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Developing Section 508 Compliant E-learning with Adobe Captivate

Expand your training horizons and reach your differently-abled employees with the accessibility support features of Adobe Captivate. Creating Section 508 compliant courses is super easy with Captivate. Keyboard support, closed captions, and related features make Adobe Captivate a friendly tool to develop accessible online learning courses. Let’s explore these features in this post.

1. Section 508 Compliant Output

Adobe Captivate offers Flash and HTML outputs that are Section 508 compliant. In case learners view the output on tablets or smartphones, they will need to enable accessibility through their device setting (Settings>General>Accessibility).

2. Keyboard Support

Keyboard support is the key to developing accessible courses for visually challenged learners. Captivate allows you to execute most functions using a keyboard. It has built-in features to create accessible demonstrations and simulations.

However, click boxes, hotspots, and rollover objects are not keyboard accessible. Also, you cannot use the keyboard to select the second radio button in multiple choice and True/False quizzes, nor can you move options in sequence quizzes.

3. Content Focus

This feature helps learners with hearing impairments. Captivate allows for a visual indication of the current onscreen element by providing a yellow box around it. It also reports this input to assistive technology. (This does not apply to click boxes, hotspots, and rollover objects, however.)

4. Flicker Reduction

The high intensity of flicker or flash may cause photosensitive epileptic seizures in susceptible learners, especially when the flash has a faster blink and is within the frequency range of 2 Hz to 55 Hz. This includes flashing text, turning graphics on and off, or repeatedly changing between different images on the screen.

Captivate doesn’t support onscreen elements with a flash or blink frequency higher than 2Hz and lower than 55Hz.

To enhance accessibility in these circumstances:

  • Minimize the screen area which is flashing. Smaller areas are less likely to cause seizures.
  • Avoid flashing with a high level of contrast between states. Some learners are more susceptible to high-intensity

Note: In case of videos created externally and imported into Captivate, course authors should ensure they comply with the recommended blink rate.

5. Customizable Closed Captions

Adobe Captivate helps you create courses with closed captions generated from slide notes and for slide videos. These can be enhanced by controlling the way they look and where they appear, in order to meet accessibility guidelines.

6. Text to Speech

Text to Speech facility is very useful for visually challenged learners. Adobe Captivate provides automatic voice-over functionality to gain the attention of learners with visual impediments. You can change your text into a high-quality audio format in just a few clicks.

7. Other Options that Support Accessibility

Captivate supports all assistive technologies supported by Adobe Flash Player, including Windows-Eyes from GW Micro and JAWS screen reader. This feature is useful for non-visual operation and information retrieval in developing accessible eLearning. Captivate allows the creation of large text versions of slides. This helps elderly learners and those with poor eye vision read text with ease.

Captivate also provides text equivalents for all non-text elements in online courses. It also has the facility of Assistive Technology-Ready UI that conveys the necessary information about the type, state, and description of an object or image to the accessibility interface.

When electronic forms are used in a course for online submission, Captivate provides most of the necessary information including functionality requirements for Form fields and gives control to learners with the help of Assistive Technology-Ready Forms. However, this feature doesn’t support multiple choice and True/False quizzes. Assistive Technology-Ready Scripts help physically challenged learners access content, including functional text, using the keyboard. 

Use Case: Legacy Courses Updated to Meet Accessibility Guidelines

A US-based global software organization approached CommLab India to update its legacy courses developed in Adobe Captivate 6 to reach its visually challenged employees.

CommLab India revamped all legacy courses in the company’s repository using the latest version of Adobe Captivate to make them Section 508 compliant.

I hope these features of Adobe Captivate inspire you to develop accessible online courses for you differently-abled learners. All the best..!!

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