Financial Accounting and Accessibility
At Lumen, our goal is to make all our materials accessible rather than creating a subset of course materials that meet accessibility requirements. Our Financial Accounting course was built with accessibility considered upfront as an integral part of the course design. While accessibility spans a broad range of abilities and needs, we chose to focus the design and content authoring decisions in this course on screen reader accessibility. This decision led to a focus on screen reader navigation elements, alternative text for images, and displaying accounting tables using consistent and predictable HTML.
Consistent and simple navigation for students using screen reader technology is core to the authoring choices made in Financial Accounting. Course content has been authored using unique and descriptive header elements, unique and descriptive hyperlinks, images have appropriate alternative text, and all media is accurately captioned with a corresponding transcription available.
Finally, since Financial Accounting is delivered using both Waymaker and Lumen OHM, special considerations were taken to ensure consistency and predictability in the presentation of the many financial accounting tables throughout the course.
Screen Reader Compatible Accounting Tables
This course displays hundreds of accounting tables in the course content and in the course assessments. In order to provide a consistent and accessible experience in both the Waymaker and OHM platforms, shared accounting table templates were created using screen reader friendly markup.
Screen Reader Accessibility Table Features
HTML tables in Waymaker course content have accessibility features that aim at creating an equivalent experience for students using screen readers.
Use of Single and Double Line in Financial Accounting Tables
The discipline specific practice of using single and double lines in financial accounting tables to indicate subtotals and grand totals are displayed visually and for screen readers in Financial Accounting. The single and double lines are displayed visually using CSS and displayed for screen readers using ARIA. Sighted students will see a single or double line, and students using screen reader technology will hear the phrase “Single Line” or “Double Line” read aloud to them at the appropriate place in the accounting table.
Minimizing Additional Noise for Screen Reader
It’s standard practice to avoid leaving blank cells in HTML tables for screen reader accessibility. However, the financial accounting tables in this course have many blank cells. The team decided to opt for leaving cells blank with no additional ARIA mark-up for screen reader students, with the understanding that adding an ARIA label “no value” would likely result in a worse student experience than leaving those table cells blank.
Strike-through and Highlight Features
Strike-through and highlighting are used in some Waymaker tables throughout the course for pedagogical purposes. These visual cues are also indicated when a user accesses this content with a screen reader with the terms “start of stricken text” and “end of stricken text”, and “start of [color] highlight” and “end of [color] highlight”.
Use of Color
Color coding is used in some content in the course for pedagogical purposes. These colors were chosen specifically with color blindness accessibility in mind, to ensure that the widest range of color perception in students would be served by the course content. To illustrate this point, please refer to the images below for an approximation of how these colors are perceived by people with varying color blindness. These sample screenshots were gathered using Waymaker course content and Color Oracle, one of many web tools used to simulate the different types of color blindness that impacts color perception.
Lumen tests using the following combinations of operating system, screen reader, and web browsers per WebAIM’s recommended pairings for screen readers and web browsers.
- Windows OS with NVDA and Firefox
- Windows OS with JAWS and Google Chrome