Accessibility Considerations in Padlet (November 2020)
This helpsheet will detail some of the considerations that need to be made when using Padlet in your teaching and learning, due to its currently limited provision of features for users with additional accessibility needs.
Why Padlet is not widely ‘Accessible’?
Whilst Padlet is a great tool for collaborative working, teaching and learning, Padlet’s development team acknowledge that accessibility is an area that they are behind on, and are currently working towards improving the features available to those with accessibility needs. Padlet is being tested and redeveloped to meet its target of achieving the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 level AA compliance.
There are a range of considerations to make when using Padlet. Firstly, zooming in the Padlet site beyond the 100% level will restrict the ability to easily view and consume content, users would be heavily reliant on the ability to use the X and Y scroll bars in the browser application. Additionally, there are limited options for changing the colours, font or text size of this site other than predominantly for decorative purposes. Also, the site has not been widely tested for navigation by speech recognition.
What Accessibility Features are Compatible?
Padlet is described as being ‘basically compatible’ with screen reader software, for example Apple VoiceOver, however due to the styles and layouts used in Padlet, and the range of content types, a screen reader may find it difficult to read and present information in a logical and descriptive way.
Types of Internet Browser
Keyboard Only Navigation
At present a user can navigate the login page and the dashboard of Padlet using only a keyboard. Padlets can also be viewed in this way, however settings cannot be changed easily without using a mouse as an input device. Keyboard compatibility updates for settings, post creation, post editing, and post expansion are all being worked on at present.
Adapting Colour Contrast
It is not possible to adjust the contrast levels of the user interface within Padlet to suit those with visual impairments. A recommended workaround from the Padlet team at this time is to download a web extension such as ‘High Contrast’ from the Chrome Web Store, which allows you to change or invert the colour scheme to make web pages easier to read.
What can I do to improve accessibility?
Adding Comments to Images – Whilst there is no explicit way to add Alternative Text to images, videos and other multimedia content, users of Padlet can add comments to these types of content. Students should be encouraged to add additional descriptive comments for any image that is not purely decorative.
Captioning Videos – Audio recordings will not have automatic transcripts available, and videos will not feature captions unless implemented prior to being uploaded to the collaborative tool. You might decide to make a text document featuring the transcript available to students through Padlet or ensure that you have edited captions in a video editing software. Panopto could be of use here to automatically generate and subsequently download the captions for you to correct and amend.
What to do if students are struggling to access the site?
As the Padlet Tool is currently being used as part of a one-year Pilot Scheme within the University of Lincoln, it will be incredibly beneficial to understand how users are engaging with the tool, and the accessibility issues that they encounter during genuine and natural use, as opposed to testing.
Contact the Digital Education Team by email with the subject heading Padlet Accessibility and we will explore the issue with you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also requested that accessibility concerns are raised to the Padlet team in order to help with their development of the platform. You can get in touch by email with the subject line Accessibility at the email address email@example.com.