When you think about accessible e-learning—specifically visual accessibility—you might picture learners who are navigating your course with the help of a screen reader. While that is the case for many visually impaired people, “visual impairment” encompasses dyslexia, color-blindness, low vision (defined as 20/70 or worse visual acuity), blindness (defined as 20/200 or worse visual acuity), and more. So really, your e-learning needs to work well for everyone on this broad spectrum, from those who are totally reliant on screen readers to sighted folks who just need a little help reading on-screen text.
That’s why we recently released features like the accessible course player, modern player zoom (available now), and accessible text (coming soon). All of these features work together to give your learners more control over their learning experience. Let’s take a look at modern player zoom and accessible text.
Modern Player Zoom
The modern course player in Storyline 360 is designed to be responsive, so slide content always scales to fill the available space in your browser. Since its release, we’ve continuously enhanced the modern player to support a broader array of screen readers, and we’ve also made improvements to modernize the experience of navigating courses with screen readers.
However, for low-vision learners without screen readers, making slide text more legible was a bit of a mixed bag. When viewing courses published with the modern player on mobile devices, your learners have always been able to pinch-to-zoom to enlarge slide text, but on desktop browsers, the zoom controls enlarged only the player frame, not the slide content.
That’s why we’ve been busy creating the new modern player zoom feature. Now, with modern player zoom, learners can toggle off/on the default zoom behavior for Storyline 360 courses published with the modern player style. In their desktop browsers, learners simply press the letter “z” on their keyboard to switch to the modern player zoom. Once they’ve pressed “z,” the slide content no longer scales to fit the available space in the browser. Instead, slide content reverses to the slide size that you defined in Storyline 360 (e.g., 720 x 540). This means learners can use their desktop browser’s zoom controls to make the player frame AND the slide content appear bigger. When they’re done, they can toggle back by hitting “z” on their keyboard again.
And the best part of all: to make sure your learners can take advantage of modern player zoom, just publish your course using the modern player and Storyline 360 takes care of the rest.
Want to see modern player zoom in action? Check out the animated .GIF below.
Making text larger with the new modern player zoom feature is a nice win for low-vision learners, but we realize there’s more to the readability of text than just its size. Things like spacing, font, and color can have a huge impact on the legibility of text for learners who are low vision AND for learners with reading or cognitive disabilities. That’s why we’re also giving you accessible text.
Soon, with the accessible text feature, your learners will be able to press “t” to toggle to an accessible text mode in a published course. When they’re in the accessible text mode, they can use common browser extensions like AlphaText for Chrome to control fonts, spacing, colors, and more.
The accessible text mode gives learners with accessibility needs more control over the appearance of text in your published courses. For example, they’ll be able to change foreground and background colors to increase contrast, and they’ll be able to change the body text to a san-serif font that’s easier to read.
But the best part of all is that modern player zoom and accessible text can be used together. That means your learners will be able to control the appearance of text with accessible text and then use the modern player zoom feature to enlarge that text and make it even easier to read.
Accessibility is about more than just creating courses that work with screen readers. It’s about creating more inclusive learning experiences that work for everyone. We’re committed to delivering more features like these to help you create those inclusive learning experiences.
To learn more about the features we’re working on, check out our Storyline 360 product road map.
Want to learn more about accessibility and why it’s important for e-learning? Check out our comprehensive series of articles, All About Accessibility.
Want to try something you’ve seen here, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 60-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments, or pop into the Building Better courses forum.