Memo for open source online educational content contributors


To: Contributors to open source education


From: Salie Davis, open source designer for online education


Subject: Accessibility Design


Accessibility goes beyond disability; I prefer to interpret it as being based on ability. I say this because everyone has a different level of ability. When designing open source content you may not have the time or resources to design for all levels of ability possible, however designing for as much flexibility in the content plan to accommodate the widest range of abilities is good design planning.

Not all users of open source educational resources will publicly identify with having a disability, hence you may hear the terms “invisible disabilities” and “visible disabilities”.  Especially with online open source education, you may never “see” the user of the content or even have the opportunity to interact on a personal level with the content consumer. We cannot assume what will work and what will not work for any given ability based on our own presumptions by what we observe.

The best alternative that I see is to offer design choices that the student and/ or consumer of open source educational modules can adopt independently. Allow them to choose font type, contrast, color, sound options, volume, closed caption options, etc.  Although many personal computers have these functions available, designing the educational platform so that they work in conjunction with and do not interfere with these personal choices is a first and essential step.

Please educate yourself using the resource below.

Thank you,

Salie Davis


Accessibility Matters, MOOC


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