I have started a secondment with a disability charity who wish to to develop some of their own elearning. As a disability charity they want to ensure that any elearning they create is fully accessible which means users with mobility problems can use a keyboard to navigate, those with impaired sight can use a screenreader etc

I have previously done elearning design and development using Toolbook, Articulate, Captivate and a little bit of Lectora but have never made it fully accessible. Articulate would be the obvious choice for the charity to use as it is so simply to learn and they could quickly get some elearning created however it is very difficult to make it accessible and there is currently lots of lobbying of Articulate to try and get them to make the output much more accessible to all.

I am interested if anyone out there on this forum has been involved in recent projects to create accessible elearning and what authoring tools you used and also what were your challenges?

Thanks Sally

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Hi Sally,

When we need to build standards compliant accessible content, we tend to build it by hand - editing the HTML to make sure it is exactly what our clients are wanting.

However, you might want to look at Xerte - an open source content development tool that creates highly accessible Flash content. I've been very impressed with it. However the learning curve can be a bit steep for the initial setup. After that you give your designers the templates you've setup and they just add the content.



Thanks Mark - you are helping confirm what I initially feared that accessibile content might need to be built by hand and that authoring tools might not be sufficient. I did have a quick look at Xerte and was impressed - my concerns were my own technical limitations and that when I leave my current secondment I wanted to make sure I left the charity some tools that were very easy to use. I'll give it a proper try though - get the grey cells working a bit

Thanks Sally

I have just started experimenting with Xerte and, as I only have a little programming experience, have used the templates. I have found them reasonably easy to use although I was restricted in arranging and resizing the images. I uploaded with few problems and asked for comments from my students and friends. Most comments were very positive. Unfortunately one student who responded to me was visually impaired and he could not access much of the information. Researching the Xerte site showeded that it is only accessible to screen readers using IE. He kindly swapped to IE to check it for me and said that he could still not access all of the resource. I am back to the drawing board for looking for resources now!

Hi Carolyn,

It's worth checking this out on the Xerte mailing list. I'm sure they'll be able to help.


thanks - have posted a message

Hi Sally - thought you might also be interested in the JISC Advance Service - TechDis  http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/

They are the leading Advisory service on technologies for inclusion. On their site is a wealth of information and guidance about issues and implementation that cover not only the creation of Learning Object but the wider issues of organisational strategies and responsibilities


Hope this helps - john

Hi Sally,


I wish you all the best with your quest. We've just produced a free whitepaper which your clients might find useful. The guide contains expert tips on planning, writing, designing and implementing e-learning that is accessible to your whole audience.


You can download it here


All the best


Thanks - useful information

Hi Sally


This is on my to do list too. I have found this OU OpenLearn self study unit which may be worth a look.




Best wishes


Thanks - I am going to make some time to have a look through that.

Hello Sally

I'm going to echo the comments about Xerte. It is the only accessible content creation software that allows for tab use, has a site map, uses Text to Speech (within Windows and IE) and encourages the content creator to consider good practice in design. I particularly like the Synch'd Video template allowing you to have a video with stop points and a text descripiton, additional notes, images etc.


But it sounds as if you have downloaded Xerte to the Desktop and are trying to use the templates and coding. Far better is to download the Xerte Online Toolkit and place on a server. My installation works well and you get a more wizard approach to selecting the templates and adding content. So much easier!


There is also a portable version if you want to play before deciding. MAXOS is the package which includes Apache - this needs to be turned on and off correctly in order for Xerte on the stick to run properly. Maxos can be downloaded from http://www.rsc-eastern.ac.uk/Technical/Maxos/Pages/default.aspx


If you would like me to show you the Xerte Online Toolkit interface and give you a quick tutorial please drop me an email.  di@didawson.co.uk

Have sent you an email - thanks for the kind offer Di



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