Inclusive practice

Best of breed accessibility

Accessible and inclusive resources give better experiences for all of your users and reduce the risks for you and your organisation. There is less risk of learners failing - and of any learner being disadvantaged.

Accessibility guidance for users

Accessibility guidance for users

To go straight to the accessibility guidance click accessibility guidance for users or accessibility guidance for authors. Both of these links are also available from the colour changer controls displayed in projects based on the Xerte Online Toolkits template.

Accessibility guidance for authors

Accessibility guidance for authors
Xerte has many accessibility benefits including: previous partnerships with JISC, technical designpedagogical design, an open source community and a mobile friendly output.

Accessibility can be a difficult area for teachers and tutors using technology to make sense of. Providing very high levels of native accessibility has been a priority for Xerte from the beginning.

Recent changes to accessibility legislation are also focusing the minds of those teaching in further and higher education in particular. Xerte continues to be used successfully with learners across the spectrum and high levels of built-in accessibility has been a core feature and focus of Xerte from the outset.

The Xerte project worked closely with the former JISC TechDis service and JISC Regional Support Centres. JISC support directly led to user testing opportunities and on-going accessibility improvements. JISC Regional Support Centres helped organisations as diverse as work based learning, adult learning, specialist colleges and universities use Xerte to create more inclusive learning resources. The Open University was actively involved in testing and accessibility. Xerte subsequently became part of Apereo and has a continuing focus on maintaining and improving the accessibility features and benefits.

Good accessibility and inclusive design will always draw on technical and non-technical considerations. Xerte provides you with the very best-of-breed technical accessibility features and functionality.

Colour changer option with black on yellow selected

  • high level of keyboard accessibility for non-mouse users
  • easy zoom and/or text resize using inbuilt browser options - for example in Internet Explorer use [CTRL +] to zoom or View > Text size >Largest to increase text size without zooming.
  • Inbuilt colour contrast changer in the main XOT template with direct links to accessibility guidance for users and a link from the user guidance to an author accessibility guide.
  • easily changed font options using standard browser settings (colour, type and size) or plugins (for example HighContrast plug in for Google Chrome)
  • compatibility with text to speech tools including browser plugins (eg ChromeSpeakfor GoogleChrome), free and portable tools like OratoBalabolka or DSpeech or commercial tools like ClaroRead, Text Help Read and Write Gold etc.
  • most page types are compatible with screenreader tools and ARIA Landmarks aid screenreader navigation.

When you provide for learners with special needs, everyone benefits. Good accessibility is about providing highly usable content that is flexible to the needs of everyone who uses it.

Multiple perspectives page type showing various images and videos
  • templates and page types allowing rich media use - images, video and audio
  • automatic table of contents. Every page is within two clicks
  • auto-marked interactivities allowing formal and informal self testing with contextualised feedback
  • easy sharing, exporting and repurposing allowing resources to be retained, reused, remixed and repurposed for different user needs and contexts as well as easy redistribution
  • learners can subscribe to RSS feeds and a also syndication feed to get new or updated learning resources
  • the ease of use allows non technical teachers/trainers to move to rich accessible online approaches and allows you to facilitate and support learners as content creators
  • runs on mobile devices and tablets (see below)
  • learning objects can be easily tagged and shared as Open Educational Resources. This makes them easy to discover by teachers or learners. A wider pool of resources makes it easier to meet learner needs.

The community of people looking after The Xerte Project includes prominent experts in accessible and inclusive design who make sure Xerte provides the very best support for accessible content.

Apereo website
If your learners have particular access needs and you have people with the right technical skills you can adapt pages or create new page types or whole templates to suit your learners. Your custom developments can be contributed back and become part of the main build. If you encounter difficulties interacting with an assistive technology you can work with the Xerte community to improve the code and benefits for everyone.

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