Best practice recommendation for accessibility requirements in LMS tenders
This document will describe the itslearning position pertaining to Accessibility. It will also provide guidance on best practice for specifying LMS tender requirements within the higher education space.
Compliance with the WCAG Accessibility Standard:
itslearning is compliant with WCAG standard: 2.1 level AA. This is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standard which provides details on accessibility requirements for software product designers and developers. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Although our goal is WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance, we have also applied some Level AAA Success Criteria. For example, our UI components are created to support both AA and AAA color contrast standards.
In addition to the compliance with the WCAG standard, itslearning also undertakes the following measures to ensure accessibility throughout our platform:
- We have launched a built-in accessibility checker in the content editor throughout the platform
- We include accessibility considerations throughout our internal policies
- We provide continuous accessibility training for our staff
- We assign clear accessibility targets and responsibilities to our product team
Built-in Accessibility Checker
(automatically check and fix potential accessibility issues on the fly!)
Uniquely, as a truly modern SaaS offering, itslearning comes complete with a built-in Accessibility Checker. This means that itslearning can be used to identify potential issues for people who have disabilities. It also means that universities do not have to spend budgets on costly third-party solutions if this is not required.
The built-in Accessibility Checker is available within the itslearning content editor. This online editor is available throughout the itslearning LMS platform, which means that teachers can quickly check (and fix) potential issues when they upload, change or create new content. This includes, for example, test questions, assignments tasks, and pages of content created using the ‘Page tool’ (see screenshot).
At a typical university, a lot of new content is added in the LMS platform every day. Some of this content or actions will result in that people with disabilities will have a hard time to read or understand content from teachers or fellow students. For example, in the above screenshot, the teacher has highlighted a grey text in orange colour, which makes the text less accessible for people with sight impairments. The built-in itslearning Accessibility Check can identify these accessibility issues that need attention and fix them before the user is saving or sending the content.
Explanation of the Built-in itslearning accessibility check function:
When the accessibility icon is clicked, the content in the rich text editor will be checked for accessibility issues. The plugin uses the highly innovative axe® rules engine from Deque systems, which is one of the most advanced accessibility engines on the market today. In general, all accessibility issues that do not require user intervention will automatically be fixed when the content is saved. There are over 70 types of errors fixed automatically if they occur.
The itslearning Accessibility Check feature is a great tool that works with any modern browser and provides support to automate their accessibility scans and fix issues on the fly. It is worth remembering that the accessibility checker is available throughout the itslearning LMS solution and can be employed wherever the user wants to upload content (example: the assignment tool, the page creation tool, when adding test questions, etc), so, this feature eliminates the need for the university to employ costly third-party accessibility checkers.
Best practice recommendation:
We do not mention branded third-party (specific brands) of Accessibility solutions!
If universities wish that the bidders should integrate with third party accessibility solutions, we strongly recommend that they do not require specific brands in this space, since that will amount to unfair competition / arbitrarily limit vendors from participating in the LMS tender.
Instead, we recommend using general wording that the vendor “should be able to integrate with third-party accessibility solutions via LTI” (not naming specific third-party brands). itslearning has a documented overview of the LTI and API integration possibilities, available online at: https://developer.itslearning.com/