Content Accessibility Guidelines

Video

1.2.1 Audio Only and Video Only (A):

For prerecorded audio–only and prerecorded video–only media, the following is true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

  • Pearson actions: Provide a descriptive text alternative for content components that are only audio or only video.
  • Guidelines: Request a transcript from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. If NO transcript is available, subcontract to create one.
  • Audio only: A transcript should be developed for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Consider also developing a braille transcript for low-vision and blind students for longer audio passages.
  • Video only: A transcript should be developed to be displayed online or in braille for low-vision and blind students. Consider adding text to the video signaling there is no audio for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule if Pearson generates the transcript. Checks should include a review of the transcript for accuracy.

1.2.2 Captions (A):

Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when it is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

  • Pearson action: Provide captions on synchronized media (video and audio—for people who are deaf).
  • Guidelines: If closed caption is available through the copyright, request the file/track. If NO closed caption is available, request a transcript from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. The transcript will be a resource to create the closed caption track. Once the transcript is received, subcontract to create the closed caption transcript.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule if Pearson generates the transcript with permission from the copyright holder. Checks should include a review of the transcript for accuracy.

1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (A) and 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded) (AA):

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An alternative for time-based media or audio description (a.k.a. descriptive video) of the prerecorded video content is provided for synchronized media, except when it is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

  • Pearson action: Provide an audio description for the synchronized media (video + audio for people who are blind or visually impaired).
  • Guidelines: Place the link to the audio description in the metadata. Request content files from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. Descriptive videos may not be available through the copyright holder, and an outside vendor may need to be employed to create a descriptive video.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule. Checks should include a review of the content files for accuracy and to ensure that the link has been uploaded in the metadata.

1.2.6 Sign Language (AAA):

Sign language interpretation is provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media.

  • Pearson action: Provide American Sign Language (ASL) for all audio content in synchronized media. This is a literal translation to another language.
  • Origination: Program contract specifies whether sign language is a requirement for implementation.
  • Guidelines: Assessment/Content Specialists will be working with ASL vendors during the creation and full development of ASL translation. Assessment/Content Specialists will provide content expertise for translation purposes.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule. Checks should include a review of the translation for clarity, conciseness, and content accuracy. Answers should be checked for cueing. Translations should provide enough information to answer a question and should be accommodation-specific appropriate.

1.2.8 Media Alternative (AAA):

An alternative for time-based media is provided for all prerecorded synchronized media and for all prerecorded video–only media.

  • Pearson action: Provide everything text-based. (This is designed for people who have visual AND auditory impairments but are not completely blind and deaf.)
  • Origination: The program contract should specify whether ign language is a requirement for implementation. Specifications for responsibility will be detailed in the contract, and costs will be included in the bid. For text-based alternatives, this may include an online-transcript display, paper transcript, braille, or a combination.
  • Guidelines: Request a transcript from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. If NO transcript is available, subcontract to create one.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule if Pearson generates the transcript. Checks should include a review of the transcript for accuracy.

2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold (A):

Web pages should not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one-second period, and the flash should be below the general flash and red flash thresholds.

  • Pearson action: Check content with three or more flashes to be sure that it falls below the general threshold.
  • Guidelines: Review assets to verify that no more than three flashes (including red flashes), occur within a one-second time period.
  • Quality assurance: Review the asset to verify that the content does not contain more than three general or red flashes within a one-second period.

2.3.2 Three Flashes (AAA):

Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one-second period.

  • Pearson action: Check content with three or more flashes to be sure that it falls below the general threshold.
  • Guidelines: Review assets to verify that no more than three flashes (including red flashes) occur within a one-second time period.
  • Quality assurance: Review the asset to verify that the content does not contain more than three general or red flashes within a one-second period.

Audio

1.2.1 Audio Only and Video Only (A):

For prerecorded audio–only and prerecorded video–only media, the following is true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

  • Pearson actions: Provide a descriptive text alternative for content components that are only audio or only video.
  • Guidelines: Request a transcript from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. If NO transcript is available, subcontract to create one.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule if Pearson generates the transcript. Checks should include a review of the transcript for accuracy.

1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (A):

An alternative for time-based media or audio description of the prerecorded video content is provided for synchronized media, except when it is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.

  • Pearson action: Provide an audio description for the synchronized media (video + audio—for people who are blind or visually impaired).
  • Guidelines: Place a link to the audio description in the metadata. Request content files from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule. Checks should include a review of the content files for accuracy and should ensure that the link has been uploaded in metadata.

1.2.5 Audio Description (AA):

Audio description should be provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media.

  • Pearson action: Provide an audio description (additional audio content in the file itself) for the synchronized media (video + audio) for people who are blind or visually impaired to help describe any visual information that is needed and not provided already by the initial audio track.
  • Origination: The program contract should specify whether additional audio description is a requirement for implementation. Specifications for responsibility will be detailed in the contract, and costs will be included in the bid.
  • Guidelines: Request content files from the copyright holder following the copyright/permission guidelines. Provide metadata when developing items to identify which items require this additional resource.
  • Quality assurance: Check the metadata for each asset to ensure that copyright/permission has been obtained and content files have been added.

1.2.7 Extended Audio Description (AAA):

Where pauses in foreground audio are insufficient to allow audio descriptions to convey the sense of the video, extended audio description is provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media.

  • Pearson action: Provide an extended audio description for video content of synchronized media when normal audio description cannot be fit into the original audio because of a lack of sufficient pauses.
  • Origination: The program contract should specify whether additional audio description is a requirement for implementation. Specifications for responsibility will be detailed in the contract, and costs will be included in the bid.
  • Guidelines: Assessment/Content Specialists should proof the vendor’s extended description or create the extended description.
  • Quality assurance: The file should be listened to in order to verify accuracy.

Alternate Text

1.1.1 Non-Text Content (A):

All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.

  • Pearson Actions: Provide alternate text (written description) of all artwork, graphics, charts, tables, and MathML for content.
  • Origination: Optimally, Assessment Specialists author alternate text in ABBI as content is initially created for a project. If a program requires a third-party supplier to author alternate text, a quality assurance review by Asset Development Services should be scheduled. If existing content is to be imported into Pearson authoring systems, Asset Development Services, along with Program teams, will need to communicate a plan for authoring any missing alternate text into imported content.
  • Guidelines: The client should provide guidelines for authoring alternate text in content. If a client does not provide guidance, seek advice from the Accessibility Team.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule. Checks should include a review of the alternate text for clarity, conciseness, and answer cueing. Verify that descriptions provide enough information to answer a question and that descriptions are accommodation-specific appropriate.

1.4.5 Images of Text (AA):

If the technologies being used can achieve the visual presentation, text is used to convey information rather than images of text, except for the following: Customizable, Essential.

  • Pearson action: Use text in every instance possible, instead of images of text.
  • Origination: If text is not an option, alternate text must be provided. Reference 1.1.1.
  • Guidelines: If text is not an option, alternate text must be provided. Reference 1.1.1.
  • Quality assurance: If text is not an option, alternate text must be provided. Reference 1.1.1.

1.4.9 Images of Text (No Exceptions) (AAA):

Evaluate whether images of text are used only for decoration or where a particular presentation of text is essential to the information being conveyed.

  • Pearson action: Use text in every instance possible, instead of images of text.
  • Guidelines: Images of text, rather than simple text, limit the functionality of TestNav, including the use of the highlighter. Adding alternate text description to an image of text does not solve all accommodations issues, including the use of the highlighter. Text-to-speech functionality of graphic images, such as for text as titles and labels on axes, is limited for images of text.
  • Quality assurance: Review all instances where images of text have been created (instead of text) for alternative development strategies.

Item Authoring

1.3.1 Information and Relationships (A):

Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text.

  • Pearson action: Provide additional text when information and relationships that are implied by visual or auditory formatting are not preserved when the presentation format changes (using an assistive technology). Some examples are headings, bulleted lists, paragraphs separated by a blank line, rows or columns, grouped form fields, color-block backgrounds, and bold or italic font. As an aside, all items should be written in a logical order so that background coding for assistive technologies is useful for students using AT. For instance, consider the logical order a blind student would want to experience an item with a graphic. Would it be easier for a student to read the stem and the question being asked before listening to alternate text associated with a graphic, or would it be easier for a blind student to first consider the alternate text of a graphic before reading the stem and question?
  • Guidelines: Provide alternate text and tagging elements; provide final review of rendered item (publishing).
  • Quality assurance: The breadth of quality assurance checks will depend on each program and the number of accommodations each program has contracted to complete. Programs should contact the Accessibility Team for further assistance.

1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence (A):

When the sequence in which content is presented affects its meaning, a correct reading sequence can be programmatically determined.

  • Pearson action: When assistive technology is used, the reading order needed in order to understand the meaning is preserved. At least one sequence of the content that makes sense can be programmatically determined. 1.3.2 is closely related to 1.3.1.
  • Guidelines: The Assessment Specialist reviews the asset and alternate text to ensure that order is preserved to convey proper meaning.
  • Quality assurance: The breadth of quality assurance checks will depend on each program and the number of accommodations each program has contracted to complete. Programs should contact the Accessibility Team for further assistance.

1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics (A):

Instructions provided for understanding and operating content do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, size, visual location, orientation, or sound.

  • Pearson action: Refrain from using instructions that rely only on sensory characteristics in order to be understood (for example, “round button,” “button to the right,” or “put your answer in the larger text box”).
  • Guidelines: The Assessment Specialist identifies and replaces language that relies on sensory characteristics [UDR]. This requires buy-in from the psychometrician and the Test Development Manager if the replacement of such language occurs on an operational item. Review client documentation around directions language to be sure it does not conflict with this success criteria (negotiate with best practice).
  • Quality assurance: Checks include a review for avoidance of sensory language in an asset.

2.4.3 Focus Order (A):

If a Web page can be navigated sequentially and the navigation sequences affect meaning or operation, focusable components receive focus in an order that preserves meaning and operability.

  • Pearson action: Provide consistent keyboard navigation through content that is logical and matches the visual navigation on the page.
  • Guidelines: ADS verifies that the asset is sequentially in order of meaning, as intended. All content must be stable before it is transformed into accessible content for keyboard navigation or assistive technology.
  • Quality assurance: Programs will need to decide whether ADS or Publishing will check the focus of each asset once assets are transformed.

2.4.4 Link Purpose (A):

The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general.

  • Pearson action: If a link is used in an item, define the purpose of the link within the link or add text above the link explaining the meaning of the link.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks should be added to the item development schedule.

2.4.6 Headings and Labels (AA):

Headings and labels describe topic or purpose.

  • Pearson action: Following content and project guidelines, if required, provide headings and labels. This requirement is in reference to visual headings and labels and not hidden labels and headings for assistive technology users.
  • Guidelines: Review project and style guidelines for content development and implement project requirements for headings and labels.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks for accuracy and consistency should be added to the item development schedule.

3.32 Labels or Instructions (A):

Provide labels or instructions when content requires user input.

  • Pearson action: Following content and project guidelines, if required, provide labels and instructions. This requirement is in reference to non-visual labels or instructions.
  • Guidelines: Client Services and ADS will work with the client to determine which fields will need hidden labels and instructions in assistive technology forms and will provide recommendations to the client about how to best label FIB boxes, provide text entry boxes, craft instructions for the use of a tactile graphic supplement, etc. For guidance, contact the Accessibility Team.
  • Quality assurance: Quality assurance checks for accuracy and consistency using assistive technology should be added the production schedule. Scripts should be developed in Publishing and tested well in advance of the production schedule.

3.1.3 Unusual Words (AAA):

A mechanism is available for identifying specific definitions of words or phrases used in an unusual or restricted way, including idioms and jargon.

  • Pearson action: Following content and project guidelines, if required, provide a mechanism to define certain words or phrases. Examples include:
    • Nonliteral word usage
    • Specialized words
    • Figurative language
    • Specialized usage
    • Idioms
    • Jargon
  • Guidelines: If not already part of the assessment construct, words or phrases to be defined should be identified in the Universal Design Review.
  • Quality assurance: The Universal Design reviewer comments on the word or language, and ADS reviews comments from Universal Design Review (UDR) and makes adjustments based on project guidelines. This quality assurance check should be added to the item development schedule.

3.1.4 Abbreviations (AAA):

A mechanism for identifying the expanded form or meaning of abbreviations is available.

  • Pearson action: Introduce abbreviations in expanded form. Following content and project guidelines, if required, provide a mechanism to identify for the user the meaning of the abbreviation. Conversely, consider whether abbreviations are needed at all. For instance, some math assets will identify a centimeter twice, e.g., 3 centimeters (cm). For users of assistive technology, abbreviations like these must be aria-hidden in the coding so that a screen reader doesn’t read aloud “3 centimeters centimeters.” If a program requires this type of identification, programs will need to include a programmatic way to aria-hide abbreviations that cause duplication of text for users of assistive technology.
  • Guidelines: If not already part of the assessment construct, abbreviations should be identified in the Universal Design Review. UDR reviewer will comment on abbreviations, and AS will conduct a review of the comments and make adjustments based on project guidelines.
  • Quality assurance: A quality assurance check should be added to the item development schedule. The Assessment Specialist reviews abbreviations in expanded form. If a programmatic solution is needed to aria-hide abbreviations, programs will need to determine which group will conduct this check.

3.1.5 Reading Level (AAA):

When text requires reading ability more advanced than the lower secondary education level after removal of proper names and titles, supplemental content (or a version that does not require reading ability more advanced than the lower secondary education level) is available.

  • Pearson action: Consulting customer requirements, ADS develops content at the appropriate reading level.
  • Guidelines: Some resources that may be referenced or may be required include, but are not limited to, EDL Core Vocabularies, Lexile levels, UDR checks, and professional judgment.
  • Quality assurance: It is a best practice that all assets are developed with Universal Design and that all assets are reviewed specifically in a UDR review.

3.1.6 Pronunciation (AAA):

A mechanism is available for identifying specific pronunciation of words where the meaning of the words in context is ambiguous without knowing the pronunciation.

  • Pearson action: Where words are glossed or defined for the student, content should provide a pronunciation key before the definition of the word.
  • Guidelines: Typically, the client will identify words that need to be glossed or defined.
  • Quality assurance: Checks should include adding time in the item development cycle to review content for pronunciation of glossed terms.

Color

1.4.1 Use of Color (A):

Color should not be used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

  • Pearson action: Provide the information otherwise conveyed only with color through additional visual means.
  • Guidelines: When content is developed, do not rely on color in graphics or visuals as the only means of conveying the information. Provide a secondary element to convey the meaning of the color (such as a label for the color). Bar graphs often have a key in which there may be patterned boxes that match the graph patterns. If those boxes in the keys have no text, students may encounter perception issues and may not be able to read the key.
  • Quality Assurance: Checks should include adding time in the item development cycle to review content for use of color.

1.4.3 Minimum Contrast (A):

The visual presentation of text and images of text should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except for the following: Large Text, Incidental, Logotypes.

  • Pearson action: Choose colors for text and background that provide enough contrast to meet the minimum WCAG requirement ratio of 4.5:1.
  • Guidelines: Colors selected should be within the selection of palettes within the style guide. Limit the use of color to the colors provided in the style guide. The goal is to increase visual contrast for students with low-vision and perceptual-acuity issues.
  • Quality assurance: Utilize the color contrast analyzer to test the ratio of colors used for text and background or any other color that conveys meaning. Contact the Accessibility Team for training on the color contrast analyzer.

1.4.8 Visual Presentation (AAA):

For the visual presentation of blocks of text, a mechanism is available to achieve the following : Text is not justified, Line spacing.

  • Pearson action: This is a AAA requirement that Pearson partially supports at this time. At a minimum, it is a best practice to not justify text (aligned to both the left and the right margins or by centering text).
  • Guidelines: There are two barrier types of justified text. Left and right justification of content creates block text that is not always accessible for students. The recommendation is to avoid block text. Additionally, centering content on a screen is a barrier to access for students with disabilities. A stimulus that is left-justified, followed by a centered formula, followed by a left-justified stem poses a problem for students using extreme magnification. After reading the stimulus, students expect to see the formula left-aligned as they move down while using the magnification tool, but find instead that the formula is centered; this has a negative impact on the students’ orientation to the item. The recommendation is to develop content top to bottom, left to right, without centering content.
  • Quality assurance: Work with customers to communicate these barriers when making style guide decisions.

Universal Design Checklist

  1. Use clear, concise language. Avoid wordy, ambiguous, or vague language.
  2. Use active voice rather than passive voice whenever appropriate, based on judgment of what will communicate most clearly to diverse student populations.
  3. Use pronouns judiciously. Use a noun rather than a pronoun when a noun works just as well. When a pronoun is used, place it as close as possible to the word it references.
  4. Avoid compound tenses such as present perfect (Amanda has walked), past perfect (Amanda had walked), and future perfect (Amanda will have walked) when simple ones will do. Use present tense (Amanda walks, Amanda is walking) or simple past (Amanda walked) and future (Amanda will walk) whenever appropriate.
  5. Break sentences that have multiple clauses into shorter sentences when appropriate and avoid lengthy compound and/or complex sentences when possible.
  6. Avoid using too many prepositional phrases within a sentence when possible.
  7. Choose vocabulary that will be widely accessible to students.
  8. Avoid colloquial and idiomatic language.
  9. Avoid words with multiple meanings when their use might be confusing.
  10. When appropriate, repeat rather than vary words when referring to the same phenomenon.
  11. Use visuals and art labels to increase and reinforce comprehension of difficult language.
  12. Avoid gender stereotypes.
  13. Use a balanced portrayal of content associated with ethnic groups.
  14. Avoid content related to religious holidays and birthdays.
  15. Avoid content sensitive to any socioeconomic subgroups.
  16. Use a balanced representation of urban, suburban, and rural settings.
  17. Use art related to text, providing support to overall comprehension. Art should be legible, clear, and free from visual clutter. Use distinguishable color combinations for the color blind.
  18. Limit the use of items phrased in the negative form.
  19. Use careful selection of imagery related to the senses.
  20. Avoid controversial or emotionally charged content.