Understand Web Accessibility

A 1-day Web Accessibility Course on Disability Awareness, Standards and Compliance — ACU

Accessibility Training Course Overview

This 1-day website accessibility training course provides the essential background knowledge for implementing good web accessibility:

  1. Understanding the requirements of different disabled users
  2. Understanding problems conventional web designs cause disabled users
  3. Understanding requirements of UK law and web accessibility standards, e.g.
    • The Disability Discrimination Act
    • The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
    • The W3C’s Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA)

This course provides the background knowledge required for the more technically oriented follow-on course in Implementing Website Accessibility.

Both courses are typically taken together as a single 2-day package called Website Accessibility Fundamentals, but we offer them independently to meet the full range of client requirements.

For example, many business people need to know what the law and industry standards require of accessible websites, without necessarily needing to know how to code the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. This standalone 1-day web accessibility course is suitable for that purpose.

Course contents — 1 Issues & needs

  • Why bother with website accessibility?
  • Types of website accessibility, for whom?
  • Different disability needs, e.g.
    • Deaf,Hard-of-hearing, impaired
    • Blind, visually-impaired, poor sight
    • Mobility, motor disabilities
    • Mental and learning disabilities
    • The elderly
    • etc
  • Tensions between the accessibility needs of different groups
  • Shared and common accessibility problems
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Web accessibility and ‘non-web’ accessibility
  • Website accessibility standards
  • Website accessibility tools and technologies
  • Browser and platform compatibility

Course contents — 2 Assistive Technologies

  • What is assistive technology?
  • The tools that different disability groups use, e.g.
    • Screen readers and aural interfaces
    • Braille displays
    • Switch-click input devices
    • TDD/TTYs
    • Modified keyboards, mice and similar input devices
    • Magnifiers
    • OCR
    • Speech recognition
    • Touch screens
    • Head/eye control
    • Word prediction and correction
  • How assistive technologies interface with web browsers
    • Input vs. output
    • Keyboard vs. mouse commands
  • Web design principles for supporting assistive technology, e.g.
    • Redundancy and progressive enhancement
    • Equal value to mouse and keyboard
    • Text alternatives to graphic content
    • Orientation and focus
    • etc.

Course contents — 3 Legal and Web Standards

  • Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • Legal liabilities and remedies
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
  • The Government Office for Disability Isssues (ODI)
  • EHRC Powers and DDA enforcement
  • Website design codes of practice
  • PAS 78: Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites
  • Remedies outside the courts
  • The Web Accessibility Initiative project (WAI)
  • The WAI’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  • Key requirements of the WCAG
  • 3 Levels of WCAG compliance: A, AA, AAA
  • Relationship between the WCAG and UK Government guidelines
  • Accessible web applications vs. accessible content

Course contents — 4 Policy, Tools & Testing

  • Deciding what types and levels of accessibility to provide
    • External constraints, e.g. contracts, partners, brand
    • Internal constraints, e.g. current skills, technologies, branding
  • Thinking strategically — getting from here to there
  • Publishing site policy and accessibility features
  • WCAG and compliance testing
    • Automated tests: Cynthia, Bobby, Web Exact, etc.
    • Manual checks and checklists
  • Problems unique to web applications
    • Dynamic graphics and labelling
    • Asynchronous updates
    • Update notification
    • Switching focus
    • Information vs. distraction
    • etc …
  • Brief intro to the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA)

Course Objectives

On completing this website accessibility training course, you will be able to:

  • Recognise the problems disabled users encounter with conventional web design
  • Recognise the differing needs of various disabled user groups
  • Understand the basic principles of accessible web design
  • Understand your responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • Understand the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  • Understand the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA)
  • Understand what you need to do to bring a website up to a given level of standards compliance
  • Formulate your accessibility strategy and targets
  • Specify your requirements for an accessible site build or re-build

Target Audience

  • Web designers
  • Web developers
  • Web accessibility and usability advocates
  • Managers and HR professionals with web accessibility responsibilities

Training Pre-requisites

  1. A very basic understanding of principles of HTML tagging and CSS styling
  2. Basic computer literacy
  3. An interest in web accessibility

Note: Although web design skills are distinctly advantageous, delegates are not required to have practical experience coding HTML — understanding the basic principles is sufficient.

Training Style

Although this course does contain hands-on practical exercises, the amount and quality of such work is limited by both the informational nature of the course content and by the intrinsic difficulty of putting able-bodied students in the exact position of disabled web users.

We ask students to navigate and interact with web sites using text-only and audio-based browser software (screen readers) — which invariably questions the taken for granted assumptions of most web design — but we don’t expect students to achieve any significant competence in using specialised assistive technology. The tools are simply too complex, and the time too short for that.

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