Web Accessibility Training at Media Skills

— 2 minute read

So this week I've spent two days teaching other people the basics of standards and accessibility at one of the University's spin-offs: Media Skills. The course was aptly titled: Getting Up to Standard with Web Accessibility.

Based just down from the Custard Factory at Progress Works, the setting is pleasant (although always further from New Street than I remember). I got a great group of trainees who were all at pretty much the exact level to appreciate the workshop. So I covered markup, web content accessibility guidelines (various versions and errata), techniques, dysabilities of all kinds and the important thing: it's about people.

It's good to run this kind of course, as you get to understand that, yeah, there are people out there who want to learn about best practices, but don't know where to start. As I said on the day, there's no shame in that, the web is young and we're all kinda making this up as we go along...

Overall I was pleased with how it went, and the verbal feedback was great! However there were I few things I've learned and areas I could improve:

I spent too long getting day one's slides right, and so day two's weren't as polished. Still useful, but less elegant. Fortunately the exercises for day two were also better. Which brings me to:

I'm good at exercises. My favourite was "Hello! To! Semantics!", which involved getting the group to pick random pages from Hello Magazine (yes, I bought a copy specially; No, it isn't my standard read). It's a really great exercise for getting people to think about semantics in a practical way. In fact, I recommend it to any web developer as an exercise... Celebrity gossip optional.