Simulations accessibles

We have several simulations published with inclusive features that can meet the diverse needs of learners within diverse environments. Find all published simulations with inclusive features, and read on to learn about our inclusive features and the simulations we are working on.

Une simulation avec une entrée alternative ajoute l'accessibilité du clavier aux entrées de simulation traditionnelles de la souris et du toucher. Les étudiants peuvent naviguer et interagir pleinement avec les interactions des sims à l'aide d'un clavier. Les simulations avec l'entrée alternative peuvent contenir des descriptions qui identifient des objets et des valeurs interactives. Ces descriptions simples, si disponibles, sont accessibles avec un logiciel de lecture d'écran.

Une simulation avec son et sonification a ajouté des sons conçus pour créer une expérience immersive et significative pour tous les élèves, y compris les élèves ayant une déficience visuelle. Les sonifications sont des sons soigneusement mappés à des valeurs changeantes qui représentent les concepts scientifiques de la simulation. Ainsi, les interactions sonifiées donnent accès à la science dans un mode non visuel (c'est-à-dire sonore). Les effets sonores sont également utilisés dans la conception sonore de la simulation pour aider les élèves à établir des liens avec des choses qui se produisent dans la vie réelle (par exemple, un son de frottement pour frotter un pied sur un tapis). Indépendamment ou ensemble, ces sons améliorent l'expérience d'apprentissage pour tous les élèves. Les sons peuvent être désactivés à l'aide du bouton de son global dans la barre de menus de la simulation.

Une simulation avec description interactive offre une expérience interactive entièrement décrite qui est accessible au clavier, se met à jour de manière dynamique et répond automatiquement aux modifications apportées par un utilisateur lors de son interaction avec la simulation. À l'aide d'un logiciel de lecture d'écran, la description interactive offre une expérience interactive attrayante et robuste aux élèves aveugles ou ayant une déficience visuelle grave.

A mobile accessible sim provides a fully described interactive experience that is accessible with VoiceOver and its special screen reader touch gestures. Using VoiceOver and touch gestures students can engage in a dynamic described experience along side peers using the visual sim. Mobile accessibility provides an engaging described interactive experience for students who are blind or have a severe vision impairment. Students must have access to and know how to use a touch device with the latest iOS, such as an iPad or iPhone.

Pan and zoom enables everyone to zoom in for a closer look. Users can use pinch to zoom and drag gestures to zoom in and pan around on touch devices. With the keyboard, users can zoom in using typical keyboard shortcuts (Mac: Command +/-, Windows: Ctrl +/-) or pan to an area for close examination using arrow keys. The sim auto pans to keep the focused item in view when using a keyboard.

Voicing is a customizable option that uses web speech to voice simulation information as a user navigates and interacts. Voicing also offers on-demand access to a simulation overview, current details, and hints for productive interaction. Though Voicing shares features with traditional screen readers, it works quite differently – it only voices information through direct interaction. Voicing can be used by diverse users including users who are blind or have a severe vision impairment, in diverse collaborations, and on diverse platforms in browsers that support web speech. Voicing is enabled in the Preferences Menu under the Auditory tab.

Balloons and Static Electricity alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification pan and zoom

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility Zoom et agrandissement
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices is almost ready in this published version: 1.5.0 (same as published version)
  • Grab a balloon to explore concepts of static electricity such as charge transfer, attraction, repulsion, and induced charge. In addition to the completed inclusive features, this sim's mobile accessibility on iOS with VoiceOver is very good - just a couple of issues around the mobile grab and drag interaction to address. On an iPad or iPhone, grab a balloon with a double tap and hold and then drag your finger. Of course, you can also use a keyboard just like always.

Faraday's Law alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification pan and zoom

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility Zoom et agrandissement
  • Interactive description including mobile accessibility is under development in this version: 1.5.0-dev.5
  • Grab the bar magnet to explore and investigate Faraday's law and how a changing magnetic flux can produce a flow of electricity! In this prototype we are working on the interactive description design.

Friction alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification pan and zoom voicing

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility Zoom et agrandissement Voicing
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices, Voicing, and Pan and Zoom are nearly finished in this version:: 1.6.0-dev.23
  • Grab the Chemistry book to play and explore concepts related to friction. In addition to the features in the published version, this prototype version of Friction includes good, but not yet perfect mobile accessibility on iOS with VoiceOver, our new pan and zoom feature, and a customizable voicing feature that uses web speech to speak information aloud (i.e., no screen reader necessary for speech output). To enable "Voicing", open "Preferences" and go to the "Audio" tab, and after enabling "Voicing" choose what details you want spoken aloud as you interact and customize the voice.

Gravity Force Lab alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices is almost ready in this version: 2.3.0-dev.4
  • Visualize the gravitational force that two mass spheres exert on each other. Move spheres in meters, change mass in kilograms, and observe changes to the gravitational forces that m1 and m2 exert on each other.

Molarity alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices is almost ready in this version: 1.6.0-dev.5
  • What determines the concentration of a solution? Learn about the relationships between moles, liters, and molarity by adjusting the amount of solute and solution volume. Change solutes to compare different chemical compounds in water.

Molecules and Light alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification pan and zoom

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility Zoom et agrandissement
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices is almost ready in this version: 1.6.0-dev.6
  • Turn light source on to explore. Observe what happens in the observation window as you set up different combinations of light source and molecule. Note this simulation is the first to support our browser zooming feature, so zoom in for a closer look, if you need to.

Ohm's Law alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility
  • Interactive Description on Mobile Devices is almost ready in this version: 1.5.0-dev.5
  • Play with voltage and resistance sliders and observe changes to the equation and circuit.

Ratio and Proportion alternative input interactive description interactive description on mobile devices sound an sonification pan and zoom voicing

  • Fonctionnalités: Saisie alternative, Description interactive, Son et sonification, Mobile Accessibility Zoom et agrandissement Voicing
  • Voicing is under development in this version: 1.2.0-dev.9
  • Play with the left and right hands in different ways, and explore ratio and proportion. In addition to the published features, this prototype of Ratio and Proportion has a customizable voicing feature. To enable "Voicing", open "Preferences", go to the "Audio" tab, and after enabling "Voicing" choose what details you want spoken aloud as you interact. You can also customize the voice.

Learners can already use multiple input methods to interact with simulations, for example, by using a mouse, track pad, or touch. The addition of keyboard navigation expands options for input methods, allowing input through key presses on the keyboard, and also through assistive devices such as switches, joysticks, alternative keyboards, electronic pointing devices, sip-and-puff systems, and more.

Our design strategy for alternative input and keyboard access is to:

  • Indicate where a learner is in their exploration with a bold visual focus highlight (common to all sims)
  • Follow known accessible design patterns (see ARIA Authoring Practices) to ensure interactions are as familiar as possible for learners who use alternative input methods
  • Provide in-sim guidance for essential interactions in the form of a brief Keyboard Shortcuts dialog
  • Provide in-sim interaction hints in the form of help text for custom interactions

Sonification is the use of non-speech sounds (such as musical tones) to convey information. For learners accessing the interactive descriptions within the simulations, the use of sonification complements the descriptions and provides a pathway for conveying information that is continuous in nature – often difficult to convey with words. For learners visually exploring the simulation, sound and sonification provide an additional mode of conveying complex relationships.

System Requirements

Not all browsers support web audio. To hear sounds in sonified simulations please use one of the following browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari

We are designing interactive descriptions that are read aloud by screen reader software. These descriptions provide an output modality accessible to learners who are blind or have low vision that use screen reader software. Interactive descriptions dynamically update and respond to a learner's interactions. This gives learners access to a robust non-visual experience that allows them to navigate and interact with the sim's interactive objects. Learners can access a complete description of the sim's current state at anytime during their exploration. When they interact with objects, the sim responds automatically providing descriptions of the relevant changes happening to the objects and surrounding context of the sim.

Using screen reader software and a keyboard on a PC laptop computer, learners can navigate and read through the simulation's state descriptions using the Arrow keys (i.e., screen reader cursor keys). Learners can skim and scan the state descriptions using their screen reader commands (e.g., navigate by regions, by headings, and by interactive elements).

With continued research and development on input methods, some simulations' interactive descriptions are now also accessible on iOS devices. Using an iPad or iPhone, the built-in screen reader, VoiceOver, and Safari, learners can explore and interact in a robust interactive non-visual experience.

At present the interactive described experience is accessible using screen reader software and the necessary input method (keyboard or gesture) in the following screen reader-browser combinations:

  • NVDA and Firefox on Windows
  • JAWS and Chrome on Windows
  • VoiceOver and Safari on Mac OS
  • VoiceOver and Safari on iOS (iPad or iPhone)

Voicing is a customizable feature that uses Web Speech to voice simulation information. With the simulation open, enable Voicing in the Preferences Menu under the Audio tab to support collaboration with and between diverse learners or to meet the needs of diverse teaching scenarios. It is available on most platforms in browsers that support web speech.

Because it is customizable, teachers and learners have a lot of control over what is spoken aloud when interacting and may find it helpful during class demonstrations or during group collaborations. The amount of spoken content can vary from none at all during interaction, when Sim Voicing is set to off in the Voicing Toolbar, to hearing a range of other details. Once Voicing is enabled, the default setting is limited to names of interactive objects or controls and on-screen text. Teachers and learners can choose to add object details and changes about what they are interacting with, surrounding context changes as a result of interacting, and even helpful hints by checking the checkboxes available under Sim Voicing Options.

In addition to customizing the amount of information that is spoken aloud, teachers and learners can customize the Voice by adjusting speech rate, pitch, or even choosing a particular voice from a list of voices available on their system.

The Voicing feature includes a Toolbar that appears along the left side of the simulation when Voicing is enabled. The Toolbar provides on-demand access to an overview, details about the current state of the simulation, and a hint about how a learner might want to proceed. This information is always available whether or not Sim Voicing is on or off. The toolbar is collapsible, and if needed it can be fully hidden from the Preferences Menu.

While the Voicing feature shares some features with traditional screen readers, it works quite differently – it only voices information through direct interaction. There is no cursor access to chunks of information. This means the selected amount of details are spoken aloud only once a learner clicks on (or touches) or moves their keyboard focus to an object or piece of text that has been made voice-able. Also, unlike traditional screen reader software, Voicing only reads out information about the simulation. It does not read out structural or functional information common to the screen reader experience. A learner accessing the simulation through a screen reader may wish to pause/disable their screen reader software if they want to use the Voicing feature.