Accessibility training for IT professionals – building empathy through problem solving

Why should we make everyone learn about accessibility? Traditionally, if accessibility was considered at all, it has been seen as the responsibility of a particular individual or team who developed the specialist knowledge required. In fact, it is best practice to make sure that everyone is aware of accessibility requirements, whatever their job role.

The alternative is that when one person picks up on the need, they have to kick it back ‘up the chain’ for accessibility to be built in at the point(s) it was missed. Double-handling is never a good policy, and universal accessibility awareness will help to avoid that.

Not everyone needs to develop an in-depth understanding of all aspects of accessibility provision. This guide explains how individuals working in an IT role can impact the accessibility of the organisation’s products, and where to go for help in making that a positive impact.

The basic requirements that should be covered in IT accessibility training are:

  • What is meant by accessibility, and how many people need some form of adjustments
  • Personal anecdotes about the effect of their condition from users. (Highly recommended – it brings the subject to life)
  • Demonstrations of how various assistive software packages work, and how much of their functionality can be delivered through browser settings
  • The economic, legal and moral reasons for meeting accessibility requirements
  • The standards required by your organisation
  • Delivering accessibility through design and code
  • Empathy training
  • Accessibility testing
  • Sources of advice and guidance (i.e. your organisation’s Accessibility experts)

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