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Making UCL Moodle more accessible
Digital Education Advisor
Accessibility, usability and inclusive design
“Accessibility, usability, and inclusive design are closely related. Their
goals, approaches, and guidelines overlap significantly.”
“In practice, basic accessibility is a prerequisite for usability.”
• Project money to improve accessibility of Moodle.
• Focus groups with disabled students and staff.
• Using Adaptable theme as it already solves many of the issues raised.
• Working with Blazie to develop recommendations.
• Coding the focus group data in Nvivo to establish key themes.
• Many of the concerns raised are around general usability that cause
additional problems for those with disabilities.
• Making Moodle more accessible for people with disabilities will
improve usability for all.
There are four broad areas that are covered by a number of disability
• Hearing: Auditory Disability (deafness).
• Vision: Blindness and Visual impairment.
• Cognitive: Cognitive and Neurological Disability (Dyslexia, Autism etc.).
• Motor: Physical Disability.
10 main areas of accessibility concern
• Clutter - difficult to find information amongst irrelevant links and content.
• Emphasis – difficult to understand what is the most important information.
• Layout - page elements are not configurable, there is too much visible at once and the blocks are too wide.
• Navigation and Orientation - long, disorganised pages, with links to external services not being signposted.
• Usability - some interfaces, especially for assessments, are particularly difficult to use.
• Awareness - useful features (skip links) and services (Moodle snapshot) remain unknown.
• Personalisation - a lack of configurable page elements (blocks, fonts, font sizes and colours) or information
about how to do this independently with browser plugins and other assistive technologies.
• Text - Problems reading text that is overly long, too small, in a difficult to read font with poor contrast and
in difficult formats both in Moodle and the resources it contains.
• Consistency - inconsistencies between Moodle courses and conversely some courses not being adequately
distinguishable from others.
• Graphics - heavy reliance of written information that could be expressed more simply with icons and
images, with appropriate alternative text for those using screen readers.
• alter settings such as fonts, colours and css from the site admin interface.
• menus can show only to particular role types (e.g. student/staff).
• full screen mode, which slides into place.
• hide blocks mode, which slides them out of view.
• alerts that appear top of the page (although there's a current bug with
rendering more than one ticker item).
• alert when you ‘turn editing on’ that slides down from the top of the page
to inform editors to being able to drag and drop files.
• supports Dockable blocks.
Digital Education Advisor