Embedding accessibility and usability: Considerations for e-learning research and development projects

Cooper, Martyn; Colwell, Chetz and Jelfs, Anne (2007). Embedding accessibility and usability: Considerations for e-learning research and development projects. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 15(3) pp. 231–245.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687760701673659

Abstract

This paper makes the case that if eLearning research and development projects are to be successfully adopted in real-world teaching and learning contexts then they must effectively address accessibility and usability issues. The paper further argues that such projects should build in usability and accessibility considerations throughout their plans. That these need to be articulated in the proposal and appropriate resources and time made available for them.
Accessibility and usability are intrinsically linked and the paper makes the case for considering them in an integrated way. An integrated accessibility and usability evaluation methodology developed by the authors is presented and discussed. This includes a discussion on involving disabled people in research.
The paper draws on examples from various eLearning projects undertaken over the last 10 years within the Open University, which are presented as mini case studies. A series of recommendations are made for future projects. Although the discussion is in the domain of eLearning the conclusions and recommendations made apply directly, or by analogy, to any domain producing computer mediated content and services for a diverse population.

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