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

Ensuring the accessibility of maritime safety e-learning content created with DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) is crucial to provide inclusive training experiences for all learners. However, several challenges can arise when addressing accessibility in DITA-based content.

Structured Content Complexity

DITA’s structured content approach, while excellent for content organization and reuse, can introduce complexity when striving for accessibility. Ensuring that every component, such as headings, lists, and links, is correctly tagged and marked up for screen readers and assistive technologies can be challenging, especially in large and intricate training materials.

Multimedia Accessibility

Maritime safety training often includes multimedia elements like videos and simulations. Making these multimedia components accessible to learners with disabilities is essential. However, DITA’s native support for multimedia accessibility is limited, and additional steps are often required to provide alternatives, captions, and transcripts for these elements.

Consistency in Accessibility Standards

Maritime safety e-learning content might need to adhere to specific accessibility standards or regulations depending on the region or audience. Ensuring consistency in meeting these standards across all DITA-based modules and topics can be challenging. It requires meticulous testing and validation to guarantee compliance.


Here’s an example of how DITA content might need to be enhanced for accessibility:

<topic id="emergency_procedures">
  <title>Emergency Procedures</title>
      <title>Evacuation Drills</title>
      <p>Ensure that all crew members participate in regular evacuation drills.</p>
      <media type="video" src="evacuation_drill.mp4" alt="Evacuation Drill Video" />

In this example, additional accessibility markup, such as an alternative text (“alt”) for the video, would be needed to make the content accessible to users with disabilities.