What challenges can arise when ensuring the accessibility of IT e-learning content created with DITA?

Ensuring the accessibility of IT e-learning content created with DITA is paramount for providing an inclusive and equitable learning experience. However, several challenges can arise in this endeavor, and it’s crucial to address them effectively.

Content Structure and Semantics

One challenge lies in structuring DITA content with the appropriate semantics to ensure accessibility. While DITA offers flexibility, content creators must use semantic elements correctly to define headings, lists, tables, and other content components. Failure to do so can result in assistive technologies misinterpreting the content, affecting how it’s presented to learners with disabilities.

Alternative Text for Multimedia

Incorporating multimedia elements like images, videos, and animations is common in e-learning. However, providing alternative text (alt text) for these elements is vital for accessibility. It can be challenging to maintain consistent alt text descriptions across a large volume of multimedia content. Without proper alt text, learners with visual or cognitive disabilities may miss essential information presented through these media.

Keyboard Navigation and Interaction

Another challenge is ensuring that DITA-based e-learning content can be navigated and interacted with using a keyboard. This is essential for learners who rely on keyboard navigation due to mobility impairments. Ensuring that all interactive elements, such as buttons and forms, can be accessed and used without a mouse is crucial but can be complex to implement at scale.


Here’s an example of providing alt text for an image within DITA:

<image id="example_image" href="image.jpg">
  <alt-text>Illustration of a computer network</alt-text>

In this example, the alt text “Illustration of a computer network” is provided for the image, ensuring that learners with visual impairments receive a meaningful description of the image’s content.