Whether we’re helping schools go digital with eTexts or providing discounts on software for students, we believe in alleviating barriers to education. That’s why accessibility in education technology is so important to us – everything we make for future classrooms must support all learners to truly further our goal.
Developing our digital textbook platform Texidium and attending conferences such as the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference has grown our knowledge base on accessibility best practices. We strive to keep learning so our contribution to education technology not only meets accessibility standards, but builds on them as well. Here are three of our takeaways for accessible edtech.
Going Digital Means Greater Accessibility Features
With eTexts, readers can increase and decrease their font size to suit their visibility needs. We designed Texidium to be reflowable, meaning column width adapts to a person’s chosen text size. This way, a reader won’t have to spend time scrolling left and right on zoomed-in text as they would on a PDF. Scanning a textbook is easy – enabling readers to transform their eTexts is empowering.
Design Accessibility Features in Context
Mobile devices must have simplified features in order for everyone to carry out the same actions on-the-go as they enjoy at home. This is especially key to enhancing education technology for a range of motor skills. Texidium’s mobile apps for iOs and Android allow readers to take notes through their voice. Highlighting a given chunk of text gives readers a pop-up microphone button that allows them to sound off what they want to save and where they want to save it for easy reference later.
Accessibility Features Must Be Universal
eTexts can support read-aloud functionality with varying speeds for readers’ varying abilities. We took this one step further with Texidium by also allowing readers accessing EPUB-format eTexts to change our built-in read-aloud voice to different accents. Having a roster of multinational read-loud voices gives greater clarity to multinational readers across eTexts with different languages. Making accessibility universal is about adapting to people’s needs, not expecting people to adapt to a singular feature.