Skip to content
Talis Elevate

How we are improving your experience of Talis Elevate to meet the new guidelines

Natalie Naik

At Talis, we take accessibility seriously, whether it’s ensuring contrasts and colours work for all users, or building the product with screen readers in mind.

With new EU Guidelines in place, we’ve put focus on ensuring you are getting the best product experience, whether you require additional accessibility support or not.

You may see changes throughout the Talis Elevate, such as icons, navigation mechanisms, hover states and colours used for visual indicators. For example, see the changes we’ve made to the student analytics view, now introducing shapes as well as colours enabling comparative analysis.


Accessibility needs to consider all aspects of the user experience, from accessible navigation to equitable experience across devices, connections, and environments. With some students managing their university studies from smartphones, we want to ensure that regardless of device, our users can interact with resources and activities as if they were on a desktop on campus. 

Because of this, we wanted to enable simple annotation on mobile and touch screen devices. 

Here’s what you can expect to see in Talis Elevate soon:

Mobile annotation 

Until now, students have been able to reply to annotations already made. To ensure that students are able to fully interact with their course content from mobile, we’re improving the experience of Talis Elevate on smaller touch screen devices.

Soon, students will be able to tap to highlight a word, and drop pins on documents and images. At this point, they’ll be prompted to jump into a new commenting mode on a new tab, built for mobile users.



The experience when replying to comments is similar. If you click on an already highlighted block of text or a pin, that’ll take you to the new reply experience. You can see what is being discussed in this new experience, to make the experience smoother.

Once you’ve saved your annotation, you’ll be notified that the comment has saved, the tab will close and you’ll return to the resource. 

Media player experience 

When consuming media like video or audience using Talis Elevate, we felt it was important that:

  • Students could annotate media items using touch devices such as mobiles or tablets
  • The annotation buttons were clear. Conversation is such a fundamental part of Talis Elevate, so we want this to be front and centre. 
  • Interacting or initiating with annotations using just a keyboard was possible in order to make the tool more accessible for those using assistive technologies such as a screen reader.

We understand that these areas are important in creating an equitable experience for our users, and we will be making some changes to the overall media experience to incorporate these. 

We’re putting the ability to start a comment at the forefront of the experience, to highlight the contribution and annotation aspects of Talis Elevate. Importantly, it means that keyboard users will be able to initiate an annotation via tabbed browsing, and new keyboard shortcuts we will be implementing. 



We will be incorporating a new experience for mobile commenting into the Talis Elevate media player, ensuring that students can annotate and reply in media content. The experience a student will interact with will be defined by the size of the screen, so whilst there are changes to the experience for tablet, phone, desktop and all other iterations, we feel this will be a far improved experience that will continue to remove barriers to entry for students’ engagement.  



Finally, we will be reviewing our keyboard shortcuts, and putting guidance for users within the product, making sure these shortcuts are intuitive and follow standard patterns users are used to (e.g. hit space bar to play and pause a video).


Since lockdown began, we’ve seen the use of Talis Elevate for synchronous annotation activity increase pretty dramatically. We made some adjustments at the beginning of lockdown to better support this, ensuring that comments appear quickly for other students. 

Accessibility and continuous improvement 

As both our products at Talis continue to evolve, we will continue to fine areas to improve around accessibility. This is not a ‘finished’ piece of work, but a core theme of product development in our portfolio, much like fixing bugs or building new features. Watch this space for additional enhancements and features 

Find out more about Talis and accessibility

Read our recent posts on Why Accessibility is Important

Read our Web Accessibility Statement

More from the blog