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February 2009 Contents

UPA Job Bank

UPA 2009


Build your Skills: Web Accessibility Evaluation

Whitney Quesenbery, Sharron Rush, and Paul Sherman

Whitney Quesenbery is the director of UPA's Usability in Civic Life project and a past-president of UPA. Sharron Rush is the director of Knowbility. Paul Sherman is the UPA immediate past president.

Interested in Accessibility?

Are you one of the growing numbers of usability professionals who is interested in accessibility? Looking to expand your usability skills to include evaluating web sites for accessibility? Required to ensure compliance to national standards like "Section 508" or the new international standard from the W3C, Web Content Authoring Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0?

We hear you.

On May 11-12, join other usability professionals in Austin, Texas, at Access U for a professional training program on Web accessibility evaluation. UPA has teamed up with Knowbility to offer a two-day training program and a certificate of attendance.

Like UPA, Knowbility is a non-profit organization with an advocacy mission. They run training programs and other events, which bring together some of the top names in accessibility. This is an opportunity to learn from - and rub shoulders with people - industry experts such as Jim Thatcher and Derek Featherstone.

This collaboration grew out of the 2007 conference, when Knowbility director Sharron Rush was an invited speaker. This isn't just about accessibility. It's about making accessible web sites usable for everyone. It's a natural affinity: ISO acknowledges the relationship by its very definition of accessibility, as "usable by people with disabilities.

The goals of the Web Accessibility Evaluation Certificate training program are to provide usability professionals with a way to:

  • Expand their "toolkit" of professional practice to include accessibility.
  • Understand the standards, guidelines, and US and international laws that apply to accessible information technology.
  • Learn a set of tools and benchmarks to gauge success in the implementation of accessible design goals from a user perspective.
  • Gain skills needed to accurately assess and report on web application compliance to standards and best practices in accessible web design.
  • And prove to their companies that they have gotten the training they need to do all this.

There are advocacy benefits, too. This will raise awareness of accessibility within the usability community and awareness of usability within the accessibility community.

What will the training cover?

Participants in Web Accessibility Evaluation Certificate training will receive a comprehensive overview of the topic of IT accessibility and will be expected to perform practical task-oriented, hands-on exercises throughout each course.

The training program will focus on measuring and evaluating products for accessibility, and how to work with people with disabilities and seniors in usability tests, but will also look at techniques to make technologies and web features, such as Rich Internet Applications (RIA) or web forms, accessible. This is not training in technical development skills, but extends your usability knowledge with the accessibility knowledge you need.

You'll leave with a well-rounded overview, ready to work on evaluating your own web sites with confidence.

A full list of the courses in the curriculum is on the Access U web site.

Ready to sign up?

It's simple. Register for Access U and select the Web Accessibility Evaluation Certification option on the registration form.

End Note:

The Web Accessibility Evaluation Certificate program advisory board is led by Whitney Quesenbery and Paul Sherman (UPA past-presidents) and Sharron Rush (Knowbility), and includes Cindy Lu (UPA Member), Karen Mardahl (STC AccessAbility SIG), Amanda Nance (UPA Board of Directors), Mike Paciello (The Paciello Group), Ginny Redish (Redish & Associates), Sarah Swierenga (MSU Usabilty and Accessibilty Center, UPA representative to TEITAC), Gregg Vanderheiden (The Trace Center), and Kate Walser (SRA and member of TEITAC).


Usability Professionals' Association
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