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Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines

Access Guidelines for Media Categories: Complex Media

Complex media refers to those digital media formats and systems that contain multiple media types at the same time and/or provide a means for user interaction with the content. Complex media can be a single digital file or a system that coordinates multiple digital files being exchanged between the instructor and students, and, sometimes, an actual software application.

HTML and PDF files are common examples of complex media files that can support a variety of different media types, including captioned video and online forms. Content management systems such as Moodle, Blackboard, Wimba, Elluminate, VoiceThread, and Etudes are all complex media management systems. Social media technologies like Facebook, Second Life, and Twitter are examples of other complex media systems used by individuals for communication, entertainment, and self expression. Complex digital media as a category encompasses a wide range of technologies that provide a variety of methods for organizing, delivering, and interacting with digital content.

Access Challenges

Typically, complex digital media is an assemblage of discrete media files such as text, images, audio, and video. By following the best practices for creating these individual digital files, the accessibility and usability of the information when it is presented as part of a complex digital media system will be assured.

Solutions/Best Practices

In addition to ensuring the accessibility of the discrete media assets used in a complex media file or system, it is critical to ensure accessibility of the various interactive aspects to ensure that they are compatible with different AT and available to the end user.

In addition, it is important to become familiar with any built-in accessibility tools that are included in whatever complex media file format or system being used.