WebCT Accessibility Interest Group

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

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Teleconference Information

Date: 2006-09-25

Time: 1:30 PM CDT



1. Organizational stuff
2. Discuss Hadi's findings/questions on Interactive Help in WebCT environment (see below)

comments on Help feature in WebCT Environment:

This is just a quick review about the help feature in WebCT. I found the help structure good. The text is also well-written (as far as I have looked into). I can probably say a lot about the good stuff in the help section but I think WebCT supports at our colleges would have more professional oppinions and can judge better about the structure and the contents of the help.

v     Help link in the main page does not say that it opens in new window. Preferably provide this information in the link text (Help opens in new window). You can also use TITLE attribute to indicate it (Help opens in new window), or use a graphical icon for help and use ALT attribute to provide the this information (Help opens in new window).
v     Help pages have either one heading or no heading. Easy navigation and orientation on help pages is very essential for users with disabilities in particular physically handicapped and blind and visually impaired users. Sometimes users have to go through several pages to get to the desired help topic. The lack of navigation and orientation make the navigation for these types of users extremely time consuming, insufficient, and sometimes impossible. Building navigation and orientation mechanism for help pages are as important as building well-structured help pages. Use H1 for the main help subject, and H2-h6 for minor sections if applicable. Provide also proper headings for Search result section, help controls such as back, forward, and also Search section.
v     The link “Hide/Show Contents Column” does not indicate the status of the Contents Column and this is very confusing for blind and visually impaired users. Provide the necessary mean to clearly show if the Contents Column is in hidden or Show mode. For example, the link could say “Hide Contents Column” inicating that it is in show mode. Do not use one toggle switch with the same link text or ALT or TITLE attributes.
v     Search for Accessibility, blind, and disability do not match any documents. Help information should be provided to users with any roles. Knowing accessibility features built in WebCT is as important as providing users with Teach and Build roles how to create accessible contents. Typical topics for students could be: How to navigate in a page using headers? How to use keyboard to operate on a particular page for example in a quiz or discussion area, etc. Typical topics for instructors and course builders could be: How to create accessible PowerPoint presentation? How to create accessible HTML-based course materials? How to make a audio/video content accessible for blind and visually impaired users? How to make an audio/video content to be played in an external player? Etc.
1.      Based on the WebCT Help Documentation: “Topic content is directed to your current role. For example, if you are enrolled as a Section Instructor in a Biology course and a Student in an English course, you will only see Section Instructor help in your Biology course.”
Doesn’t this feature create problem for those with multiple roles (Build, Teach, student) to see the appropriate help section for the role with lower privilege? For example, can someone with Teach role see the appropriate help section for “Continue with a Quiz”?
2.      In the frame:
Help table of contents containing links that update the help content frame frameHelp contents:          
Getting to Know WebCT          
Using WebCT Features and Tools          
Help table of contents containing links that update the help content frame frame end
Are there graphical icons adjacent to the above links (Getting to Know WebCT, Using WebCTFeatures and Tools) whose ALT attributes are set to NULL?
List Links in Jaws screen reader displays also two lengthy URIs. Is it possible that these two URIs are graphical links to the above links?
3.      How the help for a particular page is retrieved? Does it have to be frame-based?

4.      I cannot use Firefox to open the help link from MyWebCT page using jaws screen reader. Does anyone know how to go around it? It opens when the screen reader is not running.

Teleconference info:
Date: Monday September 25 2006
Date: 1:30 Pm CDT
Phone: 217 265-6999


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