Accessibility improvements in Moodle and Mahara
"Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can: perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web; contribute to the WebMoodle and Mahara are consistently improving the accessibility of their platforms." ((WAI), 2019)
In this latest release, Mahara have increased the base font size. They have made the viewing area of a page wider, removing information overload and maintain responsiveness.
Mahara also corrected the heading levels so they now follow stricter rules. In the visual editor, you now only have three headings available (level 5 and above) that comply with the heading level structure more closely to allow screen readers to be working correctly.
Previous versions accessible features
- Keyboard-accessible controls and elements, including access to dropdown menus in the main navigation.
- Descriptive alt text for images and for graphical links.
- Properly labelled graphical links and controls such as buttons and checkboxes.
- Use of focus management: in certain pages, focus is moved to the next logical section after the user has activated a specific button or link. This enables users of assistive technology to quickly determine their location in the page and their next step.
- Text descriptions for screen reader users (extual indicator informing screen reader users about the currently selected tab).
You can find out more on the Accessibility page on the Mahara wiki: https://wiki.mahara.org/wiki/Accessibility
Moodle's goal is to be fully accessible and usable for all users regardless of ability.
The Moodle interface is presented as a HTML application developed to comply with the WCAG AA standard for accessibility, either through native HTML controls with correct accessible text descriptions, or through advanced HTML controls that have been developed to comply with the WCAG 2.0 AA.
Example of controls to support accessibility features:
- Use CSS for range of use of colours, font size and types
- Alternative text for images
- Navigate pages using only a keyboard
- Interface promotes use of descriptive links
- Accessibility Checker in the Atto text editor. This scans your content and alerts you to a range of accessibility issues that may be found within the text.
You can read more about Moodle’s accesibility compliance: https://moodle.com/news/moodle-wcag-2-1-aa-accessibility-compliance
You can review Moodle’s latest accessibility accreditation certificate on WebKeyIT: https://www.webkeyit.com/accessibility-services/accessibility-accreditations/moodle
With both Moodle and Mahara, the developers can only test built-in pages and the basic structure of courses and portfolio pages. It is up to the users to ensure the content they upload is accessible.
- The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provide strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities, including these Accessibility Principles: http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/principles.html
- Home Office Digital, D. (2020). Designing for accessibility. Retrieved 15 December 2020, from https://ukhomeoffice.github.io/accessibility-posters
- (WAI), W. (2019). Introduction to Web Accessibility. Retrieved 15 December 2020, from https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro
A small gift for your Moodle and Mahara for December the 17th, brought to you by Aurelie Soulier from Catalyst IT Europe.