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Accessible LATTE Content
General LATTE formatting tips:
- Be careful when formatting text. If you post a lot of text to the main page of your LATTE course, try to avoid changing fonts, text size, or other features unless that change is necessary. Screen readers often rely on these changes and treat changes in formatting as the beginning of new sections. Further, for all readers, multiple formatting changes can be jarring and difficult to process.
- Always add a period (or another punctuation mark) at the end of a line (including headers). Screen readers are trained to pause for punctuation, but not for carriage returns.
- Use heading tags (either by using the H1. . . H6 tags in HTML, or using the Heading option from the formatting bar in the rich text editor) to separate large blocks of text. Screen readers know that these represent new sections, and ths makes navigating your page easier. It also improves the usability and readability of your page for all users.
- Avoid copying & pasting content from other programs. This is a particular problem with text pasted from other web sites and from programs like Microsoft Word. When you cut and paste text from these sources, you not only paste the visible contents, but also dozens (sometimes hundreds) of lines of invisible formatting code. When you use a "rich text" interface (like the default editor in Firefox or Internet Explorer), these lines of code are treated as formatting commands, and can wreak all kinds of havoc on your page. Most users will see text out of place, or highlighted in strange colors, but users with screen readers might also get their text out of order, or even missing chunks of it.
- To avoid this problem, you can do one of the following: A) Type your content directly into LATTE, B) create your content in a program like Textedit that doesn't use formatting text, or C) only copy content into the Text Mode
- If you are going to change the background or text colors in any part of your LATTE course, remember that color vision deficiencies can affect interpretation of red, green, and yellow. Test the contrast of your page by printing it on a black and white printer. If you are using color to provide information, there should always be an alternate way to provide this information (via a caption or other text).
- Avoid hyperlinks that say things like "click here"; the linking text should always provide some useful context. The Humanising Technology Blog provides a good primer on writing good link text.
Working with images:
- If you post images to your LATTE course, always use a descriptive alt tag. If you're using the "Insert Image" option on the HTML editor in LATTE, simply enter a description of the image in the field marked "Alternate text." Adding a good description here ensures that users with vision issues (or mobile users who might have images turned off) will still get the information that's being conveyed.
- If an image conveys complex information, such as a graph, use a brief ALT tag and link the image to a longer page with an extended explanation using the longdesc tag: <IMG SRC="graph.gif" ALT="graph of donations by donor type" LONGDESC=http://www.website.com/donationsgraph.txt title="graph of donations by donor type">
- If an image conveys no functional information at all (it's uses solely to help space out other images, for example), leave the alt tag blank.
- Likewise, if an image already has a caption in text above or below it, an alt-tag is redundant, and clutters screen readers.