Modeling best practice online: resources to support Digital Access

Mike Ribble in his Nine themes of Digital Citizenship places Digital Access in his number one spot. For him, the web is for everyone and he urges us to ensure our participation and innovation works for every user.

So knowing who “everyone” is might be a really good place to begin.

A little insight into “everyone” studies might be kicked off by looking at a few statistics. The Google Accessibility team shared this diagram from the World Bank in a recent presentation. The chart shows the number of internet users in a selection of countries – that’s the blue lines.

Internet usage statsAs you might expect, China has the highest usage rates followed by the USA.

However the orange lines show the number of both deaf and hearing impaired, and blind and visually impaired internet users, just in the USA. Together these two lines make up over a quarter of internet users in the USA. To hear the Google Accessibility team talk more about the stats, visit YouTube where you can also access the full transcription.

So although those are stats from 2008, that’s a lot of people who require information to be shared in more than one way.

Developing an understanding of Digital Access

Like Mike Ribble, I am keen to introduce concepts and opportunities to support skill development in the area of Digital Access from kindergarten. Young children are quickly able to select text, change it’s colour and enlarge it from an early age. Those skills are transferrable.

Children could easily be introduced to the Styles and headings functions in a word processing programme such as Microsoft Word at the outset, beginning with always making the title of a piece of written text, heading 1.

So how do we find out about the different things we need to consider to make our web more user friendly and to increase our confidence in opening up learning opportunities in this area?

Resources to support Digital Access

There are some great beginner resources on hand to get us started. Here are some of my favourites, plus some links to other pages on Passonable that you might find useful.

Tech Ease websiteMy most favourite site is Luis Perez’ Tech Ease website. It is a stunning resource with specific information for Mac and Windows users, some really informative sections on classroom management.