Research into the Reliability and Accuracy of Section 508 Accessibility Requirements and Automated Translation Applied to Non-Conventional Web Based Training, 07-R8070

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Principal Investigators
Doel A. Durieux
Desiree Carrola

Inclusive Dates:  05/14/09 – 09/14/09

Background - The purpose of this study was to conduct the necessary research required to modify an existing course framework so that it adheres to government standards for web accessibility, namely Section 508. The second project objective was to translate the course to the Spanish language.

Approach - The technical approach for the study includes four phases:

  1. Research and Analysis
    During the analysis phase, SwRI identified areas where the Section 508 standards needed to be applied. Areas were also identified where this process could be performed dynamically without affecting the validity of the content. Later SwRI worked with a small business called Motion Point to research the requirement to translate the course into the Spanish language.
  2. Design
    The design phase began with creating a detailed design document that compares the existing instructional layout and graphical user interface (GUI) to what needed to be modified based on the research results in Phase 1. The design document contained detailed information regarding what programming was required to meet the requirements and the process to translate the content into the Spanish language.
  3. Development
    In the current version of the course, most of the programming and media elements that were developed using Adobe Flash are accessible through alternative methods for students with disabilities. As a result of the Phase 1 Research Analysis, SwRI redesigned and redeveloped the framework in which these elements are structured creating a new flow and making them more intuitive to the user.
  4. Evaluation and Revision
    SwRI conducted a series of scenario-based acceptance and stress tests. All testing for Section 508 compliance was performed using specific accessibility tools such as JAWS and ACCVerify. All testing for translation accuracy was accomplished by SwRI staff members fluent in Spanish.

Accomplishments - It was proven that the Content Delivery Engine used by SwRI to develop web-based courses is a strong solution for developing a framework that could adhere to the Section 508 standard. After a small re-design of the XML templates used in the translation process, the content conversion to the Spanish language was fast and effective. SwRI saved time and consequently money by implementing the XML templates.

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