Little Sponges® strives to make dual language education accessible to ALL children including children with disabilities. That is why we work hard to ensure that our educational platform and content are aligned with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 defines how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. These guidelines also make web content more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to aging and often improve usability for users in general. (w3.org)
Principle 1: Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
Guideline 1.1 – Text Alternatives
Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
Within the Little Sponges® videos, text subtitles accompany everything that is said by the puppets, in both languages. Within the Little Sponges® website, every image is accompanied by a text caption. Color cues and numbers also help users navigate the website.
Guideline 1.2 – Time-based Media
Provide alternatives for time-based media.
Text subtitles accompany everything that is said by the puppets in both languages. If your students are not able to hear they can rely on the text subtitles and visuals to learn from the videos and games. Visually impaired students can hear the audio in both languages.
Guideline 1.3 – Adaptable
Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
Each learning module is represented by a clear visual on the map, a number and a caption to make it easy for students to select the right topic and navigate the program.
All aspects of the Little Sponges® program work on any device that can be connected to the internet (ie. smartphones, tablets, computers). Students may use whichever device they feel most comfortable with to utilize the program.
Guideline 1.4 – Distinguishable
Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
All subtitles in the Little Sponges® videos are separated from the background images with a colored background. English subtitles always appear on the right side of the screen in a green box while the second language subtitles always appear on the left side of the screen in a pink box. The audio and subtitle text align with the visual of the corresponding puppets talking.
For example, when Frog says something in English, his audio is aligned with his mouth moving as well as the English subtitle, which appears on screen at the same time.
Students also always have the option to control the audio volume in the videos and games.
Principle 2: Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable.
Guideline 2.1 – Keyboard Accessible
Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
Most of the Little Sponges® website is accessible through keyboard controls. The adventure map is accessible via touch screen (i.e. tablets, touchscreen computers, smartphones).
Guideline 2.2 – Enough Time
Provide users enough time to read and use content.
The on-demand content allows each student to learn at their own pace by pausing and/or repeating learning modules. The Little Sponges® videos progress in a linear storytelling fashion, but allow a few seconds in between all vocabulary words and sentences. This allows students to process and repeat words and phrases in each language, which helps them learn and retain information better. If needed, students always have the option to pause the video and rewind to a specific part of the video for additional review.
Little Sponges® alphabet, comprehension, and literacy games have no time limit for completion. Students may replay the audio and take as much time as they need to read the word in order to choose an answer.
Guideline 2.3 – Seizures
Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
There is no content within the Little Sponges® program that contains anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period. Little Sponges utilizes primarily real-life videos that unfold at a natural pace that makes it easy for young children to process and appeals to different types of learners.
Guideline 2.4 – Navigable
Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
Our child-friendly interface allows even the youngest students to navigate the program on their own. Each learning module is represented by a clear visual on the map, a number, and a caption to make it easy for students to select the right topic and navigate the program. Each page on the Little Sponges® website is clearly titled at the top of the page and has clear navigational cues that leverage colors, shapes, arrows and visuals.
Principle 3: Understandable - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
Guideline 3.1 – Readable
Make text content readable and understandable.
All subtitles are clearly written in the same large font throughout the program. The text is accompanied by real-life videos and/or visuals, which enhance comprehension. Audio always accompanies text to ensure students learn the correct pronunciation.
The vocabulary in the program is often introduced as a single word first, and then in a sentence later in the story. This allows students to follow the natural progression of language acquisition; learning what the single word means, then applying it correctly in context.
Guideline 3.2 – Predictable
Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
All learning modules throughout the Little Sponges® program are organized in a consistent way guiding the users through the learning process. Each learning module and each lesson are numbered and represented using clear visuals and written labels.
Guideline 3.3 – Input Assistance
Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
Little Sponges® comprehension and literacy games help students avoid and correct mistakes. For example, after hearing or reading the vocabulary word, students must choose the picture that matches from the picture bank. If they choose incorrectly once, an “incorrect sound” indicates that they chose the wrong answer. If they choose incorrectly again, the same sound plays and the correct answer is highlighted.
This ensures that students are really learning the vocabulary words, rather than just clicking through the games and guessing.
The Little Sponges® review videos are also set up in a way that encourages students to answer questions about the learning content, and redirects them if they choose incorrectly. Mishka and Frog ask a question in their respective language, then give a few seconds for the students to answer. After a few moments, they reveal the correct answer.
Principle 4: Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
Guideline 4.1 – Compatible
Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
The Little Sponges® program is a web-based curriculum that works on all major internet browsers, and works on any web-connected device (i.e. tablets, touchscreen computers, smartphones).
If you have any further questions about how the Little Sponges® dual language program works, feel free to contact us. To learn more about WCAG Guidelines and evaluate whether all of your digital content aligns with accessibility guidelines, please visit this website: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#guidelines