Module 4: Accessibility of information or supports available and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities

The Internet is a barrel of knowledge on any topic, which makes information more accessible, but also questions the safety of information stored and user activity across networks. Sharing and finding information is simplified due to ongoing advancements in technology, imposed by the evolution of the industry. Youth workers, educators, trainers and youth leaders will find it more convenient to access information for their teaching or other professional support targeted at PwVHPI (people with visual, hearing or physical impairment). They will also take the role of instructing young PWVHPI on using the internet safely.

This module aims to increase the knowledge and competences of youth workers, educators, trainers and youth leaders on accessibility of information and safety prerequisites in Internet usage in order to be in the position of teaching young PwVHPI in this respect. The module also focuses on supporting young PwVHPI in using the internet for the purpose of finding information on and support in relation to mobilities or other opportunities. Taking into consideration different types of impairments, it is especially important to instruct young PwVHPI on how they can benefit from using the Internet and how to do it in a safe way.

The module addresses and comprises of the following topics:

  • Accessibility of information online
  • Teaching on internet safety
  • Supporting in mobilities and other opportunities

By the end of this module, you will learn:

  • the difference between website accessibility, usability and inclusion,
  • how to instruct on accessibility of information online,
  • how to teach on internet safety,
  • how to adjust accessibility features on websites,
  • where to find accessible information on mobilities and other opportunities.

1. Accessibility of information online

Accessibility of information online can be defined at two levels (W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, 2016):

  1. already at the stage of the development of platforms and content to be accessible for a wider audience, and
  2. at the usability stage when web accessibility implies the use of online environment for all persons -websites, tools, and technologies have been designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.

However, both of these levels impact the experience of internet users. It is especially important to have accessible websites when trainers are not aware from the very beginning of possible impairments their group of learners / learner may have, and for the trainers to be aware of the availability of such websites when preparing for teaching. Technology aims to fill the gap in approaching learners with different abilities, not necessarily disabilities, and more tools are available for equal participation of learners in education.

Accessibility, usability and inclusion of websites

Although these terms are connected, they are not exactly the same. The first of them – accessibility means that a website is technically adjusted for its use by people with disabilities. Accessibility is closely linked with the back-end of a website; how it is built in order to make it accessible for target users. As a result, PwVHPI can interact with a website without barriers. The second mentioned term – usability means that a website is user-friendly for all users without dividing them into people with or without disabilities. Therefore, a website should be easy to follow and navigate through to be identified in the category of usability. Website inclusion is broader than the three terms and is related to the involvement of users: it covers accessibility and usability, but also takes into consideration the digital skills of users and/or other individual peculiarities (ibid.).

A website is accessible to young PwVHPI if they can use it either (Balanskat et al., 2006):

  • as it is,
  • with minor adjustment or configuration, or
  • in conjunction with some assistive technology.

What does minor adjustment or configuration mean?

It implies the introduction of some basic features to pages, including the adjustment of colours, font or layout, but also the selection of words that can make content more inclusive.

Can I as a trainer do it myself?

Of course, you can. Depending on the type of information to be accessed online, there are a few ways of doing this. From the level of the browser, you can install an add-on that works on every site opened with that browser. If you are responsible for the content, you can structure it in a way to make it as inclusive as possible.

What are types of assistive technology?

The World Health Organization defines assistive technology as products to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence […]. It highlights that assistive technology is among others for persons with disability, enabling and promoting inclusion and participation (World Health Organization, 2020).

Examples of such technology are screen readers, screen magnifiers, speech recognition technology, Braille terminals, wheelchairs, hearing aids, alternative keyboards, oversize trackballs or computer mice. More devices are being built using the Industry 4.0 technology, like artificial intelligence or augmented reality (AR) (Dreamhost, 2020).

The digital results developed within the DARE project are compliant for users relying on screen readers.

Can I as a trainer use them for free?

Yes, there are assistive technologies (and tools) that are free of use, e.g. screen readers (NonVisual Desktop Access – available for Windows) or speech recognition technology/voice assistants incorporated in a browser/device. Video calls become of great value as an alternative in communication when sign language is used. However, additional investment may be necessary, like in the case of Braille terminals or alternative keyboards.

Barriers PwVHPI may be facing in using the Internet

The design of a website can cause barriers for PwVHPI. Websites that are kept simple in structure and avoid the use of bright colours will be accessible for more users – otherwise, a disabled person may feel excluded from using them. It is quite tricky to have a website that is barrier-free. Most websites are not initially designed for people with disabilities but based on their purpose (selling, communication, learning or promotion platform, among others) and target group, although PwVHPI will in the end be among the users of these sites, even when with the support of their trainers. On the other hand, there are very few pages dedicated to be used specifically by PwVHPI or are not exhaustive enough – include basic information or only some accessibility features, which do not account for full online experience. Some pages also stop being updated – the content is not maintained any longer, although it may remain available under the same address. An example is My web my way by BBC (2014), an interesting site providing information and best practices on accessibility, questioning not only the quality and timeliness of information published online, but also the safe use of websites and what additional barriers the internet is imposing to its users.

Most common barriers faced by PwVHPI based on the type of impairment (W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, 2017):

  • Visual impairment – difficulty in reading information due to the choice of colours (light in opposition to dark), flashing elements (which can be to a constraint in photosensitive seizures), font size (usually too small), amount of text in comparison to visual elements.
  • Hearing impairment – material that includes audio has reduced possibilities of adjusting the voice speed and/or volume, especially if it is embedded on the website and not our own authorship; but also, when having chosen the reading option, the pace may not be adjusted to the specific hearing difficulty.
  • Physical impairment – difficulty in using a mouse or other buttons, as well as flexibility in orientation on a website as a result of the limitation or loss of motor skills.

Solutions to making information accessible for young PwVHPI

Making information accessible across the web results from the settings behind web technologies, browsers and other tools for the proper functioning of a website, only at the end – the website layout itself.

Some websites also feature an accessibility widget that can enable the following functions (the first two listed applicable only for desktops): keyboard navigation, cursor, contrast+, bigger text, pause animations, read page function, highlight links, text spacing, dyslexia friendly (Brotherton, C.,2020).

However, for an accessibility widget to serve its purpose, it is necessary to have a well-designed website with well-structured content. To find out more you can check this checklist on accessibility and Chapter 5 entitled “A for accessibility: practical information on accessibility of websites and documents” of the DARE Practical Guide for Inclusion.

You can additionally use the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.

2. Teaching internet safety

Teaching internet safety can also be defined at two levels:

  1. how to use the internet safely and
  2. how to protect user data.

The areas of interest or concern and possible issues and challenges at both levels will be connected with privacy, cyber-security and dignity issues for PwVHPI. Most internet users browse for information without considering the dangers related to online activities. As a trainer or youth worker you can definitely support the young PwVHPI in the safe use of the internet and data protection.

For more information on teaching your learners how to stay safe and secure online, check these online security tips.

How can I explain what GDPR is to my learners?

Not all learners may be aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and that it has something to do with their own data. Learners should be informed that according to EU regulation which came into force on 25 May 2018, the privacy of their information is under better control and websites that are collecting user data are required to have a policy in place informing where, how and the purpose of collecting data (Marriot, S., 2018).

How can I caution my learners on potential acts of cyberbullying?

PwVHPIs are more prone to fall victims of such acts and the consequences can be more serious in their case. First of all, they should know that it is never their fault. Secondly, they should know that when noticing or experiencing cyberbullying, they can always report incidents to authority figures (trainers, teachers, youth workers or family).

Learners should also know that there are many types of cyberbullying, which include public hate speech (on social media, forums, across the internet), publication of images/videos/information without the consent of the person, sending unwanted private messages, but also constant contact (stalking)– any of which should not be neglected, since the acts most probably were intentional. Muchmore, the target of cyberbullying is not necessarily an individual, but could also be a group of people threatened and/or humiliated in public networks.

If the learner has information who is causing the harm, she*he can directly speak with this person to stop their behaviour (or ask a trainer for assistance if they do not feel comfortable with the situation). In terms of messages, learners should be instructed not to reply to the user, block her*him, but also save the evidence for keeping proof of the offensive messages. In the most extreme cases (e.g. violence, discrimination), the acts of cyberbullying should be reported to service providers/social media sites or even public authorities for law enforcement.

Although you cannot completely prevent your learners from cyberbullying, there are some preventive steps you can for example instruct them to avoid sharing sensitive personal information online or participating in discussions that include cyber-bullying behaviour; you can also assist them in installing parental control software or apps on the digital device (Heston, K. 2020).

3. Supporting in mobilities and other opportunities

Young people find it easier to search for information online. The type of information they search for and on what sites is also connected with the protection applied to data being transmitted, as well as the material being up-to-date. Trainers supporting young PwVHPI are in the position of guiding them what information to look for, how to access it and where to find it online to better experience and benefit from their mobility.

Anyone, not only PwVHPI, interested in participating in mobilities, should prepare for the experience. There are many activities before, during and after mobilities. The Guide of good practices for the implementation of European mobility projects is a comprehensive material dedicated to coordinators and participants of mobilities, including examples of tools useful throughout the whole mobility experience. The Erasmus+ App provides information and guidance on the mobility process.

When searching for mobilities and other similar opportunities online, the following websites should be checked:

European Youth Portal, which includes the choice of organizations that are capable of hosting persons with disabilities.

European Solidarity Corps Projects, including the participation of persons with disabilities in volunteering, traineeships and solidarity projects.

SALTO-YOUTH, including various mobility activities from youth exchanges, through volunteering to training opportunities, and non-formal learning resources for youth workers., includes opportunities for participating in internships abroad, digital traineeship opportunities or volunteer opportunities.

Erasmus+ partner search on Facebook is a public group for opportunities to participate in a project, including mobilities.

The Erasmus+ Project Results Platform is another place to search for youth exchange opportunities.

We also encourage to check calls initiated by the DARE project.

Activity 4.1

Module Title Module 4: Accessibility of information and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities
Activity Title Reflection on the impact of accessibility features for the benefit of people with different disabilities
Activity Code A4.1
Duration of the Activity (in minutes) 60 minutes
Type of resource Activity sheet
Aim of activity The aim of the activity is exploring the various perspectives of device usability and web accessibility demonstrated by people with different disabilities. You are recommended to watch the “Perspectives Videos” and access how you have been adjusting your teaching for the benefit of people with different disabilities. Reflect what improvements you can make to the teaching and learning experience of your training sessions – for this purpose consider the “What needs to happen for this to work?” part of each “Perspective Video”.
Materials Required for Activity Laptop or tablet with safe and stable Internet access.
Step-by-step instructions STEP 1: Go to the Perspective Videos section on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Website.

STEP 2: Explore each of the videos related to the impact of accessibility on people with different disabilities.

STEP 3: Reflect how your teaching/training is adjusted to meet the difficulties (visual, hearing or physical) your learners/trainees are facing.

STEP 4: Reflect on the improvements you can introduce to your teaching/training considering the “What needs to happen for this to work?” part of each “Perspective Video”.

STEP 5: Share your reflections with other youth workers. It can be the case that while collaborating you will come up with new solutions for a more inclusive training environment.

Activity 4.2

Module Title Module 4: Accessibility of information and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities
Activity Title Good practices on accessible websites
Activity Code A4.2
Duration of the Activity (in minutes) 40 minutes
Type of resource Activity sheet
Aim of activity The aim of this activity is to compare different types of websites for their accessibility features in accordance to different types of impairments. You are advised to do the analysis from the user perspective and from the design perspective. When you complete the activity, you will be better prepared to design website content taking into consideration accessibility features (layout, colours, font, among others) and assisting your learners in choosing websites that are adjusted (or can be adjusted) to their special needs.
Materials Required for Activity Laptop or tablet with safe and stable Internet access.
Step-by-step instructions STEP 1: Go to the DARE project website available at which is a good practice of an accessible website.

STEP 2: Explore the features within the accessibility widget and decide which of them are suitable for persons with visual, hearing or physical impairments.

STEP 3: Consult tools for measuring the level of website accessibility. For this purpose you can use the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool and the Color Contrast Accessibility Validator or any other recommendations you find on the Internet. Please note to choose pages that are secure, i.e. begin with https:// or include the icon of a “lock”. Please note to also check the “Accessibility” settings of your device and inside your browser.

STEP 4: Based on the outcomes of the previous steps, choose 3 more websites that you are familiar with or what to investigate, and evaluate their accessibility.

Have you identified any examples of good practices?

STEP 5: As a follow-up to the previous step check some additional good practices of accessible websites from the user perspective and designer perspective.

STEP 6: The final step is to reflect on your overall findings from the website user perspective and designer perspective.

Resource 4.1

Module Title: Module 4: Accessibility of information and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities
Title of Resource: Tools and Techniques for using the web
Resource Code: R4.1
Introduction to the resource:

Webpage with examples of tools and techniques, as well as stories and accessibility features implemented based on the type of disability.
What will you get from using this resource?

This resource introduces techniques and tools that are used by people with disabilities when on the web. You will find out about different solutions for adjusting web browser settings, configurations such as text-to-speech, voice recognition and many more. The stories of people with disabilities and provided examples can be an inspiration for introducing new solutions for the benefit of your learners.
Link to resource:

Tools and techniques in How People with Disabilities Use the Web

Resource 4.2

Module Title: Module 4: Accessibility of information and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities
Title of Resource: Cybersecurity basics
Resource Code: R4.2
Introduction to the resource: Webpage with resources for trainers for the purpose of organizing training on the topic of cybersecurity. All available files are for download.
What will you get from using this resource? The resource introduces material for conducting a training on cybersecurity basics. The trainer is equipped with a lesson plan, handout and presentation to support the training. The resource can also be an inspiration for designing own material related to the topic.
Link to resource: Webpage with Lesson plan, handout and presentation on Cybersecurity basics

Resource 4.3

Module Title: Module 4: Accessibility of information and how to teach young PwVHPI to use the internet safely for mobility and other opportunities
Title of Resource: Operating System and Browser Accessibility Display Modes
Resource Code: R4.3
Introduction to the resource: Article on webpage related to different types of display modes, including dark mode, increased colours mode and other types, facilitating website accessibility especially for persons with visual impairments.
What will you get from using this resource? The resource introduces different types of display modes that can be adjusted to the screens of digital devices. The resource will help to understand the choice of adequate display modes for operating systems and browsers. Trainers will be in a better position to assists learners on accessibility features, especially those with visual impairments.
Link to resource: Operating System and Browser Accessibility Display Modes

For finding out the definition of certain terms with which you may not be familiarised, please read the DARE Practical Guide for Inclusion, the first output DARE project partners developed.


Brotherton, C. (2020). The Userway Web Accessibility Widget – Does It Boost Accessibility? [online] Accessed August 17, 2020

Dreamhost (2020). 10 Ways to Make Your Website Accessible [online] Accessed August 17,2020

Heston, K. (2020). How to Stop Cyber Bullying [online] Accessed September 4, 2020

Marriot, S. (2018). How to explain GDPR in plain English [online] Accessed August 17, 2020

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (2017). How People with Disabilities Use the Web. Diverse Abilities and Barriers [online] Accessed August 28, 2020

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (2016). Accessibility, Usability, and Inclusion [online] Accessed August 17, 2020


A11Y Project (2020). Check your WCAG Compliance [online] Accessed August 28, 2020

Balanskat, A., Blamire, R. and Kefala, S. (2006). The ICT Impact Report: A review of studies of ICT impact on schools in Europe [online] Accessed September 7, 2020 [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

Erasmus+ partner search on Facebook (2013) [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

Erasmus Student Network (2017). Erasmus+ App [online] Accessed August 28, 2020

European Commission (2020). Erasmus+ Project Results Platform [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

European Solidarity Corps (2020). European Solidarity Corps Projects [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

European Youth Portal [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

Federal Trade Commission (2020). Online Security Tips [online] Accessed August 28, 2020

My web my way by BBC [online] Accessed August 17, 2020

NonVisual Desktop Access [online] Accessed August 17, 2020

SALTO-YOUTH [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

Spread project (2018). Sharing good Practices foR European mobility Activities Development [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

WAVE (2020). WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool [online] Accessed August 17,2020

World Health Organization (2020). Assistive technology. Overview. [online] Accessed September 7, 2020

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