Happy New Year and welcome to our January issue of the Accessibility Minute Newsletter! This newsletter is produced by the CU Boulder Digital Accessibility Office and covers one accessibility skill or topic per month. Please visit the DAO website for access to all past newsletters. As always, thank you for taking a minute (or two!) to read.
Software Accessibility Summaries
This month's newsletter is the last of a three-part series on software accessibility. If you haven't already, check out parts one and two, “Talking to Vendors about Accessibility” and “Assessing Software for Accessibility.” Part three will cover accessibility summaries of five education technology tools completed by CU Boulder’s Digital Accessibility Office (DAO). Our hope with this newsletter is that you will consider these summaries before implementing any of them into your classroom, department, office, etc.
How does the DAO test software for accessibility and usability?
The Assessment and Usability (AU) team within DAO takes a holistic approach when testing to ensure that individuals can engage with and complete necessary tasks within a given environment rather than solely checking boxes on an accessibility checklist. The team has an in-house testing lab that relies on the experience and testing of individuals with disabilities on one or more platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android) using various assistive technologies.
Testing Project: Commonly Used Digital Engagement Tools
In 2022, the AU team collaborated with and published an article with librarians from the Norlin Library on accessibility and usability testing of tech tools used in emergency remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project included five pieces of software that were thoroughly tested by the AU staff, who then created summaries based on their findings. This month’s newsletter will focus on the accessibility findings and recommendations regarding the utilization of each software. If you are interested in learning more about the accessibility of specific software, you can visit the Accessibility Testing Summaries webpage.
It is important to note that the findings presented in these accessibility summaries are accurate in the context of the IT environment and configuration at the time of testing at CU Boulder. They may not be accurate in other environments or with different versions of the application.
Jamboard Accessibility Summary
Google Jamboard is an online, collaborative whiteboarding tool. It is important to note that the test was conducted on a desktop and not on a mobile browser version as we were consistently pushed to the mobile application when attempting mobile browser interaction. This platform was found to be inaccessible to individuals who utilize assistive technologies (AT) and those who utilize keyboard-only access. We do not recommend utilizing this tool if any students, staff, colleagues, visitors, etc. rely on AT or keyboard-only access.
Kahoot! Accessibility Summary
Kahoot! is a digital tool that engages learners through interactive presentations and games. This platform was found to be relatively accessible to individuals who utilize assistive technologies (AT) and alternative forms of access when using untimed quizzes. We recommend not using timed quizzes because of the complications presented when a timer is implemented. When facilitating a Kahoot! quiz, please follow the recommendations below:
- Announce when a question has been presented.
- Explain the answer type (multiple choice, short answer, etc.) and answer options, if applicable.
- Announce the correct answer for each question.
- Announce when the quiz has ended.
Mentimeter Accessibility Summary
Mentimeter is a tool used for building interactive and dynamic presentations and quizzes. The tool allows users to add questions, polls, quizzes, word clouds, surveys, images, and gifs. It is important to note that the test was done on the free version of the desktop and mobile browser versions. Please follow the link for further testing parameters. This platform was found to be relatively accessible to individuals who utilize assistive technologies (AT) and those who utilize keyboard-only access. When creating in Mentimeter, we recommend following Mentimeter’s accessibility recommendations to ensure everyone can participate.
Padlet Accessibility Summary
Padlet is a digital engagement tool that provides a discussion board where participants can post sticky notes, comments, images, etc. We found the Padlet Wall, Shelf, and Map tools problematic for individuals who utilize assistive technologies (AT) and keyboard access. If you choose to utilize this tool, please follow the recommendations below:
- You may need to audibly read out new content as it appears as it can create confusion and disorientation if everyone is simultaneously contributing.
- When using images, the post's creator should include descriptive text in the post, as there is no way to add alternative text to the image.
- Only post videos that are appropriately captioned.
- Do not use color alone to convey meaning. Posts can be in different colors, but this feature should not be required.
Poll Everywhere Accessibility Summary
Poll Everywhere is an interactive tool that polls participants using multiple-choice, open-ended, clickable, and ranking questions. The platform was found to be relatively accessible to individuals who utilize assistive technologies (AT) and alternative forms of access. However, these findings are conditional based on the question format. If you choose to utilize this tool, please follow the recommendations below:
- Provide alternative text to image-based questions.
- Do not use the clickable question type.
- Participants should use the desktop version instead of the mobile version due to the navigation traps in the mobile platform.
Additional Information and Future Inquiries
Outside of the Commonly Used Digital Engagement Tools Testing Project, the AU team has conducted accessibility and usability tests on numerous other platforms, applications, and pieces of software. If there is a specific tool you wish to utilize in the future or would like to learn more about, the testing team may already have information available for you. If we don’t have information, we’d be happy to test a product for you. Please feel free to contact the team at AUL@Colorado.EDU for additional information.
- Please submit topics you’d like to learn more about using the Newsletter Topic Suggestions form.
- Take a moment to learn more about the DAO testing and testing process at CU Boulder.
DAO Office Hours are now the 4th Tuesday of every month from 1-2 pm MT. Our next office hours will be held on January 24th.
We want to hear from you about any questions or issues you run into while trying out this accessibility practice this month! Please send us your thoughts on this month’s topic. If you have questions, comments, or would like support with accessibility, please contact us at DigitalAccessibility@Colorado.EDU.