Accessibility in Surpass

In the process of the creation and delivery of a test, users of Surpass are often required to consider the accessibility of a test and if all the candidates’ particular requirements have been met. This is done in a number of ways, from creating images with descriptive text (sometimes known as alternative or ALT text) for candidates with visual impairments, to allowing content to be compatible with commonly used screen readers. Surpass allows users to create content suitable for a number of candidate requirements and to mark any test as accessible at the stage of its creation.  This document will describe the definition and purpose of screen readers, screen magnification and ALT text.

Screen Readers

What is it?

A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen. This interpretation is then relayed to the user with text-to-speech, sound icons or a Braille output device.

JAWS screen reader

The JAWS (Job Access with Speech) software program is a popular screen reader which was developed to make personal computers, using Microsoft Windows, accessible to blind and visually impaired users. To use the JAWS screen reader you should use Internet Explorer as your default browser.

Who is it aimed at?

The functionality provided by screen readers aims to make tests accessible to candidates who are blind or visually impaired.

Screen Readers in Surpass

To mark your test as compatible with the JAWS screen reader, when creating a test in the ‘Test Creation’ section of Surpass, select the ‘Certified Accessible’ button in the ‘General Settings’ when editing your test.

Note: Screen readers are not compatible with SecureClient delivery. For information about how to configure the HTML SecureClient for a screen reader, please see the 'Support for HTML Delivery in SecureClient' article.

Refer to the following article for advice on how to create and deliver content suitable for screen readers by clicking HERE.

Screen Magnification


What is it?

A screen magnifier is software used to enlarge screen content, functioning in a similar way to a magnifying glass hovering over the page. The simplest way of magnification is to enlarge a portion of the original screen content, so that it covers some or all of the screen.

This enlarged portion should include the point of focus to the user as well as the pointer or cursor, which should also be suitably enlarged. As the user moves the pointer or cursor, the screen magnifier should track with it and show the new enlarged portion.

Who is it aimed at?

The functionality provided by screen readers aims to make tests accessible to candidates who are visually impaired with low vision and other groups of candidates who may benefit from magnified content, such as the elderly.  

It is important to ensure that candidates who will be using accessibility software, such as a screen magnifier, are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the software, helping to avoid any difficulties arising during the exam itself which may put the candidate at a disadvantage to other candidates.

Screen Magnifiers in Surpass

A number of screen magnifiers can be used with Surpass. Screen magnifiers tested to be fully compatible with Surpass web delivery are:

• Windows Magnifying Software

• Magnifying Glass

Note: In order to use Windows Magnifier in SecureClient (lockdown mode), the application must be opened before SecureClient is launched. The windows key and '+' key can be selected to initially open the Magnifier application, before the candidate's keycode has been entered. It is important to note that once the candidate has started the test, if they close the Magnifier application they will not be able to relaunch this. 

Alternative (ALT) Text

What is it?

ALT Text is associated with and serves as the text equivalent for an image and conveys the same essential information as the image itself. The ALT text is inserted as an attribute into HTML code and can be used by the ‘screen reader’ software to allow visually impaired users to listen to the alternative text.

Who is it aimed at?

ALT text is aimed at candidates with visual impairments or candidates whose images do not display in their web browser.

ALT Text in Surpass

You can associate ALT text with your images in the Media Library of your subject. Select the image and navigate to the bottom of the page where you can simply type the text alternative for the image.

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