Blackboard is invested in the usability and accessibility of all our products and services. In keeping with our strong tradition of leadership around accessibility, our products are generally designed and developed with internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), as well as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, in mind. Blackboard strives to meet the globally recognized WCAG 2.1 Level AA success criteria and conducts regular third-party accessibility testing of its products to assess conformance with industry standards.
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A logical heading structure is in place to properly structure the page and allow users to navigate using headings. Headings are used consistently throughout the application. This gives users the ability to understand the structure of any page in the application quickly, and move to the appropriate section of the page or content item easily.
As is required, a single H1 is provided to identify the page the user is looking at. In Blackboard Learn, the page title, for example “Course Documents,” is always the H1.
H2 headings are used to delineate major sections of a page. These headings are hidden and allow screen reader users to skip directly to each major page section. For example, a course page has two H2 headings: one for the course menu and one for the main content that is located immediately above the action bar on the content page.
H3 headings are typically used as the title of content items or key content elements on a page. For example, the title of an assignment on a “Course Documents” page is an H3 so the user easily finds it.
To reduce the visual clutter on a page, a number of elements are hidden until they receive either mouse or keyboard focus. After focus is given, these elements become active and follow typical keyboard interaction models.
Frames removed and replaced with DIVs and iFrames
Technical changes to the primary navigation in Blackboard Learn make navigation easier for visually-impaired users.
Frames have been completely removed from the Learn application and replaced with HTML5 compliant DIVs and iFrames. This change improves page printing, accessibility, and page navigation.
This change results in improved accessibility for users of screen readers where identification of page location, navigation and page titles are necessary.
Landmarks are designated based on ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite). ARIA defines a way to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. Landmarks in Blackboard Learn include:
- content info
- course menu
- content area
Industry standard keyboard interactions are used throughout Blackboard Learn to move between menus, open menus, and select items within a menu. Keyboard navigation patterns differ between browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome), but the interactions within any particular browser are common and consistent. In the sections below, notes are used to indicate where interactions may differ between experiences and course views in Blackboard Learn.
If you are using a Mac with Firefox or Safari and are having difficulty navigating using your keyboard, review and update your operating system and browser settings. This ensures they are properly configured for keyboard navigation. To learn more, see this information:
The content editor in Blackboard Learn is based on third-party technology from TinyMCE. It provides accessible controls, as well as keyboard shortcuts for formatting content created within it. The content editor appears throughout your courses, such as when you participate in a discussion.
To use your keyboard to jump to the content editor toolbar, press ALT + F10. On a Mac, press Fn + ALT + F10. Use the arrow keys to select an option, such as a bulleted list.
Global keyboard shortcuts have been established for common actions within Blackboard Learn.
- Tab: Navigate links, fields and options on the page.
- Shift + Tab: Navigate to previous links, fields, and options.
- Enter: Select link, function, activate option, and expand collapsed section.
- Space: Select or switch options.
- Up and down arrows: Open drop-down lists that have an Apply or Go function to activate an option. Navigate the choices with the up and down arrows.
- Open drop-down lists that do NOT have an Apply or Go function: Tab to the drop-down list and press Enter to open it. Use Alt/Option + the up and down arrows to select an option.
On the Course Content page, you can use your keyboard to move an item to a new location, move an item into an expanded folder, and move a folder into another expanded folder. You can only have two levels of folders.
- Tab to an item's move icon.
- Press Enter to activate move mode.
- Use the arrow keys to choose a location.
- Press Enter to drop the item in the new location.
For the best experience with your screen reader, use ChromeTM and JAWS® on a Windows® system, and use Safari® and VoiceOver On a Mac®.
Blackboard Learn has created a Screen Reader Tutorial to provide users who access the application through a screen reader with information to help them use the system successfully.
We have improved the usability of all of our interactive tools (discussion boards, wikis, blogs and journals). Each release introduces usability improvements for everyone, especially those customers that use assistive technology. The new experience of reading a thread is simple to consume with screen reader technology. We also removed clutter on the page, so screen reader and keyboard-only users have less to sift through as they navigate the interface.
To learn more about Blackboard's commitment to accessibility, see the Blackboard website.
*Statements regarding our product development initiatives, including new products and future product upgrades, updates or enhancements represent our current intentions, but may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior notice and there is no assurance that such offering, upgrades, updates or functionality will become available unless and until they have been made generally available to our customers.