Website accessibility at OpenLearn

Send all queries about OpenLearn to openlearn@open.ac.uk.

OpenLearn content is reviewed to make it as accessible as possible.

OpenLearn has been reviewed by accessibility experts who use a range of different assistive technologies and computer settings to test the site.

As the site grows, there will always be ways that we can (and will) improve its accessibility. But the core aspects of the site already meet the needs of a wide variety of users:

  • Screen readers: users with screen reading technology should have no difficulty accessing the text-based content.
  • Settings: users who require specific operating system or browser settings should not have any difficulties with the site, nor should users with screen magnifiers.
  • Video and audio materials can be played through a range of different media players or downloaded and over 90% have textual descriptions or transcripts to accompany them.
  • Our work with the Moodle and Drupal communities to enhance accessibility across OpenLearn will also benefit other sites which use these platforms.

You may find that changing your web browser settings will help you use this site. You can change the options in your browser to adjust the size and colour of the text, and the colour of the background. ​Modern web browsers allow you to override the entire colour scheme of this and many other sites.

Playing video and audio materials

Each video and audio asset is provided through a media player within the site, as a file download, and has a textual description or transcript to accompany it.

Some video assets are available for download in two file formats which offer different size files. These file downloads allow users to open the asset in the player of their choice, and to save it to their hard drive.

The media players within the site are keyboard accessible in a limited way. Users may find the following advice helpful:

  • In order to play the audio/video, tab to the media player, press the space bar or enter to activate it. Tab again to focus on the play button, then space bar or enter to operate the button.
  • When the video frame is in focus, the space bar toggles the play/pause button. This does not work on the audio player.
  • On both players it is possible to tab to the progress slider, but it is not possible to operate it.
  • On the video player it is possible to tab to the mute button but the focus is then lost. Tab then shift+tab to get back to the button.

The keyboard shortcuts for the media player are:

  • Play/Pause (p)
  • Fast backward (-)
  • Fast forward (+)
  • Volume increase ([)
  • Volume decrease (])
  • Mute on/off (m)
  • Show/hide captions where available (c)
  • Enter full screen mode (f)
  • Quit full screen mode (Esc)

Transcripts are usually available in pdf format. You will need free Acrobat Reader software to open pdf files. If you don’t have this already installed on your computer you can download it from Adobe.

Speech recognition

Users who interact with their computer through speech recognition may find that their software cannot recognise the media players through the usual commands for buttons and links. You may be able to use mouse commands, but we suggest the ‘separate player’ and ‘download file’ links are likely to be the easiest to use.

Filling in forms

When filling in any forms on OpenLearn, we recommend the following:

  • Read all of the form carefully before attempting to fill it in.
  • When you do fill the form in you may find it more useful to turn Virtual PC Cursor off if you are using the screenreader JAWS version 3.3 or above.
  • Once you have filled the form in, turn Virtual PC Cursor back on and check what you have entered. Then submit the form.

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