Whether you’re a web developer, a front-line staff member or an executive, you may be interested in learning how to enhance the online experience for website visitors and customers with disabilities. With more and more organizations tapping into the disability market – which adds up to more than 60 million North Americans – web accessibility training is becoming an integral part of the overall strategy.
Web accessibility training is a course, workshop or hands-on instruction that can teach you how to ensure that there are no barriers to prevent people with disabilities from using your website and other digital properties.
Digital accessibility is fundamentally important if people with disabilities are to enjoy your goods, services and resources like everyone else. If there are online barriers, such as electronic documents they can’t read, or links they can’t click on, they are effectively prevented from using all aspects of your website. In addition to enhancing the overall customer experience on your site, making digital properties accessible to people with disabilities also ensures that you’re in compliance with anti-discrimination laws, and minimizes risk.
Why Seek Out Web Accessibility Training?
Web accessibility training can help you develop a deeper understanding of how people with disabilities go online and use the Internet, as well as the standards for digital accessibility. Depending on the level of instruction, it will also train you in techniques and tools for incorporating accessibility into your digital properties.
There are many reasons why you might seek out this kind of training.
- To have a stronger understand of the basic principles of web accessibility, why it matters and who it helps, and to learn more about assistive technologies used by people with disabilities.
- To broaden the reach of your organization to include the 19 percent of Americans who have physical disabilities, blindness, deafness, attention deficit disorder, or other disabilities.
- To comply with legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Rehabilitation Act and any state laws banning discrimination.
- To learn about tools and resources that exist to improve web accessibility, and how to use them.
- To develop the technical skills to identify and remediate barriers on your website or in your documents and multimedia.
- To be able to maintain a high standard of accessibility in the future, as technology evolves or your website is modified.
- To ensure that any web-development contractors you enlist will meet or exceed accessibility standards in their work.
- To better advocate for digital accessibility within your own organization, or within your industry sector.
- To aid the development of company accessibility policies.
Web accessibility training can take different forms. Highly technical training in web accessibility is available for web developers and designers, quality assurance personnel, content authors and others with a solid background in digital technology. There is also less technical guidance available for managers and other staff who wish to learn about digital accessibility more generally.
Web accessibility training can be eye-opening, especially for those with little prior disability-related experience or expertise. For those who do already possess some background in accessibility standards, this instruction can fill knowledge gaps.
Learning the Principles of Web Accessibility
The accessibility of websites, apps, browsers and electronic documents follows several basic principles to ensure that they’re usable by people with a broad range of different disabilities. They must be:
- Perceivable. This means that the information, content and interface must all be presented in ways that can be perceived or “taken in” by the user.
- Operable. This means that the navigation, interface and other functions must all be usable, or able to be operated, by everyone.
- Understandable. This means that the information, the content and how the interface is operated can all be understood by the user.
- Robust. This means that the content continues to be accessible even as technology becomes more advanced, and when a variety of assistive technologies are used.
You can expect web accessibility training to start with an overview of these principles and why they’re necessary.
Other Skills You’ll Acquire
Depending again on the level and type of web accessibility training you’ve signed up for, the sessions may also cover:
- An overview of the web accessibility policies and legislation that your organization may be obligated to follow, and what they mean.
- How to use tools like automated validators or checkers to evaluate the accessibility of a website.
- How to incorporate testing by people with disabilities and/or with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, for a more thorough evaluation – and why this matters.
- How to use and understand the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, known as WCAG 2.0.
- Actual techniques and tools for improving the accessibility of your digital properties, including websites, dynamic content and multimedia.
- If the training is highly technical, it will include advanced instruction in creating accessible web content and applications. You’ll also learn how to develop websites that are accessible in a mobile environment. According to the non-profit organization WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind), which conducts surveys of screen reader users, more than two-thirds are now using this assistive technology on a mobile device.1
- How to develop and implement web accessibility policies and practices.
Enroll with the Experts
Web accessibility training, when it’s delivered expertly, can transform the way your organization interacts with the world. Before you sign up, however, make sure you’ll be learning from proven, knowledgeable instructors. Ask about their qualifications and range of services, and request references from satisfied clients. When you take steps to improve your digital accessibility, you’re letting your customers – with and without disabilities – know they are welcomed.
An Innovative Solution
eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY has developed a comprehensive accessibility solution to help organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and achieve and maintain compliance with standards and regulations. This includes integrating web compliance evaluation services with assistive technology to deliver a transformative experience for people with disabilities. Learn more about eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY’s innovative solution.