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Top 10 Strategies for Universal Design with Multimedia

The first step to being inclusive is to recognizing that people learn and access material differently. Universal Design is the framework to reduce barriers and help maximize the learning of all.

Multimedia instructional materials can add richness to the higher education learning experience, or be a barrier. Videos, podcasts and animations are popular with many students, who find them to be an engaging supplement to traditional lectures. These tips deal with accessible use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way. Universal Design is not about limiting design but providing multiple methods of access or delivery.

1.  Ensure all videos have captions.

2.  Save everything in multiple formats (.rtf, .doc.)

3.  Use sharp contrasting colors, avoid things that flash.

4.   When using PDFs, save as text, not images.

5.  Use Sans Serif fonts, or real fonts. (Arial, Tahoma, comic sans, gill sans)

6. Use the “Styles” and “Formatting” features for headings, fonts, footnotes, etc.; do NOT use the toolbar buttons.

7.  Ensure slide presentations have all relevant material typed as text.

8. Use the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Word & Adobe programs to identify and repair accessibility issues. To use the tool in Word, select File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility. In Adobe, select Edit> Accessibility > Setup Assistant.

9.  Ensure all images have alt. tags. When you hold your mouse over an image, a small white box with text appears; this is the alt tag, the only information available to low vision and blind students who cannot see the image.

10. Have full descriptions of all links and all links are to web pages that are accessible. Quick check for accessibility on a web page is to check for alt. tags and check if possible to tab through the pages or forms without using a mouse.


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