Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kevin Brown, with the Office of the Worker Adviser, Central Client Services Unit, sat in on my "E-Learning on a Shoestring" session at last week's E-Learning Guild forum. We fell into conversation about our mutual interests in ergonomics (his) and accessibility (mine), which led to questions about keyboard shortcuts for those using PowerPoint-based elearning. As he puts it, "Providing multiple
methods of input is not only necessary to accommodate people who are
injured or disabled, but it is a great way to help prevent injuries." Converting your PPT-based programs to Flash should (depending on your converter) solve the problem and provide keyboard accessibility.

For those delivering the PPT files intact, Kevin also offered these tips:

"There are keyboard shortcuts to access hyperlinks that continue to
work in kiosk mode. The help file describes them as follows:

- Go to the first or next hyperlink on a slide --> TAB

- Go to the last or previous hyperlink on a slide --> SHIFT+TAB
- Perform the "mouse click" behavior of the selected hyperlink -->
ENTER while a hyperlink is selected

- Perform the "mouse over" behavior of the selected hyperlink -->
SHIFT+ENTER while a hyperlink is selected

Using the TAB, ENTER and SHIFT keys, users can cycle through the
available hyperlinks on a slide and "click" on their choice. I don't
know how well this would work with something complex with a lot of
links, but for most purposes it seems like a pretty good workaround.

I think I would still prefer the ability to assign keys to specific
buttons (e.g., right arrow for next or "M" for menu)-- mostly because
that would allow me to label each button with a keyboard shortcut.
But, as you rightly point out, sometimes a pretty good solution based
on what you have available and know how to use is better that a
perfect one based on something you don't." --Kevin Brown

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