Before we get started
Bloom is now more accessible than ever before in version 2.0, and it is easy to make your Bloom system achieve WCAG AA status, or meet Section 508 standards for all learners. Your Bloom can be set up so that it’s easier to explore for learners using assistive technologies such as screen readers.
We fully support NVDA, VoiceOver and ChromeVox as these are all free, high quality screen reading technologies and we don’t believe that accessibility is something you should have to pay extra for.
Before showing off all of the new accessibility features of our latest update, let’s talk a bit about WCAG and Section 508 standards.
The principles of accessibility as laid out in the WCAG guidelines are easy to understand. Content should be
Translating into plain English in an eLearning context, we get: “I should be able to understand the learning, interact with it and navigate its structure. My course and learning environment should work with assistive technologies by default.”
You can read the WCAG guidelines here: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG/
If you build Section 508 accessible courses in the United States, then this is a legal requirement. Section 508 is an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that requires,
“U.S. Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.”
“Join Hands to Help State Agencies Meet Web Accessibility Standards.” MENA Report, Albawaba (London) Ltd., May 2016, p. N
You can read the Section 508 guidelines here: https://www.section508.gov/refresh-toolkit#AccessibilityRequirements
How accessibility has been implemented into Bloom
Admins have the control to customise the way that screen readers describe various sections and pages by changing Aria Labels across Bloom easily, so you can word them exactly how you like. Aria Labels are what screen readers will use in order to translate text into speech, so it is important that they’re clear, concise and descriptive.
Various images across Bloom will require Alternative text, this is what a screen reader will use to describe an image. Usually after you have uploaded an image you will get the opportunity to add an Alternative text to it.
Learners are now able to traverse all over Bloom using just a keyboard, with intelligent tabbing and shortcuts to the most important content on every page. Using just a keyboard utilises a clever focussing system that makes popup dialogs, interactive features and navigation menus straightforward to use for anybody.
Aria Labels are used extensively across Bloom so that screen readers can accurately describe a feature that may need additional wording to fully be accessible to users with visual impairments.
Using accessible Evolve Courses in Bloom means that you can have a seamlessly accessible experience for any user throughout their learning.
Making my system more accessible
Now that you know how and why Bloom has been made accessible, let’s focus on what you can do to achieve the most accessible Bloom system. Have a read of our next guide, on how you can make your Bloom more accessible.