Whether you’re performing quality checks for all the courses in your organization, or if you just want to confirm that the courses you develop meet the required standards, a checklist is a great way to ensure that you’ve done everything you can to guarantee accessible e-learning. Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Read on as we answer the “as heard in training” question: “How do I create an accessibility checklist?“
If you’re tasked with creating an accessibility checklist, it can seem pretty overwhelming! But I promise it can be done, and it’s easier than you think! In fact, it can be chunked into six specific components:
If this brings back memories of problem-solving exercises from your elementary school days (think the 5 Ws and H framework), then my job is done! Though we’ve changed up the order, the approach is the same. So, let’s break down these steps…starting with “Why?”
Why Do I Need an Accessibility Checklist?
In addition to “because making your learning as inclusive as possible is the right thing to do,” you may be asked to create the checklist to make sure you’re meeting specific standards required by law, funding requirements, or your organization. Most commonly, the guiding standards will be the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, which are the globally accepted standards for web-based accessibility.
Tip: You may also hear the term “508 Compliance.” This refers to Section 508 of the United States’ Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is all about electronic and information technology. In 2018, 508 was updated, and WCAG Level AA became the standard, which is why you may hear those terms interchangeably.
Where Will I Apply These Accessibility Standards?
The most common application for applying accessibility standards is within the e-learning course itself. However, you’ll also want to apply these standards to any downloadable resources in your course.
Who Will Be Using the Checklist?
If you’re a one-person e-learning shop, you might be making a checklist for yourself! Or, you may be putting it together for an entire development team. In either case, make sure the language and references you use are understood by those who’ll be using the checklist.
Your checklist could also be used to educate others outside the development process by providing a quick overview of what you’ve done to ensure accessibility, in case customers, management, or QA/QC teams need that information.
What Should I Include?
When considering what to include, it’s a good idea to start by reviewing existing checklists so you don’t have to start from scratch. For example, you can leverage the Accessible E-Learning Checklist from Articulate.
Be sure to add as many details as possible, especially if the audience is unfamiliar with accessibility. This may include:
- screenshots of the software interface
- sample files demonstrating techniques
- hyperlinks to tutorials, user guides, or other helpful resources
- specific considerations for different tools, such as Articulate Storyline 360 or Rise 360
Here is an example of Yukon Learning’s accessibility process document, which uses hyperlinks to reference training videos, accessibility tools, sample files, knowledge base articles, and more.
How Should I Organize the Information?
We initially created our internal checklists while actively developing courses, paying special attention to the order in which the various components were addressed. Within our development process, it tends to be:
- Master Slides
- Slide Level
- Focus Order
- Other considerations
Note: Your process may differ, so keep in mind that there’s never any one way to do things!
Once the order is determined, simply organize the checklist to follow that same workflow.
Finally, be sure to document the steps you take while testing, including the tools and resources you used. This could include a color contrast checker and screen reader, for example.
When Will I Need to Update the Checklist?
As with most technology-based efforts, this checklist isn’t a one-and-done undertaking.
Usually, you’ll want to update the checklist when:
- You’ve learned more.
- You’ve discovered more efficient or reliable methods.
- The software has been updated to include new accessibility features.
- Accessibility standards have been updated.
Note: Expect Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to be updated from WCAG 2.1 to WCAG 2.2 within the next year or so.
Want More on This Topic?
Using a method like the 5 Ws and H framework can simplify the things you need to think about when making your own checklist. Do you have an accessibility checklist that you use? Are there any other items or considerations you keep in mind? If so, please leave a comment or let us know! We’d love to hear from you!
To learn more about making your e-learning projects more accessible:
- Come join us at one of our Virtual Creating Accessible E-Learning in Articulate 360 training sessions. We’ll provide you with everything you need to begin building accessible e-learning courses in Storyline 360 and Rise 360.
- You can also consult Articulate 360 Training On Demand and sign up for Upcoming Webinars related to creating more inclusive e-learning projects.
In addition, check out the following posts from Articulate and The Articulate Trainer blog for more about accessible e-learning:
Happy accessible development!