Resources to Learn and Build Accessibility Knowledge
By: Kristen Smith-O’Connor, Senior Accessibility Subject Matter Expert
Learning accessibility standards, techniques, and testing methodologies can seem overwhelming. You may not know where to start; you may need to refresh your skills; or you may want to find resources to share with colleagues to build accessibility expertise. Below are some of the many resources available to help you on your accessibility journey.
There are several resources you may wish to consider for learning what accessibility is, how users with disabilities interact with content, and overall accessibility knowledge. These resources provide a solid foundation for accessibility beginners:
- Deque’s Accessibility Fundamentals and Accessibility Empathy Lab
- Funka’s Introduction to Accessibility
- Webinars presented by vendors, including: Deque, Level Access, Accessibility Online, 3Play Media.
- The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) offers a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC). Several formal classes are offered through 3rd party vendors in order to prepare for this certification while informal content is offered through IAAP’s website.
- NCRTM offers a Screen Reader Simulation video which demonstrates the difficulties users with screen readers have when reading inaccessible documents.
Accessibility Web Testing:
The Trusted Tester Web Course is an enrollment-based, self-paced, online training course that provides detailed information and instructions, including practice exercises, to prepare students in testing and evaluating ICT products for WCAG 2.0 (Level A and AA), ICT Baseline, and the revised Section 508 Standards. The course provides:
- Test tools, methods, and references;
- Course-specific Knowledge Checks;
- Identifying Content for each WCAG Success Criterion;
- ‘How to Test’ and ‘Evaluation’ procedures for each WCAG success criteria;
- PASS, FAIL, and Does Not Apply examples of each course topic;
- Support through Questions and Answers (Q&A) Boards and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) where students can pose questions and get responses from instructors or review the FAQs to see if their question(s) have been already addressed;
- Summary of exam results; and
- Online and printable course resources to aid students as they go through the exams, such as the Trusted Tester Process for Web document and the AT and Service-Based User Guide.
Accessibility Standards Resource Sites
Informal learning options provide testers with a foundation for self-sufficiency in accessibility. Several common resources for testers include:
- W3.org Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), specifically the How to Meet WCAG (Quick Reference) guide;
- Section 508 ICT Final Standards and Guidelines issued by the U. S. Access Board; and
- Section508.gov Trainings, the General Services Administration’s Government-wide IT Accessibility Program.
Whether you are creating, testing, or remediating documents (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, or Excel), there are a number of resources to help answer questions, walk through test processes, and provide techniques to fix inaccessible content.
- DHS offers a free online and self-paced Authoring Accessible Documents Program training.
The program includes the following courses:
- What Is Section 508 and Why Is It Important? (2 hours)
- Authoring Accessible Microsoft Word Documents (5 hours)
- Authoring Accessible PDF Documents (5 hours)
- Authoring Accessible PowerPoint Documents (5 hours)
- Authoring Accessible Excel Documents (5 hours)
- The Accessible Electronic Documents Community of Practice (AED COP) hosts document training resources.
- NCRTM’s Accessibility Resources website has short videos to help scope creating, testing, and remediating documents for accessibility.
Several resources are available for native mobile application testing, in the form of test scripts, resources guides, and instructions on how to use built-in mobile assistive technology:
- TPG's Mobile Testing Guide
- Accessibilityoz.com has a robust resource list of mobile testing guidance.
- DHS also offers a Accessibility Tests for Mobile Applications for iOS and Android.
HP has released a HP Hardware Accessibility Testing Guide, offering a robust PDF document ensuring hardware testers approach their work from the perspective of the end user and with the understanding that user experiences vary.