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MOERMI: Accessibility

A guide to the Morgan Open Education Resource Mentoring Initiative project for Geospatial Technologies, funded by the Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative.

About Accessibility

Primary Decision Maker : Karen Rubinstein

As part of the funding requirements, all materials generated by this project will be compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAGs are produced by the Web Accessibility Initiative and are designed to ensure that materials are accessible to those with sensory or other physical impairments.  By adopting and incorporating these guidelines into to the design of course materials, faculty can be sure that all learners will benefit from their resources.

WCAG area very extensive and not all recommendations are relevant to GIS learning modules.  See below for the most relevant componets fo WCAG and how they are responsive to GIS leanring modules.

To see more about the WCAG please visit the Web Accessibility Initiative website HERE.



WCAG are grouped into four categories:

These guidelines were developed in the context of internet-based applications like web-pages, but are extensible to other online media.  As a result of their internet antecedents, not all components are directly responsive to the development of resources in this program. 

Perceivable Guidelines

These guidelines enable utilization of resources and materials created in this program by extending the ways in which students and others can perceive information in the modules.

  • Non-text Content:  Provide text alternatives to non-text elements like images, and access points, that can be correctly interpreted and effectively communicated by assistive technologies,
  • Audio and Video media: providing text transcripts, subtitles, or sign language interpretation of spoken media,
  • Use of Color:  Providing text alternative sot information indicated by color.  This is especially relevant to GIS where information is visualized and differentiated by color,
  • Audio Control :  Audio that plays for more than 3 seconds can be paused or turned off,
  • Contrast :  Text and images have a minimum contrast ration of  4.5:1,
  • Text Scaling : Text can be scaled up without loss of resolution.

Operable Guidelines

These guidelines ensure that all user interface and navigation components are operable through multiple input devices and functionality for managing animations is available

  • Keyboard  :  All functionality of the content is operable through the keyboard,
  • Keyboard traps : Elements in the resource that can be navigated to using a keyboard can be navigated away from as well,
  • Blinking Animations : No media should blink more than thrice a second to prevent seizures,
  • Other Animations : Animations can be disabled,
  • Page and Other Titles :  Resources should be titled in a way that accurately alludes to the purpose,
  • Navigation :  Resources should be ordered in a way that facilitates logical order,
  • Navigation Links :  Navigation links should be annotated with test to indicate their destination and purpose.

Understandable Guidelines

These guidelines ensure that content is understandable to users.

  • Language : Language can be determined by computer,
  • Unusual Words : Understanding uncommon, technical or other unusual words and phrases can be facilitated by some mechanism,
  • Abbreviations : Expanding or otherwise identifying mechanisms can be facilitated by some mechanism,
  • Reading Level : Reading level should be appropriate to the intended readership,
  • Change on Request : Content is not automatically updated while the resource in in use.

Robust Guidelines

These guidelines  are more responsive to web-based applications and enable the adequate communication of messages for script-based elements to users through assistive technology.

  • Parsing : If any markup languages like XML then elements are properly nested and annotated
  • Element Naming :  If any script-based elements are used they are properly formatted and can be interpreted by a computer
  • Status Messages : Any error or other message indicated that the function of a script-based element is limited or non-functioning then assistive technology will be able to properly interpret the message and communicate it.
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