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Guidelines on material adaptation

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Guidelines on material adaptation

Guidelines for academic teachers concerning adaptation of educational materials for courses attended by students with sight disability. 

A graphic - different types of files need adaptation for blind and partially sighted people

  1. PDF files where text cannot be selected (i.e. scans or photographs) will be inaccessible for users of screen reader applications (blind as well as some partially sighted and dyslectic persons). As much as possible, try to make materials available in such formats as .docx, .pptx, .odt or as PDF files when text highlighting is feasible.
  2. Graphics, unless described, will be inaccessible for blind users. Try to describe the key aspects in the context of the content or assignment a given graphic accompanies. If you do not want the picture description to be visible to all users but only speech reader users, make the description in the form of an alternative text. In the Microsoft Word text editor, that can be done by clicking with the right mouse button on the image inserted and then selecting the ‘Edit Alt Text’ command. In case of graphics posted on the Moodle platform (like Pegaz), the alterative text can be added in the picture characteristics window.
  3. Films can be inaccessible for both blind persons and those who are Deaf and hard of hearing. As much as possible, try to choose films with subtitles (for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing) and/or audio description (for blind users).
  4. Assignments on the platform Moodle that use the ‘Drag and drop’ function can be difficult to perform for blind users as well as those with mobility disabilities of the arms/hands. If the group of recipients of the assignment you are preparing includes such (a) person(s), try to select other task types.
  5. Use headings by applying heading styles (the ‘Styles’ gallery on the Tools menu in Microsoft Word). Thanks to this, navigating within the document will be easier for everybody, including blind users.
  6. If you highlight text by formatting (like using bold print, underlining, italics or colour), inform the reader about the fact at the beginning of the text. Thanks to this, a blind reader will be able to configure his/her screen reader so as to make it inform him/her about the formatting changes.
  7. Try not to use tables for visual content distribution. If you present data in a tabular form, select the headline line facilitating table content reading for blind users.
  8. Try not to use justifying. Instead, left-align the entire text. Also, try to use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial, Tahoma, Verdana). That will facilitate reading for partially sighted users.
  9. If possible, write text in a single column. This will make the navigation easier for blind users.
  10. Check-mark the language of the content. This will make the content reading easier for blind users. In order to check-mark the content language in Microsoft Word, select the text and then click on language check-mark on the status bar in the window in the bottom left corner.
  11. In case of dialogues, try to mark statements made by individual persons with their names or formulations like ‘Person A’, ‘Person B’, etc. This will make it easier for blind persons to grasp who says what.
  12. In text documents, precede the assignment number by the abbreviation ‘assign.’ or the full word ‘assignment’. This will make it easier for blind users to find a specific assignment.

If you need some advice on how to adapt your materials to the needs of persons with disabilities, get in touch with the Assistive Technology Team at the JU DSS.

Information on adapting scientific publications can also be found in our free guide titled ‘Adapting scientific publications to the needs of persons with sight disability'.

An example task – a crossword puzzle before and after adaptation:

An example of the excersise –crossword

Source: Business Result, Elementary, Student's Book; David Grant, John Hughes & Rebecca Turner, Oxford University Press, 2009.


Ex. 3. Read the definition and write the word that best corresponds with it. The number of letters is given in brackets. This exercise was originally a crossword.

  1. a seat in the middle of the plane (5) - …
  2. you wait here before you board the plane (4) - …
  3. you show your ticket here and get your boarding card (7) - …
  4. your passport is checked here: passport (7) - …
  5. the cheapest type of ticket (7) - …
  6. a long line you wait in (5) - …
  7. you pack your clothes in these (4) - …
  8. the building at the airport you leave from or arrive at (8) - …
  9. your flight is stopped maybe because of bad weather (9) - ...