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    The Premier AT Conference

Solving Accessibility Problems in Virtual Lab Environments

Date & Time
Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 11:20 AM PST  
Location
Orange County 1/2  
Description
In 2018 a collaborative team of content experts, educators, accessibility experts, and software developers began a project to build a web-based environment for chemistry and biology lab simulations. Macmillan Learning and its partners incorporated accessibility principles and approaches into the development from the beginning to ensure all students can utilize the tool and complete virtual experiments. The first version of the software was released in 2020, and has been used in high school and higher education courses to familiarize learners with a lab environment, lab procedures, tools, experiments, and outcomes. Continued development has aimed to expand the content and improve the user experience and accessibility of the software, with version 2.0 going live in the fall of 22. We will examine challenges in making a highly visual and dynamic web environment accessible, and demonstrate solutions that were employed. We will focus on specific accessibility features and enhancements that have been added over the past two years, including enhancements to “drag and drop” functionality and the dissemination of color information to users in situations where dynamic color changes are possible . We will also address methods used to communicate the existence and extent of accessibility features to potential users, and challenges that arise when they assume this type of software is inaccessible.  
Audience
  • Higher Education
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • K-12 Education
  • Media & Publishing
Audience Level
Intermediate  
Session Summary (Abstract)
We examine challenges and solutions to making a highly visual and dynamic web app accessible. Topics include building accessible “drag and drop” functionality, providing color information beyond the pixels, and communicating with a skeptical audience.  
Primary Topic
Education  
Secondary Topics
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Product Demonstration
 
Session Type
General Track  

Presenters

  • Crista Earl
    Tech for All
  • Dustin Politica
    MacMillan Learning

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