Part of being inclusive means making sure your content is accessible. But if you don’t know much about accessibility, it can seem daunting. Not sure where to start? Here are eight FREE resources for learning about accessibility.
When in doubt, remember Principle 9 of the Inclusive Learning Pledge: “We won’t let pursuit of perfection get in the way of progress.” If you’re scared you won’t get it right, at least start with the easy things, because something is better than nothing.
Learn the Basics
Site: Accessibility 101
Description from website: This course is intended to increase understanding and awareness of accessibility in the context of information technology (I.T.), and to provide individuals with skills and resources necessary to address these issues on their own campus.
Notes: This free course consists of seven modules that provide an overview of accessibility, challenges and principles, assistive technology, laws related to accessibility, benefits of accessible technology, roles and responsibilities, and more.
Learn Fundamentals of Web Accessibility
Description from website: This course gives you the foundation in accessibility you need to excel in digital professions. It is designed for developers, designers, content authors, project managers, people with disabilities, and others. In this course, you will learn about the international standards for web accessibility from the W3C – including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and WAI-ARIA for Accessible Rich Internet Applications – and first steps in applying them.
You will also learn the broad scope of web accessibility, how people with disabilities use different assistive technologies and adaptive strategies, the business benefits of web accessibility, and where to find W3C resources on implementing accessibility.
Notes: The current session started February 5. Access to the free version ends March 5, so if you want to audit the class, get started now! You’ll need to commit 4 to 5 hours per week for 4 weeks. If you want to earn a certificate, you can pay $99 and have access through June 30. (Many thanks to Dr. Saeide Mirzaei for sharing this one!)
Dig into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Description from website: Understanding documents provide detailed explanations for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines and success criteria. They are informative, not part of the “normative” WCAG standard. For information, see About WCAG Understanding Documents
Notes: This site lets you explore each WCAG criterion in depth to understand its intent, benefits, uses, and techniques for meeting the criterion. Of all the resources for learning about accessibility in this post, you should definitely bookmark this one, because you’ll be returning to it again and again.
Learn How to Create Accessible eLearning
Description from website: Get quick access to all our best content about accessibility in eLearning.
Notes: This is a collection of articles about accessibility for eLearning, including topics specific to Storyline 360, Storyline 3, and Rise 360. It’s a perfect primer for eLearning developers and instructional designers who work with Articulate products.
Dig Deeper and Train Others
Description from website: This resource provides teaching modules to help you create courses on digital accessibility, or to include accessibility in other courses. The modules cover accessibility foundations that apply broadly, and specific skills for developers, designers, content authors, and others.
Notes: These instructional materials are provided under a Creative Commons license and can be adapted to develop your own courses and resources for learning about accessibility, as long as you attribute the source.
Develop Accessible Web Content
Site: W3C Tutorials
Description from website: This collection of tutorials shows you how to develop web content that is accessible to people with disabilities, and that provides a better user experience for everyone. The tutorials cover various accessibility topics, based on common tasks in web projects. For example, they show you how to provide accessible images and tables using a variety of web technologies, including HTML4, HTML5, CSS3, WAI-ARIA, MathML, and SVG. The concepts and techniques explained in the tutorials apply to other formats as well.
Notes: These tutorials are best suited for those who are actually coding web content (as opposed to using authoring tools like Storyline or Captivate). Topics include page structure, menus, images, tables, forms, and carousels.
Learn About Section 508
Site: Section 508 Training
Description from website: The following self-paced courses provide an overview of key aspects of IT accessibility.
- Section 508 Awareness
- Accessibility of ICT: An Overview for Government Executives
- Section 508: What It Is and Why It’s Important
- Micro-Purchases and Section 508 Requirements
- Technology Accessibility Playbook: How to Build an Effective Section 508 Program
Notes: These courses are designed for those who work in or with the U.S. federal government. The site also provides training videos including ones focused on creating accessible Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, spreadsheets.
Description from website: The Trusted Tester Training Track provides a path to earn the Trusted Tester certification for web on the windows platform. Students will learn about the Section 508 Standards applicable to the web, how to install and use web accessibility test tools, and how to apply the Trusted Tester process for testing web sites and web applications for conformance to the Revised Section 508 standards, released in January 2017.
Upon completion of Trusted Tester Track, students will be able to identify the Section 508 standards for web, utilize the tools and test process to evaluate websites and web applications for conformance to the Revised Section 508 standards. Students that score a 90 or better on the Trusted Tester – Certification Exam will obtain their Trusted Tester Certification for Web.
Notes: The DHS Trusted Tester Program focuses on training participants to test web content for compliance with accessibility standards. It is recommended for those who work with the U.S. federal government but can be beneficial for others as well. It is an online program with a significant time commitment (85+ hours). Each course must be completed within a specified timeframe. Other accessibility certifications exist that are perhaps more comprehensive, but this one is free and well-respected.
To recap, here’s the list of all eight free resources for learning about accessibility:
- Accessibility 101
- edX Introduction to Web Accessibility Course
- All WCAG 2.1 Understanding Docs
- All About Accessibility (E-Learning Heroes)
- W3C Curricula on Web Accessibility
- W3C Tutorials
- Section 508 Training
- DHS Trusted Tester Program
I have many accessibility resources bookmarked and will be organizing those to share when I get a chance. You can find many of them in the related posts listed below. If you know of some fabulous resources for learning about accessibility, share them in the comments!