The way technology is today, we as educators need to grab a hold of technology and use it to our benefit. In the classroom and among the parents a website is another useful tool for communicating. Teachers have an audience of diverse people and should keep this in mind when publishing a website that follows guidelines which are accessible. When designing a website many factors come into play; accessibility to visual, hearing, speech disabilities, just to name a few. A variety of tools is used to operate a website, consisting of a screen magnifier, Braille display, a keyboard instead of a mouse. The best attribute going for a website is the design because it leads to greater accessibility to other information.
In the article, 5 Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website, by Lind Amundson, she lists the following five steps to follow to open opportunities for a wide variety of diverse users to connect.
Step 1: Organize for Easier Navigation – The use of headers identifying sections and formatted similar to an outline. Horizontal lines and graphics are important. You do not want to have a page too big for the screen or horizontal scrolling. Percent formatting is better than fixed pixel for images and remember those with color blindness have a hard time distinguishing between red and green, so avoid those colors.
Step 2: Navigation without a Mouse – The Tab key is an easy navigator for those with vision problems or someone with a temporary injury like a broken arm. A site without a mouse needs an access key trait in the link code. The access key helps direct a letter key to go to a linked page.
Step 3: Text Explanation for Images – Whatever is not in text format needs to have text around it; for example, pictures, maps, audio. There should be enough information the reader does not question what is missing. A caption is needed in video and sound too. If there is too much text on a page then add an additional text only page and create a link between the two.
Step 4: Using Text that Makes Sense – Use text that describes the link thoroughly. This article suggested using a “title” attribute. If you use the same link text many times on the same page should link each time to the same page.
Step 5: Web Validators – When you are finished designing your web page, web evaluators determine accessibility, writing a report and listing any problems.
After the steps are followed using these criteria; making a step by step design a good resource of communication. The final check is using your website without a mouse, turn sound off, change setting the turn off images, resize window, check website using gray-scale color scheme.
As a teacher, I will use these five steps as a guideline, however, the data is outdated and there is more current information available to create a website useful to the diverse population in my classroom. I believe these fall into the ISTE NETS 3 and 5, which I think will be useful, plus I am excited to get a website up and running.
Until next time,
Until next time,
Amundson, Linda (2009). Five Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website. Learning and Leading With Technology, Volume 37. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/200911?pg=20&pm=2&fs=1#pg18