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Getting Started with Accessibility and User Experience Testing

taught by: Emanuela Gorla

Session Summary

Accessibility testing can be intimidating for people starting on their accessibility journey. This class will present a method to easily and quickly identify major accessibility issues and opportunities to improve the user experience of websites for all. 


People starting on their accessibility journey may find the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 with its 78 Success Criteria intimidating, and the myriad of usability standards and best practices out there confusing. When it comes to testing content for accessibility, the lack of familiarity with assistive technology and test tools and the inability to read and understand lines of code can deter many from even trying.

This highly interactive and practical class will show attendees how to review websites against a sub-set of WCAG 2.1 requirements to identify issues that are likely to have a major impact on the experience of many people. Use of colour, text resizing, alternatives for multimedia and time limits are just some of the topics that will be covered. No specialised tools or coding skills are required, which makes this test approach suitable for all, from website managers, to designers, to coders, to UX researchers. Focusing on a few checks, it will greatly help those new to accessibility start understanding some of the core requirements from WCAG 2.1 and appreciate the variety of ways in which people interact with websites.

The second half of the class will focus on website user experience and ways to make it as inclusive as possible. Using the Inclusive Design Principles, attendees will be encouraged to examine live websites to identify good and poor practices and come up with creative solutions to improve them. Along the way, they will discover that their suggestions for more inclusive features do not benefit people with a permanent disability only, but all of us. 

By the end of the class, attendees will be able to identify aspects of websites that may pose major barriers to the experience of many people. They will also be able to recognise opportunities for improvements based on the Inclusive Design Principles, and to explain the benefits of inclusive design for all. 

Practical Skills

  • Easily identifying critical accessibility issues on websites
  • Recognising opportunities to improve the user experience for all
  • Understanding that people interact with websites in different ways