If you’ve been wanting to learn how to evaluate websites for accessibility, check out the free Professional Web Accessibility Auditing Made Easy online course that begins May 16, 2016.
The four-week course was developed by Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, in partnership with the Government of Ontario’s EnAbling Change Program.
Intended for web content editors and web developers, the course focuses on improving your knowledge and skills for auditing:
- Web content
- Web applications
for compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as well as your country’s regulations.
What the Course Covers
The course is organized into four modules, each module containing two units.
Each unit has readings, discussion, and hands-on activities, followed by a short self-test. Each module has a quiz that is included in your final course grade.
Here are the modules and units for the course:
Module 1: An Overview of Web Accessibility
Unit 1 Aspects of Web Accessibility Auditing
Unit 2 Introduction to WCAG 2
Module 2: Automated and Manual Testing Strategies
Unit 3 Automated Review Tools
Unit 4 Manual Testing
Module 3: Assistive Technology and User testing
Unit 5 Assistive Technologies
Unit 6 Introduction to User Testing
Module 4: Web Accessibility Audit Reporting
Unit 7 Web Accessibility Reporting
Unit 8 Other Accessibility Standards
I took the Professional Web Accessibility Auditing course earlier this year, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The course was well-organized with useful content and exercises. The instructors were very well-versed in running online courses, and there was lots of information shared about accessibility and auditing.
I came away with all kinds of new resources and an accessibility auditing toolkit for evaluating sites.
A majority of the students worked in higher education. In addition, many students were from Canada, though there was representation from other countries around the world.
We all told our stories about web accessibility from our work and projects. What I enjoyed most about the course:
- Professional level of instruction
- Discussions with the instructors and other students
- Wealth of helpful course resources and content from instructors and fellow students
- Different accessibility requirements for countries around the world
- Guidance on how to approach accessibility auditing
Though the course description indicates you can expect to spend five to eight hours a week on the course, I spent more time due to the readings and discussion.
Not that the readings were overwhelming. But I would read the required readings, which referenced other material, which I would then read.
About the Instructors
The two instructors, Greg Gay and Igor Karasyov, are extremely knowledgeable in web accessibility and web development.
He’s created more than 20 online courses. Gay is very involved in accessibility of information technology research and development projects.
As the web application developer for Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education, Karasyov has extensive experience building all kinds of online applications and websites.
Recently, he’s been involved with promoting and implementing web accessibility standards at The Chang School of Continuing Education.
What You’ll Learn from the Course
From learning the four principles of web accessibility to conducting a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to developing a test protocol, you’ll learn the ins and outs of web accessibility audits.
Here are the objectives from the course description:
- Create an accessibility auditing toolkit
- Identify and apply key accessibility guidelines in WCAG 2.0
- Retrieve WCAG 2.0’s supporting documents when needed
- Employ web-based automated accessibility checkers
- Measure and/or assess web design elements such as color contrast, readability, and others using a range of publicly available test tools
- Test for accessibility using assistive technologies such as the JAWS and ChromeVox screen readers
- Apply easy manual tests to quickly assess accessibility
- Select an appropriate type of web accessibility audit and corresponding reporting strategy aimed at the audience being served
- Recognize relevant accessibility guidelines, standards and specifications and integrate these into accessibility review strategies based on international requirements
If you do take the course, I’d love to hear what you think of it!