The Guidelines for Accessible Information are an open educational resource (OER) to support the creation of accessible information in general and for learning in particular. These Guidelines do not aim to contain all available information on accessibility or cover every aspect of the field, but to summarise and link to existing and useful resources which can be helpful for non-information and communications technologies (ICT) experts.
One of the most important issues in making text accessible is its structure and the ability to navigate it (navigability). ‘Text structure’ usually refers to whether the paragraphs are in the right order for the user to follow, making it easier to read. When it comes to text accessibility, structure has a slightly different meaning: it refers to what makes it easy to navigate around that text.
Images can help to convey meaning. In order for images to be useful for all, the visual input must also be presented using an additional description of the information. Images could be photographs, drawings or diagrams.
An audio version of information can be beneficial for a larger group of users, who cannot access information which is purely shared through visual channels. In order for audio to be accessible to all, it needs to be shared in combination with another type of information, such as text, or replaced by a sign language video..
Users who cannot access visual media channels need an audio description of what can be seen. Users who cannot access audio media channels need closed captions about the dialogues and all important audio information. Users who do not understand the language being used in the video need subtitles of the dialogues. Scripts about the video are required for users who cannot access visual or audio media channels
The electronic document is one of the most common mixtures of the types of information. Electronic documents allow authors to embed pictures, tables and videos, for example. Information in electronic documents can be delivered in text documents – such as Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, presentations or slideshows – or in audio format – such as MP3 or analogue tape.
Online resources, such as web pages, databases and online platforms, are also likely to include all types of information – text, images, audio and video. There are many resources to help making online resources accessible and however, there are international standards which are widely recognised and adopted.
Although printed documents are difficult to access for many users with print disability, the continued usage of printed documents in general – and especially in learning environments – will continue for the foreseeable future.