Digital Frog International: A Promising Practice in Designing Accessible Educational Software
Digital Frog International, the award winning software company known for their interactive frog dissection programs and their digital field trip series, has created their first fully accessible software title.
The Digital Field Trip to the Rainforest explores the Blue Creek Rainforest Reserve in Belize, Central America. Rather than adding features to an existing product to make it accessible, this company built the field trip from the ground up. The developers incorporated features to allow the software to be used by all users, resulting in what has been reported to be "one of the most advanced and accessible educational programs ever."
According to the product website, the Digital Field Trip to The Rainforest AT accommodates different learning styles and abilities, multiple intelligences, as well as visual and motor skill problems. A single keystroke changes the program from standard to AT mode. The program includes the following features:
Full text-to-speech, audio instructions and photo descriptions guide students who are blind through the rainforest and its ecology.
Full keyboard access to all features and functions open up the program to the blind and physically challenged. Every screen was reconsidered to allow users to get the most out of The Digital Field Trip to The Rainforest AT, whether they use a mouse or keyboard.
Videos in the program all have closed-captioning to ensure that students who are deaf do not miss any information.
Digital Frog International provides a promising practice in developing biology and ecology software that is universally designed from beginning to end.
For more information on legal issues, accessibility guidelines, and resources for making software accessible to individuals with disabilities consult the DO-IT publication, Designing Software that is Accessible to Individuals with Disabilities.