Learning Design and Accessibility
Accessibility is about addressing specific barriers for people with disability. Usability is about designing to address a wide range of needs and preferences. Improving accessibility often improves usability. Together they create a more inclusive approach that benefits everyone.
There are Accessibility checkers that we can use to enhance the development of accessible and usable learning materials. For example Microsoft's Accessibility Checker exists within the Office suite of applications and works with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. A free downloadable Document Accessibility Toolbar (DAT) is also available at Vision Australia. Most learning management systems also have accessibility checkers. Moodle, for example, has the Atto text editor. Accessibility checkers support the development of accessible teaching and learning resources and materials, and help meet accessibility guidelines such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
There are learning tools and technologies that help learners access and manipulate content in ways that suit their needs and preferences. Some of these tools and technologies are free, and others are for purchase. For example, the Microsoft Learning Tools are a free set of features available in Word, Outlook, OneNote, Excel, Forms and PowerPoint. These tools are based on learning research, are easy to access, and provide scaffolding for learners. There are also a range of Apple Accessibility features, tools and applications that allow you to enhance and personalise the learning experience.