I believe that we can use these findings to improve Moodle, and I hope that they are taken as offered, in a spirit of constructive criticism.
From the perspective of folks here, what's a good next step? How can I help get this report to the right people so it can do the most good?
Many thanks for your report on Moodle accessibility. In order for it to do the most good, I suggest that a Moodle Tracker issue is created for each recommendation. In some cases, such as navigation, your recommendation may have already been implemented in Moodle 2.0, however by creating an issue for each recommendation we can ensure that every one is given full consideration and none are forgotten.
Thanks again for your work in helping make Moodle more accessible to users.
Also, it is very, very easy to take this as constructive criticism. That is the way it is written.
Even though you tested a recent version of Moodle, I still regret that you were not able to test the quiz as it is in Moodle 2.0. (The quiz is my main area of interest.) A lot has changed there, hopefully for the better, and so a lot of your suggestions no longer apply. On the other hand, several still do. However, I do understand why focussing on 1.9.5 made sense for your study.
Similarly it would be great to be able to test some of the new navigation stuff in Moodle 2.0. Is there any chance you could do some more testing sometime during the Moodle 2.0 beta period? I guess it would help if we make time to implement some of the recommendations you have already made. If we show your recommendations lead to improvements, then there is more chance you could get funding for more testing in future.
I have to disagree with the position you take that the most accessible option should be the default. I would guess that most blind or partially sited computer users are more computer literate that their fully sited counterparts. If the HTML editor was off by default, the most people would never find the option to turn it on, and that would be a usability problem for many more people.
Instead, I think that when you first come to a Moodle site, there should be a clear 'Accessibility options' link on the page, which should take you to a simple options screen that works even if you are not logged in. If you set options before you register a new account, those settings should automatically be set in the new account as you create it.
Anyway, as Helen says, all your recommendations belong in http://tracker.moodle.org/ so they are there to be worked on.
Once again: Thank you.
I think what I am proposing there does a pretty good job of dealing with the issues MDL-20478, MDL-20479, MDL-20481 and MDL-20482, which come form this report, but I would appreciate some confirmation/discussion from accessibility experts.
Just wanted to throw in my thanks for providing a great report. It raises many good points.
I concur with Tim's comment about the most accessible option not always being the most usable option for other users. Even while reading I was thinking (with developer hat on) accessibility vs usability vs performance. But it has "opened my eyes" to think about how things are coded. Being made aware of a problem is always the first step in coming up with a solution.
I've started MDL-20409 to keep track of progress of it and so we can prioritise, assign and link issues to other work as necessary.
Helen, could you please create the subtasks for us?
I'm a consultant, and my paid work on this is over. That said, it's been very enjoyable and we're trying to do more. I hope that I'll be able to continue contributing.
"Accessible by default" is an important discussion, and there are valid arguments on both sides. Consider one thing, though: with the WYSIWYG control turned off, sighted people can still enter plain text; wIth it turned on, blind people cannot enter text at all.
I think that many of the supposed conflicts between accessibility and usability aren't what they're cracked up to be. Certain things are very difficult (AJAX), but most often (as Shane implies) it's a developer mindset issue.
I've read a lot about Moodle 2.0, including the quiz improvements. I'd love an opportunity to test those.
> I think that many of the supposed conflicts between accessibility and usability aren't what they're cracked up to be.
I totally agree. I've recently dug up an analysis page that is published on the W3C which is an interesting read. One of the papers shows that improving accessibility also has a positive effect on usability. I agree that stuff like AJAX is tricky
My own take on this issue is that accessibility should be always 'on' by default since we don't know who the users are when Moodle is used for the first time. We don't want barriers to be present from the outset.
Tim earlier wrote:
> I would guess that most blind or partially sited computer users are more computer literate that their fully sited counterparts.
I think we need to be very careful when it comes to broad statements about computer literacy. The fact that partially visually impaired users may use additional technology to gain access to information doesn't necessarily mean that they have developed an awareness of the most efficient strategies in which the technology can be used.
I'm sure everyone knows this: assistive technology users have to deal with how the AT works, how the browser and operating systems magic works and learn how individual web apps are designed. AT users have to deal with more 'stuff' that non-AT users which doesn't necessary mean that barriers can be easily perceived and 'turned off'.
Thank you for this report. It's always great to see publicly available reports on tests with real users for Moodle, and other free software - very valuable.
I've started looking at the bugs created from your report - I hope you'll find some time to check how the developers are proposing to fix the issues raised. And it's great to have feedback on things like the side blocks I started to fix from Moodle 1.6 onwards . I agree these need another look.
I hope you don't mind me commenting that the tests were just done with/mainly considered people with visual disabilities - valuable, but we have to keep in mind the full range of needs and impairments - cognitive, learning, hearing, motor.
I've just discovered this system and it was like a halo in the sky. In our organization, as with many others, accessibility compliance is being legislated and what I, as the web guy, keep forgetting is that accessibility does not only apply to a particular group, but to all users of any type of information interface... internal and external.
thanks for posting that, it has become a great reference for things i have to plan for.
The study link no longer works, does anyone know if it's available elsewhere?
As both of you have mentioned, the link to the study brings me to a blank page.
Can anyone please let us know where to find a copy of the original study?
Hi Penny (and Aaricia),
As you can see, Randall Hansen is no longer subscribed to the Moodle forums.
If you are a twitter user, you might try to contact Randall Hansen at http://twitter.com/sonofhans (hoping that he is the original poster to this Moodle thread).