.
Examples of Basic Inclusive Design Considerations
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 encourage writers to follow the text classification hierarchies common to Word documents and online formatting contexts. (Think “Heading 1,” “Heading 2,” and “paragraph.”) Writers unfamiliar with the way assistive devices work often use these classifier styles to shape their page’s visual presentation, but this affects the order in which people who use screen readers can access this information. WCAG 2.0 recommendations outline some simple text tagging strategies to ensure that screen readers can process text in the correct order.
Any images I include in my dissertation will include descriptive alt text in order to ensure that they are accessible for people who use screen readers.
Complex Images and Videos
Complex images (such as moving .gif files) and videos require descriptions and transcripts (when relevant).
Pressbooks’s preferred plugin for interactive content is H5P, an open-source platform whose creators are committed to ensuring that their plugins meet accessibility standards and disclosing when a particular activity does not yet meet these standards.