Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Digital Accessibility Challenge Week 4

Creating Accessible Google Docs

Objective:  

Manhattan College ITS is encouraging employees to begin to take some simple steps that will
structure your documents so that your documents are more accessible. When creating documents,
spreadsheets or presentations it is important to provide an organized structure to all your documents
in a way that allows them to be accessible. Fortunately many word processing tools such as Google
Docs are advanced in the accessibility area and allows you to use features generally available
within each tool.

Last week’s focus was on creating accessible MS Word Docs. This week’s challenge
we will dive
deeper and focus on best practices, incorporating clear layout and design in creating accessible
Google Docs. Instructions, video tutorials and links are also included.
Please note these tips will focus on making documents created with Google Docs more accessible.


How Does Digital Accessibility Impact Manhattan College Faculty, Staff and Students?


Faculty creating instructional materials and presenting lessons.
Employees creating documents, forms, newsletters and correspondence for distribution.
Students writing reports and preparing presentations.

The following tools are important to include when making Google Docs accessible:

1. Outline feature



image of Outline feature in Google Docs


Outline features headers for each section of your document, making it simple to quickly jump from section to section. The outline tool collates headers from whatever you are working on, and allows you to jump quickly from introduction to index very easily.


To turn on Outline view, navigate to View in task bar and select Show document outline from the dropdown menu.

2. Headings

Paragraph headings provide context and a way to navigate quickly for users of assistive technologies like screen readers.
Such technologies ignore text size and emphasis (bold, italic, underline) unless certain paragraph styles such as Headings, are used. As an added benefit, Headings can be used to automatically generate a Table of Contents or bookmarks in a document. Additionally, styles modify the formatting of all occurrences in a document, so you can quickly change the format of all Headings of a particular level (you can still override global settings by changing the format of an individual piece of text, regardless of style assignment).
Headings should be selected based on their hierarchy in the document. Start the page with a heading that describes overall document content (Heading 1). Follow it with sub-headings (Heading 2) and sub-headings (Heading 3), etc.. Items of equal importance should be equal level headings, and heading levels should not be skipped (i.e., a Heading 3 can't be the first heading after Heading 1; Heading 2 can't be skipped).
To make an item a heading in Google Docs, select the Styles drop-down menu, located to the left of the font drop-down menu. The Headings can also be called with keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl+Alt+1 (Heading 1), Ctrl+Alt+2 (Heading 2), etc.
Change from Normal Text to Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3, using the appropriate heading levels depending on your content structure (as described above).
Any of the three heading styles can be used to help a screen reader navigate through the Google Docs page. Heading 1 should be used as the page title, and Headings 2 and 3 should be used as subsections and sub-subsections respectively.

3.  Images

Make sure all images have text representation or alternative text with all images
Include alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics. Otherwise, screen reader users just hear "image."
  • Upload and embed the image
  • Click the image file
  • Format > Alt Text
  • In the Alt Text window, enter your alternative text in the Description field of the Image Properties window that appears
image of Manhattan College Campus Map with Alt text highlighted
The Alt text for this image would be "Image of Manhattan College Campus Map with Alt text highlighted"

4. Color Contrast

To find instances of color-coding, visually scan your document. You can also look for text in your document that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

If your document has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

5. Lists

Like headings, using the list tools to create bulleted and numbered lists ensures that screen readers can effectively read list items. Manually inserting any of the list items will not help.

Any numbered list that has multiply layers should use a different numbering scheme for each level.

Use the Insert List icons on the formatting toolbar to create a list.

  1. Example A 
  2. Example B
  3. Example C
When you highlight these items, you can see the numbered list icon is selected in the toolbar.
This lets you know the list is properly structured:
image of numbered bullted list in Google Docs

6. Legibility

Make sure to make your document is easy to read, not only for those with assistive technologies, but also those that don’t use them.

Sans-serif fonts are considered more legible fonts for monitors than serif fonts.

Color plays an important role in any document. The color scheme itself should have contrast between light and dark without going to the extreme. Too little or too much contrast can make the document difficult to read for those who are colorblind or with low vision. Certain color combinations, such as bright colors, can cause headaches and make it uncomfortable to read what has been laid out.

7. Table of Contents

To improve quality of navigation for assistive technologies, it is recommended to add a table of contents. Throughout the document you must designate headings, because these are what used to generate the table of contents section. Using headings is also an accessibility best practice within documents. Doing so also provides other advantages for the author including the ability to rapidly modify the overall document style without having to change each individual header.

Select Insert > Table of Contents

Summary

Google Docs is the widely used word processing application through Google Drive. The methods in this blog post will increase the accessibility of documents produced through Google Docs. As the program can be used in a collaborative basis, the importance of making it accessible is necessary.

In this blog post, the accessibility of Google Docs was covered through:
  • Outline Feature 
  • Headings 
  • Images 
  • Color Contrast 
  • Lists 
  • Legibility 
  • Table of Contents 
  • Creating an Accessible Template
Once you complete reviewing the materials from the fourth week of the Digital Accessibility Challenge take a few minutes to answer these questions: 
Week 4 Accessibility Questionnaire  

Participants who complete all 5 weeks of the Digital Accessibility Challenge will be awarded a Credly Digital Badge in recognition of their effort, for more information review ITS to Launch 5 Week Digital Accessibility Challenge.


Other Resources:

Accessible Google Documents (NC State IT Accessibility)

Google Docs: Table of Contents, Headers, & Outline Tool


Monday, September 10, 2018

Dorm Wifi Feedback Form

Students, welcome back to another semester here at Manhattan College! 

ITS is making strides to improve the wireless networks in the dorms across campus. Over the summer, The Networking Team worked diligently to upgrade the wireless access points installed throughout Overlook Manor in hopes to improve the wireless reliability. We are working on upgrading wireless access points in Jasper Hall as well. If you are experiencing any wireless issues in your dorm, please let us know by filling out the Dorm Wifi Feedback form!

There are a couple of ways you can access the form to provide your wifi feedback:

  • You can visit the following link to access the form: https://go.manhattan.edu/dormwifi


  • Access the form from the GlanceMC app, found under the Featured Links section



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Digital Accessibility Challenge Week 3

Creating Accessible Word Docs

Objective:  
Manhattan College ITS is encouraging employees to begin to take some simple steps that will structure your documents so that your documents are more accessible. When creating documents, spreadsheets or presentations it is important to provide structure to all your documents in a way that allows them to be accessible by people with different abilities. . Fortunately many word processing tools such as MS Word are very advanced in the accessibility area and allows you to use features generally available within each tool.


In this week’s challenge we will dive deeper and focus on best practices, incorporating clear layout and design in creating accessible Word Docs. Instructions, video tutorials and links are also included.


How Does Digital Accessibility Impact Manhattan College Faculty, Staff and Students?

  • Faculty creating instructional materials and presenting lessons.
  • Employees creating documents, forms, newsletters and correspondence for distribution.
  • Students writing reports and preparing presentations.



The "Outline" view features headers for each section of your document, making it simple to quickly jump from section to section. This only works when you apply headings in the Outline view.
See below for more details on how to use the built in headings in MS Word: Image of how to show Document Outline View


To turn on Outline view, navigate to View in task bar and select Show document outline from the dropdown menu.



1. Include alternative text with all visuals

Visual content

Includes pictures, clip art, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.
Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.
Many text editor environments, including programs such as Word, allow you to include ALT text for images.


Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information.

If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.



2. Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips


To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan your document.


People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.
  • Example: Avoid writing: "Click here to view our course offerings..”
  • Instead write: “Explore our courses.."

3. Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information
To find instances of color-coding, visually scan your document.
You can also look for text in your document that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.
People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.


If your document has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

4. Use built-in headings and styles
Image demonstrating how to apply headings in MS Word
How to apply headings in MS Word
To preserve tab order and make it easier for screen readers to read your documents:
For example, organize headings in the prescribed logical order.
use a logical heading order and the built-in formatting tools in Word.


Use Heading 1, Heading 2, and then Heading 3, rather than Heading 3, Heading 1, and then Heading 2. And, organize the information in your documents into small chunks. Ideally, each heading would include only a few paragraphs.


5. Use a simple table structure, and specify column header information



Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table. Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.


Follow the same format for Excel, PowerPoint & Outlook

Watch this video to gain an understanding about the impact of accessibility and the benefits for everyone in a variety of situations.
Web Accessibility Perspectives: Clear Layout and Design

Summary:

Improve page readability by using using the Outline view in MS Word to help you set up a clear, easy to read document.  
Use links that are easily noticeable and understandable.
  • First, don’t make users hunt around the page in search for clickable elements. 
  • Second, don’t force users to read the text surrounding a link to determine where it leads. 
  • Use color, built in headings, styles and simple table structure when creating documents.
Once you complete reviewing the materials from the third week of the Digital Accessibility Challenge take a few minutes to answer these questions:

Participants who complete all 5 weeks of the Digital Accessibility Challenge will be awarded a Credly Digital Badge in recognition of their effort, for more information review ITS to Launch Five Week Digital Accessibility Challenge  

Other Resources:

Friday, September 7, 2018

RESOLVED - Planned Maintenance Outage - Banner Applications

Dear Manhattan College Community,

Please be advised that this Saturday night, (09/08/2018) Information Technology Services will be performing maintenance on the Banner production system which will result in the system being offline between 9:00pm - 12:00 Midnight to apply upgrades/patches.  

Thank you in advance for your patience.

Information Technology Services

Monday, September 3, 2018

Digital Accessibility Challenge Week #2

Simple Steps to Make Documents and Digital Content More Usable by Everyone

Objective:

This weeks challenge will provide simple steps to follow to make documents digitally accessible, it does  include hyperlinks and resources for a variety of document creation needs.
Manhattan College ITS is encouraging employees to begin to take some simple steps that will structure your documents so that they are more accessible. When creating documents, spreadsheets or presentations it is important to provide structure to all your documents. Fortunately many word processing tools such as Google Docs and MS Word are very advanced in the accessibility area and allow you to use features generally available within each tool.

How Does Digital Accessibility Impact Manhattan College Faculty, Staff and Students?


  • Faculty creating instructional materials and presenting lessons.
  • Employees creating documents, forms, newsletters and correspondence for distribution.
  • Students writing reports and preparing presentations.


Page Structure and Formatting

The following guidelines can be applied to Microsoft Word, GoogleDocs, HTML, or other source document files.

Title

All documents should have a title that represents the content of the document. The title is typically added to the Properties of a document.


Headings

Organizing web pages by headings helps users get a sense of the page’s organization and structure. Visually, headings are presented as larger and more distinct than surrounding text. Making texts larger helps guide the eye around the page. Using headings and making them visually apparent is especially helpful for users with cognitive disabilities.

It is best to plan out a heading structure before composing a page. Doing so will help you both select appropriate heading levels and keep your thoughts organized overall.

Use headings hierarchically, with Heading 1 representing the most important idea on the page, and sub-sections organized with Heading 2 level headings, etc.

Do not use bold instead of a heading. One of the most common accessibility mistakes is making text bold when a heading is needed. Though the text may look like a heading, the underlying code is not set correctly, and screen reader users will not benefit.

Use (built-in) Headings

  • In Google Docs you can apply heading to words or sentences. To do this, navigate to the Format menu and select Paragraph styles to add headings to sections of your document.
Image of the toolbar and arrows pointing to how to navigate to built in Headings menu in Google Docs
      Example in Google Docs
  • In Microsoft Word you can apply headings to words or sentences. To do so, highlight a word or sentence in Word, and navigate to the Home tab towards the top of the screen. There are many different styles to choose from, making your document clearly organized and easier to read.

Image  of the Toolbar in MS Word point out how to navigate to built in Headings menu
Example in MS Word


Hyperlinks

Links are important for helping direct people where to go through or from your document. Often displayed as text, links should be functional and usable.

Use Descriptive Text for Links

  • When linking to another website, do not just paste the link into the field. Most text editors have a button that allows you to insert a link. Inserting a link this way allows you to add a descriptive link title. This makes it easier for screen readers to read a link. Make link text is clear and self explanatory to support quick and effective navigation.
  • Example: Avoid writing: "Click here to view our academic programs.”
  • Instead write: “Explore our academic programs."
  • Example: “Click here to view today’s weather.” can be shortened to    “Today’s weather.”

Linking email addresses


  • Linking email addresses offers quick access to communication tools. If the link activates an email program to open, use the person's email address (e.g. reggie@email.edu) as the linked text. For links to contact forms or pages of information, use text such as “Contact Reggie” or "Send Reggie an email."

Use Lists

When creating lists, rather than just listing items in a single paragraph with no format, your options include:
  1. Numbered List
  • Bulleted List
Image of a taskbar highlighting where the Bulleted Lists and Numbered Lists are located
Example in Google Docs

Image of a toolbar highlighting where the Bulleted Lists and Numbered Lists are located
Example in MS Word

Columns

  • Use the true column features in document editors to divide page content. Avoid using the tab key to separate content on one line. 
  • Using the column tool allows assistive technology to detect and communicate the page structure to the user.
Top image has a red circle, bottom image has a green check, examples of best practice for creating columns

Images/Non-Text Content

Add Alternate Text for Images (Alt tags)


  • When uploading a picture to a document or website, make sure to always add an Alt tag to the image. Alt tags are used to describe images to a screen reader, so utilizing alt tags that describe the image with detail is important. 
  • To add an alt tag, you must view the properties of the image. 
  • In most cases, all that is required is to simply right click the image within the editor, and select alt tags. 
  • Sometimes you may have to right click and then select mage properties before having the option to add an alt tag.

Tables

Use Tables for Data

  • Use tables for presenting data, not for changing the visual layout of the page. In the table, include a heading row (rather than starting with data in the first row) because screen readers automatically read the first row as a heading row. 

Choosing Color

Color alone should not convey meaning

  • Avoid using color alone as the sole source of meaning or information. Some people may not be able to perceive color and will experience difficulties accessing your content. 
  • For example, hyperlinks are typically underlined colored text. Both the color of the text and the underline is necessary to show the text as a hyperlink. This is not to say, never use color in your document, but where you are able to edit color be sure there are multiple ways to determine meaning or information.

Use sufficient color contrast

  • If you must you color in your document, make sure the color contrast between the foreground (i.e. text or content) and the background color are sufficient.. 
  • Some color combinations can be more difficult to read, be selective and conscious of the colors you choose. For example, avoid light gray text on a white background.

Summary


Web accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for all. This video gives an overview about the impact of accessibility and the benefits for everyone in a variety of situations.


Web Accessibility Perspectives: Customizable Text



Once you complete reviewing the materials from the second week of the Digital Accessibility Challenge take a few minutes to answer these questions:
Week 2 Accessibility QuestionnaireParticipants who complete all 5 weeks of the Digital Accessibility Challenge will be awarded a Credly Digital Badge in recognition of their effort, for more information review ITS to Launch 5 Week Digital Accessibility Challenge.


Other Resources:

General Accessibility Resources for Specific Programs and Apps:

Google

Microsoft



Partially reposted from: Making your Word Documents Accessible

Schedule Meetings More Efficiently with Google Calendar and Doodle

Google Calendar Information:
As part of our ongoing effort to spread knowledge about productive new Google Calendar Features, want to let our clients know they are able to be very efficient when using Google Calendar to schedule meetings.  

The easiest way to access Google Calendar is to click on the Google Calendar app from your Google Apps launcher at the top right of your Google Desktop Home screen:

Click here for detailed instructions from the G Suite Learning Center Get Started with Calendar.
The following instructions include how to quickly and easily schedule a meeting with a group of colleagues who are using Google Calendar:

** Be sure to explore the "Find a meeting time" section **
If the other guests have shared their calendar with you, you can use the "Find a time" feature to schedule an event at a time that works for everyone. You can compare up to 20 schedules at one time.
Note: The "Find a time" feature is only available while using a computer, not the Google Calendar app.
  1. Create a new event, or open an existing event (you may need to click Edit event first).
  2. Click the Find a time tab. If the other guests' calendars are shared with you, you'll see their schedules.
  3. Find a time. Use the arrows at the top to navigate between days.
  4. Once you've found a time, click the area within the calendar grid. The time will update at the top of the page.
  5. Click Save.
Note: You can only edit the event if you created the event yourself, or if the event organizer gave guests permission to modify the event.
All-day events: All-day events are shown at the top of the calendar grid. If a guest has an all-day event, they will appear available in the "Find a time" tab unless their event is set to show as "Busy." To schedule an all-day event, click the Week button and then click the area at the top of a day column.


Doodle: Another Excellent Scheduling App
Great idea to use as an alternative to Google Calendar


What is Doodle?

Doodle is an online scheduling tool that can be used quickly and easily to find a date and time to meet with multiple people.  First you suggest dates and times for your event participants to choose from, then Doodle creates a polling calendar that can be sent to participants for feedback.  As each participant selects the dates and times from the polling calendar that he or she is free, Doodle aggregates the responses and tells you which option works best for everyone.
Getting everyone on the same page is hard enough with just five other coworkers, let alone fifty new volunteers you may have never met.  Doodle can be a valuable tool for coordinating a large event like volunteer training as well as a small event like a monthly meeting with the board.


Doodle in Action

Part of Doodle’s appeal is that it’s so easy to use.  The site walks you through the four steps of creating a polling calendar:
  1. Schedule an Event
  2. Propose Times
  3. Choose Settings
  4. Invite Participants


Each step of the way there are options to make the whole process easier for you and the people you’re trying to meet with.
1. Schedule an Event
The first step in scheduling an event with Doodle is to fill out a simple form with the title, location, and description of the event.  This information will be visible on the poll, letting participants know exactly what the event is.  On this page you will also enter your name as administrator and your e-mail address so that you can receive the link to view, update, or edit the poll.
Notable Features:
  • Easy Directions: The location automatically links to Google Maps, making getting directions a breeze.
  • Your Own Doodle Account: Although you are free to use the site without creating an account, signing in makes checking up on your scheduling polls a lot easier (especially if you have several out at a time).
2. Propose Times
The next screen asks you to choose days and times that you are considering for the event.
Wizard
Notable Features:
  • Time-Zone Support: If you’re scheduling an online event, such as a Twitter chat or a video conference, you can enable time-zone support to keep participants across the country or across the world on the same page.
3. Choose Settings
In this third step, Doodle offers some options so that you can modify the basic poll to suit your specific needs.  These customizable settings allow you to tailor your Doodle scheduling poll to each event.  Among other things, you can use these different settings to transform your scheduling poll into a registration sheet, or to offer extra options to your event participants such as greater privacy.
Notable Features:
  • Yes-No-If need be Poll: In a basic poll, the people you invite can only respond “Yes” or “No.”  This option adds a third possible response, “If need be,” to give you more detailed information on participants’ availability and flexibility.
  • Hidden Poll: Perhaps you are looking to schedule times to meet with donors.  This option allows you to keep each donor’s schedule and availability confidential from the other donors.
  • Limit Number of Participants per Option: For example, setting the group limit to ten people per time slot would be handy if you are looking to conduct feedback meetings with past volunteers.  Once a timeslot has ten names, it will stop being shown as an option.
  • Participant Can Only Choose One Option: This option coupled with limiting the number of participants per option turns the poll into a registration sheet, allowing each participant to sign up for a timeslot on a first-come-first-served basis.
4. Invite Participants
The final step is to send out the invitations.  Doodle has three methods of delivering your poll to participants: email, Facebook, and Twitter.
For smaller or internal meetings, email is the way to go.  But if you are putting together a larger event, like a cookout to thank your volunteers, then a social media platform might be a better choice.  By posting the Doodle poll link on Facebook or Twitter, you can simultaneously advertise your event and find a good day for it.
Notable Features:
Import Contacts: Link your Doodle account to your email account to easily import the email addresses of the participants you’re interested in inviting.
The Poll
For the people you have invited, the finished basic poll will look something like this:
Participation
The people that you invite will enter their name or an ID number in the field that says “Your name” and check the boxes in the time slots when they are free.  In the image above, the best time to meet would clearly be Monday at 1:00pm.
Notable Features:
  • Load Your Calendar: If you do open a Doodle account, you can sync your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendar to Doodle.  This lets you avoid switching between calendars, making it easier to respond quickly to scheduling requests.
  • Comments: There is even a comment section at the bottom of the poll where participants can note dates that they would prefer over others or ask questions about the event.
  • Different Viewing Options: The image shown above is the table view, which allows your participants to see which dates and times are popular.  There’s also an option to look at the schedule on a calendar view, shown below.  The calendar view is helpful if you have loaded your own calendar to Doodle for comparison.