Moodle Accessibility Evaluation

Image of people using Moodle including a person with visual impairments.

Introduction

Many educational institutions use Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs) to manage their courses. These e-learning tools are usually Web-based tools which make course management easier for teachers and directors. Oftentimes, the LCMS is even the only tool given students to communicate with peers and teachers or for accessing particular learning resources. Most of visually-impaired people use assistive tools to surfing on websites and accessing LCMS’s. However, many users cannot use these LCMSs because they have not been created in an accessible way. One of the most used LCMSs in learning centers is Moodle and this research aimed to obtain the main barriers that users face when they use these tools.

Evaluation

A heuristic evaluation was carried out from the point of view of WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0 guidelines in order to collect the main guidelines which are not complied by Moodle. In this evaluation automatic and semi-automatic tools such as: WAVE or TAW were used to evaluate the accessibility of the website.

Real users have to be involved in the evaluation process too, because the accessibility guidelines could not show all the barriers that they face. As a result, a blind person and a person, who simulated blindness, evaluated Moodle using the NVDA and JAWS screen readers.

Problems

Many problems were observed in the heuristic evaluation. Some of them were common accessibility barriers that many websites have, such as: images without alternative content, the lack of headings or the use of colors without a proper color contrast.

In contrast, there were other troubles which were not as usual as in other sites. For instance, some websites did not have the same appearance or do not use the same language through the whole website.

A complete list of the problems obtained in each evaluation as well as the recommendations that LCSMs should follow in order to create accessible LCMSs are detailed in the Output section

Duration

Six months (2010)

Team

Ana Iglesias
Lourdes Moreno
Rocío Calvo
Sandra Delgado
Luis Zaragoza

Applied Skills and Methods

Heuristic Evaluation
Automatic Tools
Semi-automatic Tools
Screen Reader
User Evaluation

Outputs

Conference Article: "Accessibility Evaluation of Moodle Centred in Visual Impairments"
Book Chapters: " Disability Standards and Guidelines for Learning Management Systems: Evaluating Accessibility" and "Is Moodle Accessible for Visually Impaired People?, Web Information Systems and Technologies"
Journal Article: "Accessibility barriers for users of screen readers in the Moodle learning content management system"