What Impact do the Accessibility Features of Colour and Contrast, Text-to-speech, and Magnification in ePublications Have on Undergraduate Students’ Ability to Retain Information?


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Samantha Stante


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The purpose of this research study was to discover if ePublications with the accessibility features of contrast, text-to-speech, and magnification benefited undergraduate students in the retention of information from required readings. Participants of this research study consisted of twenty Ryerson University undergraduate students from all four years of study.

To conduct this research, two documents were created that were to be read by participants of the study. The first ePublication testing document was a PDF without accessibility features, whereas the second ePublication document was in the format of an .iBook. The second document incorporated the three accessibility features under examination throughout this study: colour and contrast, text-to-speech, and magnification. Each document that was read had a corresponding ten-question multiple choice test administered through Google Forms. All participants were given four options for each question. Both assessments required the participant to answer all ten questions to the best of their abilities based on their reading comprehension, to test their information retention on either document. The third assessment of this research was an opinion questionnaire formatted as a Google Form, which participants were asked to answer after the completion of the previous two tests.

All data, both from the testing documents and the opinion form, were analyzed using Microsoft Excel, 2018 version. It was recorded that the average score on the multiple-choice test was 82% after students read the accessible document. In contrast, the average of the multiple-choice test was 59.5% after the students read the non-accessible document. The T-Test results demonstrated that the probability of the non-accessible and accessible reading and testing results was 0.00139, equivalent to 0.14%. As a result, accessibility features in ePublications should be implemented within the documents students receive as a required course reading.

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