Making ClipFlair Activities Accessible
The purpose of this post is to make suggestions
for teachers to make sure the content they include in ClipFlair activities is
accessible to the whole learning community, including students with disabilities. The post has been written by Emmanouela Patiniotaki, Teaching Fellow at University College London. Emmanouela is interested
in Accessibility, especially in Online Education, combining the fields of
Audiovisual Translation and Assistive Technologies. She has been working as a
language specialist and teacher of English and Greek since 2004.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international group whose
main aim is to develop protocols and guidelines for the best functionality of
the Web. These guidelines involve the Web
for All design principle that is largely based on the Web
Accessibility Initiative (WAI). While the latest step in making web content and applications more
accessible to people with disabilities has already began to claim its place
through the lately published Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
1.0 (2014) in a form of recommendation by the W3C, there are various ways to
turn existing learning tools and platforms into useful accessible learning
contexts by making learning content accessible.
According to the Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (2008), web content should satisfy four main criteria,
presented with focus on aspects that can be managed by language teachers:
1. It has to be perceivable through the provision of text alternatives for any
non-text content (e.g. images) so that it can take various forms to cater for
several needs. Time-based media need to be provided with alternatives (i.e.
transcripts, captions, audio description). Content should also be available in
simpler layouts while retaining its structure. The context should be
distinguishable (including choice of colours).
2. It needs to be operable, meaning that users can handle it through their keyboards,
they are given enough time to read and use the content, content has to be
designed in a way that does not cause seizures and help must be provided for
users in terms of navigation, content management and location of items.
3. Content needs to be understandable, i.e. given in simple language that can be
understood by every user. Also it needs to be provided with consistency and
instructions must be provided whenever user input is required.
4. It has to be robust so that it can be reliably interpreted by a variety of user
agents, including assistive technologies (names, roles and values can be
programmatically determined for all user interface components).
ClipFlair activity interface
In order to make suggestions to teachers so as
to consider accessibility of the content they include in ClipFlair activities,
the following tests were performed:
contrast on existing templates.
size on existing activities.
information for non-text elements.
for the use of each element and language.
How can the
above be incorporated in your activities?
As teachers, the extent to which you can make
online content accessible can sometimes be restricted. However, there are
always alternatives for online content management and combined to the various
options included in the design of the ClipFlair platform, with a little
imagination, you can make your classes fully accessible!
You might be teaching in a class with students
with sensory impairments or limited physical abilities. In order to help your
students access your activities at the same level as all students, you need to
be prepared to do the following:
1. Export all
the material included in the activity so that is readable and manageable
through reading devices and with the use of a keyboard.
provide an editable file (e.g. Word
file) with a link to the video. Be careful! The link should lead to an
accessible website where users are able to manage start and pause actions of
the video player included. You can select to export any other content you
include in your activities simply by saving as .txt. You can then copy and paste the content of each component to
the same editable file. Remember that you can directly print the content, which is a very useful function in case you have
the right equipment for embossed printing. You can also use a text-to-Braille
translator and provide documents directly in Braille.
Be very careful to include distinctive headings for each component
and make sure you add all the necessary links to online content (usually the
ClipFlair website for instructions and more information). You can use freeware
for screen-reading in class, like Chrome Vox, in order to read the ClipFlair
2. Make sure you select activities that
keep all students included and trained at
the same level. In the case of sensory impairments, ClipFlair can act as an
ideal tool for the creation of accessible
audiovisual content. While your students work on subtitling and revoicing
activities, you can create parallel activities whereby your prototypes
can act as alternatives and do your best to incorporate universal design
principles when designing activities. (For more information on Universal
Design for Learning, see here goo.gl/Qnl1ts).
make sure you provide sufficient information
and guidance about how each
component should be used and what is the aim of each action within ClipFlair.
3. Make your components big enough when
you prepare your activities. The text has to be clear and visible.
Remember you can configure the settings
for each components, where you can configure the zoom of the component, as well
as its opacity.
the settings, you can also change the colour
of each component. Remember that this is a very important setting. You can use
the free WebAIM tool to check colour contrast for each of your components
(available here: goo.gl/qokJZ).
you include images in your
activities, make sure that the heading of each image describes it sufficiently.
When downloading the image to include it in the editable file, make sure this
description is also available, either as a label
or as an alternative text. When you
load your clip, avoid selecting the auto playing option.
These guidelines do not only apply to language
learning activities. Based on the above, you can use ClipFlair as a means to
provide accessible audiovisual material for various types of learning
activities, enhancing participation of all learners. In this context, the
platform can be used as an accessibility tool since it has been designed with
Audiovisual Translation principles in mind, allowing for accurate recording and
subtitling for such purposes.
The flexibility of its user interface, can turn
ClipFlair into a multipurpose learning tool. While subtitling and revoicing
have often been discussed for their usefulness in education, the idea of a
centralized learning environment that can accommodate video, audio and text,
can set the grounds for creative classroom organization.
Why not use the video option to upload your
online course tutorial or your power-point presentation, add subtitles to make
it more accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing students or translations
through subtitling or revoicing for accessibility in various languages? How
about improving writing skills on an intralingual basis? There are so many
options in education and with such a powerful platform, they seem unlimited
when imagination is there.
& Cooper, M. (eds.) (On behalf of W3C). 2014. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0. [Available
B., Cooper, M., Guarino Reid, L., Vanderheiden, G. (eds.) (On behalf of W3C).
2008. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. [Available at: www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/.]