Far too often, accessibility is treated as an afterthought. A product manager goes to make some software or a website, and they unconsciously have a non-disabled person in mind when they build it. Occasionally, someone pipes up and asks the question, “What about accessibility?” but by then, the structure is already established and changing it is more challenging.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day has just passed us by, but there’s 364 more days in the year where anyone involved in development should be thinking about accessibility. That’s also another 364 days where disabled people are certainly thinking about how accessible your website and products are, even if you’re not (and that’s one in four people in the United States, FYI).
Make thinking about accessibility a natural part of your culture processes when it comes to development and product design. To help with building that culture, we’ve gathered some resources you can use to get started.
WAVE - Website Accessibility Evaluation Tools
If you’re trying to make your website accessible, WAVE is a great first port of call. There are browser extensions, API and testing engines, and accessibility report features.
Here at Pluralsight, we held a four week academy course for internal employees on “Using WAVE to Make Websites Accessible”. The result was a great success, creating a small cadre of internal accessibility champions who took their skills back to teams and products. You can learn more about the event and how you can use it as a blueprint for your own organization.
Listen to this podcast on going beyond just compliance
Elsa Vane is an advocate for disability rights, has written and taught on the subject, and now works at Pluralsight as an Accessibility Specialist. Take half an hour out of your day to listen to her podcast on how organizations can go beyond the “letter of the law” of accessibility compliance, and why this is important.
If you’re less of a listener and more of a reader, we highly recommend this article, “5 ways to make websites accessible for blind or low vision customers.”
Perform a Accessibility Skills Assessment
Pluralsight has created a free “Developing Websites for Accessibility” Skill IQ assessment. You can check it out (and other skill assessments) and then use the results to figure out where you might have some knowledge gaps. If you’re a team leader, you can also use it to see where your whole team sits in terms of accessibility knowledge.
For non-coders, check out these courses on accessibility
Accessibility needs to be thought about at all levels to be successful, and so here are some short, on-demand courses that only take a few hours and help immensely with improving your knowledge about inclusivity.
- Brian Treese’s 2.5-hour course Developing Websites for Accessibility: Getting Started
- Gerard Cohen’s 1.5-hour course Accessibility: Testing and Screen Reader Use
For those with a coding background, check out these courses
- Gerard Cohen’s Meeting Web Accessibility Guidelines (Section 508/WCAG 2.1)
- Fiona Holder’s Making a Web Form Accessible
- Anthony Alampi’s Creating Accessibility-friendly Applications
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