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Practical Accessibility

Practical Accessibility is a self-paced, get-right-down-to-it online video course for web designers and developers who want to start creating more accessible websites and applications today

A headshot of Sara taught by Sara Soueidan

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Video Transcript

Introduction to the Practical Accessibility Course

Accessibility can be straight-up difficult and intimidating. How do you get started? Where do you start? How do you know if what you’ve built is accessible? How do you fix accessibility issues when they come up? I know how hard it is to find answers, and how easy it is to mess up. I know how overwhelming and even frustrating accessibility may feel at first. But I promise you, accessibility isn’t always as hard as it seems (especially if you know where and when to start!). And my goal with this course is to make it friendlier and more approachable.

If you’re a design engineer, a designer who works with engineers and who maybe knows some HTML and CSS, a front-end developer, a JavaScript developer, or a back-end developer who struggles with getting accessibility right, then this course is for you.

Practical Accessibility is the culmination and distillation of years of my experience in learning, developing, and teaching about web accessibility. I’ve trained dozens of designers and engineers at events and in-house over the past few years, and have gathered feedback about common pain points, knowledge gaps, mistakes, and “wishlists” designers and engineers had when it comes to accessibility. In this course, I will give you the essential, evergreen knowledge you need to gain a deep understanding of accessibility, so that you can more confidently build websites and applications that are more inclusive of people with disabilities.

By understanding how things work from the ground up, you can anticipate places where you may create barriers to access and avoid them in your work, as well as fix or remove existing barriers in your current codebase.

If you’re a developer, your accessibility knowledge will help improve your collaboration with designers, and will enable you to diagnose issues in the design as early as possible, and suggest alternative approaches.

If you’re a designer who dabbles with HTML and CSS, your knowledge will help you understand how your design decisions affect the accessibility and usability of your products, as well as understand technical accessibility requirements and constraints so you can make more inclusive design decisions, as well as collaborate more efficiently with the engineers on your team (which can make you your engineering team’s favorite designer!)

In this course, you will find answers to questions like:

  • What is the thought process for building accessible components from scratch?
  • Do I need JavaScript to make this accessible?
  • How do I know which HTML element to choose? And Why should/shouldn’t I use this element?
  • When do I reach for ARIA versus native HTML?
  • How do I navigate the ARIA and WCAG documents?
  • How does CSS affect accessibility?

The course is very practical (hence, the name!). You will get a tonne of actionable insights that you can take away and start applying in your own projects right away to make them more accessible.

The course currently includes more than 35 videos and approximately 15 hours of in-depth lessons (that’s two full-day workshops worth of content!) covering:

  • Accessibility vs inclusivity vs usability. What the difference between them is, how people with disabilities access the web, and how this knowledge can help guide and improve how you design and develop your websites and applications.
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG will be your north star when you’re designing and developing for accessibility, but it will not be your final destination! You’ll learn everything you need to know about WCAG and you’ll learn how to navigate and use the very helpful supporting documents in your day-to-day work.
  • The accessibility tree and accessibility APIs (AAPIs). Your secret accessibility weapon. The accessibility tree will give you insights into how accessible your code is. You’ll learn everything you need to know about using it to find common accessibility issues in your everyday work.
  • Setting up your screen reader testing environment on your machine. A big part of your work as an accessibility developer will involve testing your work with the assistive technologies that your users use to access your content. We’ll walk through setting up a screen reader testing environment on your machine.
  • Semantic HTML. HTML is extremely powerful if you know how to use it. And believe it or not, there’s more to it than choosing the right element to represent your content. HTML is only as accessible as you write it. And choosing the right element is not always enough. You’ll understand why semantic HTML is important but you’ll do so from an angle that is quite different from the one you’re used to seeing! You’ll learn how to use HTML the way it was intended to be used to get the most out of its inherent accessibility.
  • Responsible ARIA. ARIA is a powerful tool, but unless used wisely and responsibly, it can literally make your content inaccessible. We’ll take a (very) deep dive into ARIA attributes, how to use them, when to use them, and, most importantly, when not to.
  • Techniques for hiding content inclusively. There are different types of invisibility, and each type affects the accessibility of the content in a different way. We’ll cover all the different techniques for hiding content using HTML, CSS, and using ARIA, and you’ll understand the pros and cons of each technique so you can choose the appropriate one(s) for your components.
  • Accessible names and descriptions. All you need to know about accessible names and descriptions — why they are important, the different techniques (there are at least 3–5!) you can provide names to elements, what happens when no name is provided to an element, and what happens when conflicting names are provided. This will help you fix common accessibility issues and avoid new ones in your codebase.
  • Accessible images. Everything you need to know about writing effective alt text for images.
  • Accessible forms. We’ll discuss grouping and labeling form fields, providing instructional cues and descriptions, accessible form validation, and how to make form validation more efficient and helpful for your users.
  • Accessible notifications using ARIA live regions. If you’re creating Single Page Applications (SPA’s), you’ll probably need to notify your users of some dynamic content updates when they happen. We’ll discuss the accessible notification system provided by ARIA, and how to use it responsibly.
  • Keyboard accessibility including providing navigational aid for keyboard users, designing WCAG-conformant focus indicators, and managing focus in custom interactive components.
  • Forced Colors Modes. You’ll learn how to prepare your content for forced colors mode by avoiding common HTML and CSS mistakes that make it inaccessible in these environments, and we’ll discuss simple but effective tips for further optimizing your content and custom ARIA widgets to ensure they remain usable in these environments.

Throughout the course, we will alternate between both theoretical and practical chapters. The theoretical chapters are essential to your accessibility knowledge, and will give you a deep and solid understanding of the What and Why of accessibility. But while they are theoretical in nature, they provide high practical value.

Then we will go over the How. We will walk through the process of building common UI patterns (such as a navigation, pagination, accordion, custom button, toolbar) step by step, using the learnings from each chapter.

You will learn not only what to do but also what not to do. I will share with you my thought process for writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript more responsibly, to create more inclusive design patterns. And I will recommend tried-and-true practices for creating common design patterns in an accessible way.

Throughout the course, you will learn about useful tools that you can use in your day-to-day work. We will focus less on the tools themselves, though, and more on equipping you with the knowledge to understand why you’re using a specific tool, and how to use it to find and fix accessibility issues in your code.

By the end of the course, you will be armed with the knowledge, techniques, and resources to:

  • Quickly identify common accessibility issues when they come up.
  • Fix existing accessibility issues in your current project(s).
  • Implement more accessible user interfaces from scratch.
  • Feel more confident in your skills and your ability to create websites and applications that work for people with disabilities.
  • Become an accessibility champion and make a positive impact on the Web and the world!

What you’ll get

  • ~15 hours of (captioned) videos

    The course contains around 15 hours of video content. (That’s two full-day workshops worth of content!) The course is English spoken, and closed captions are available in English. (More languages will be added in the future.)

  • Video and Text

    The content is available in two formats: video and text. If you prefer text over video, you can read the course and still get everything out of it that you would get from watching the videos. It’s like having your own online accessibility book / reference!

  • Reading experience optimized for legibility

    Read the course in a font face optimized for legibility and accessibility. And customize your reading experience by switching between a light mode and a dark mode at your convenience.

  • Buy once, access forever

    This course is a one-time purchase. Once you buy it, it’s yours forever. You’ll also get free access to content updates, as well as all new content that will be added to it in the future.

  • Access whenever, wherever

    Take this course in your office, at home, or on-the-go. Go through the course content at your own time and your own pace. Binge watch the videos in one go, or watch them over the course of days or weeks.

  • Accessibility toolkit

    I curated a selection of useful accessibility documentation, checklists, cheatsheets, tools, and resources for you to have handy and use in your day-to-day work.

  • Free, 6-months unlimited access to Assistiv Labs

    When you buy the course, you’ll get a complementary, 6-months unlimited trial to Assistiv Labs—“The Browserstack of accessibility testing”—to start testing your work with more screen readers using your favorite modern browser.

  • Evergreen accessibility knowledge!

    You’ll acquire deep, evergreen knowledge and skills that you can apply today and in the future to make your digital products and services more accessible to people with disabilities.

What course enrollees are saying

As someone who has been hearing impaired since birth I always appreciate subtitles and written notes with good contrast. @SaraSoueidan's accessibility course is really well done.
Nothing is missing. Glad I preordered it.

Karim Jordan

Karim Jordan, Web developer

I can't begin to describe the amazing quality of @Sara Souidan's 'Practical Accessibility' course.

I knew a lot but still learnt a lot [..] It's rich, full of wisdom...and practical. So good!

Ahmed Khalifa

Ahmed Khalifa, Digital Experience Manager

I'm going through Sara's course right now too and it's definitely one of the most thorough and comprehensive l've taken. I've learnt so much, even about things I thought I knew pretty well.

Emma Dawson

Emma Dawson, Full stack software developer

I'm going through @SaraSoueidan's Practical Accessibility course and it's SO informative and helpful. I want to build an accessible navigation and hamburger menu, and there's an entire lesson on it! Highly recommend this course

Jessica Chan

Jess Chan | Coder Coder

[The Practical Accessibility course] covers the most important need-to-know things about how to build accessible websites and web apps. I got a sneak peek, and can confirm it's fantastic. 💯

Josh Comeau

Josh Comeau, Indie hacker and educator

I love the way Sara explains everything so clearly, the text transcripts, the table of contents for each video, and the sequence she chose to present each topic.

Although I'm slowly marking the videos as complete, I can see myself returning to them later. It's really evergreen material.

Andrea de Souza, Front-end web developer

Compré el early access y debo decir que vale la pena cada centavo. Si quieren aprender de ally, este es un curso muy completo.

Este curso soporta Purchase Parity Program, así que es asequible. De verdad no se van a arrepentir

Cristian Díaz

Cristian Díaz, Front-End developer

@SaraSoueidan's new accessibility course just launched. I got early access and can tell you it's worth every penny. Accessibility is a broad topic, but Sara manages to give very practical advice for people doing the work of building digital products.

Jesse Gardner

Jesse Gardner, Director, User Research at New York State Information Technology Services (NYSITS)

I'm finally going through @SaraSoueidan's Practical Accessibility course, and now I want to redo every website I have ever made.

But seriously, I make a lot of notes and future projects will benefit greatly from everything I'm going to do better from now on. It's really great and clears up a lot of knowledge gaps and uncertainties I had.

Lene Saile

Lene Saile, Web designer and front-end developer

Halfway through @SaraSoueidan's Practical Accessibility course.

It's fantastic.

I'm already preparing future talks based on some of this content.

Clark Gunn

Clark Gunn, Front-end engineer

Really excited to get started with @SaraSoueidan's new course, Practical Accessibility today. Sara's one of the people I look to and trust most when seeking advice about how best to build websites that work well for the widest audience possible. This is certain to be one of the absolute best ways to train yourself and your team how to build accessibly on the web.

Scott Jehl

Scott Jehl, Web developer

Le kiffe en suivant la formation Practical Accessibility de @SaraSoueidan, c'est d'entendre le coq qui chante derrière 🐓
Sinon c'est très bien fichu et pleins de ressources pour creuser chaque chapitre.

Érick Gardin

Érick Gardin, Web developer

Recommending practical-accessibility.today by @SaraSoueidan. Best introductory #a11y #webdev resource I come along so far.

Florian Geierstanger

Florian Geierstanger, Front-end developer

I am very impressed and grateful for the thoroughness, but very concise, explanations. Already, a couple chapters in, my existing accessibility knowledge is rapidly consolidating.

Chris Satchell

Chris Satchell, Experienced web developer at NVISION

I bought this course with my own money, so, #NotSponsored, and I can 200% recommend it to any developer who wants to start learning about accessibility.

Stephanie Walter

Stephanie Walter, UX Researcher & Inclusive Designer

I've been watching @SaraSoueidan's "Practical Accessibility" course for a while now and have learned a lot of new things. But the chapters on accessible form validation blew my mind. I always thought it would be enough to use the standard HTML5 validation. But there are so many more measures you *could* and even *should* take. 🤯 #accessibility.

Albrecht Köhnlein

Albrecht Köhnlein, Developer

Sara has levelled up my web accessibility knowledge way more than I thought was possible, and this is one of the most rewarding courses I've ever taken. The high-quality content combined with a passionate teaching style makes this an absolute joy to go through.

If you work on the web, your users will appreciate you taking this course. The theory is great, but that's not all, as there's a comprehensive set of actions that you can start applying to your websites right now. Thank you for this excellent course!

Umar Hansa

Umar Hansa, Web developer

[Sara] is one of those people who has the discipline and eye to make everything they release of the absolute highest quality. It’s inspiring — and for that reason, I’ve already purchased access to this new course.

I watched Chapter 1 last night and, if it’s foreshadowing the rest of the course, my expectations have already been exceeded.

Jim Nielsen

Jim Nielsen, Designer and Front-end Engineer,
"Get You Some Practical Accessibility"

Portrait of Sara.

Hey, I’m Sara, the creator of this course.

I’m an award-winning independent inclusive design engineer, author, speaker, and trainer. I’ve been working at the intersection of design and engineering for 10 years, and have been focusing on inclusive design and accessibility for more than half of that time now.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve led inclusive UI development for clients like Herman Miller, SuperFriendly, and Khan Academy. Since 2014, I have presented and delivered talks and keynotes at dozens of events worldwide, and have led workshops at conferences, as well as in-house for companies like Netflix, Telus, and the Royal Schiphol Group at Amsterdam Airport.

When I started with accessibility, I felt overwhelmed and wasn't always sure where to look to find the information that I needed. There are a lot of W3C docs, and several versions of these docs. There was also a lot of information scattered among blogs, Github repositories, and books. I wanted to learn, but I needed direction.

You are here right now because you may be in a similar place to where I was a few years ago. Whether that’s the case or not, you’re here because you want to learn. You’re here because you are responsible and because you care. And this is why I have created this course.

I have distilled years of my work and experience into this course, in the hopes that it will save you the amount of time and effort that I had to spend when I was learning accessibility, so that you can spend that time and effort designing, building, as well as advocating for accessibility within your team and your community.

I hope to welcome you on board soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this course for?

The course is primarily aimed at front-end designers & developers, and JavaScript engineers, as well as back-end developers who fiddle with front-end code and want to make sure they do so in an inclusive manner. Whether you write your HTML or CSS yourself, or you use a JavaScript framework to produce them for you, you should ensure that the code that powers your websites and applications is accessible.

The content of the course is focused on technical accessibility requirements and implementations. It does not currently address visual UI/UX accessibility requirements (like typography and colors). But if you’re a designer who knows some HTML and CSS , this course can help you understand technical accessibility requirements and constraints so you can make more inclusive design decisions, as well as collaborate more efficiently with the engineers on your team (which may make you your engineering team’s favorite designer!) You’re the ideal audience of the course if you are:

  • a developer who wants to understand accessibility and implement Web user interfaces that work for people with disabilities
  • a design engineer working closely with designers, diagnosing accessibility issues in the design before they make it to implementation
  • a designer who works closely with developers (who ideally also knows some HTML and CSS) and wants to level-up their accessibility knowledge and improve their collaboration with engineers

Can I take this course if I am a complete beginner in accessibility?

Yes! The course is 100% beginner-friendly. I designed the course to be inclusive of individuals with little or no prior accessibility experience. So, you don’t need any prior accessibility knowledge to take it.

That being said, the content of the course starts with the basics of each topic covered, and builds up to more advanced concepts. We will discuss different accessibility topics in-depth, and we will tackle some of them from angles that may be different from what you are used to.

If you’re a beginner in accessibility, you will acquire the knowledge that will make an accessibility champion within your team. 🎖

And if you’re already comfortable with accessibility and just want a good refresher, I’m confident that you’ll find a lot of value in it, and you will probably even learn a few new things!

Do I need to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript?

You should have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS to get the most out of the course. We cover high-level JavaScript functionality for some of the design patterns we will build. You should know JavaScript if you want to create some of the custom widgets yourself, but you don’t need to be proficient with JavaScript to follow along in the course.

Will I be able to apply what I learn in my project(s)?

Yes, absolutely! The course is very practical (hence the name!). You will be able to take the knowledge and techniques you will learn and apply them in your own work right away. The course is also framework-agnostic by design. We won’t use any JavaScript or CSS frameworks. So, you will be able to apply everything you learn to any web project, regardless of what frameworks or stack you’re using.

Can I track my progress as I go through the course chapters?

Yes. Once you’ve finished a chapter, you can manually mark that chapter as complete. We don’t automatically track your progress. I care about your privacy and understand and respect that everyone learns at their own pace, and some people sometimes need or want more time. And the last thing I want to do is to make you feel uncomfortable.

When you mark a chapter as complete, a visual indicator is shown for the chapter indicating that it has been completed, so you can get a clear overview of which chapters you have left by looking at the list of chapters on the course Chapters page.

Do you offer a certficate of completion?

Yes! But the process is not automated yet—meaning that the certificate is not automatically generated when you finish going through the course. The reason is that I am planning on extending the course’s content in the future. Automating the generation of the certificate of completion before adding the extra chapters to the course is a little tricky.

If you need a certificate of completion to present to your boss at work, to include in your CV, or to share it with your friends on social media, or simply to feel good about your accomplishment, you can send me an email and I will provide you with a downloadable PDF of your certificate.

Do you offer discounts for students?

Yes! To qualify for a student discount, you must be currently enrolled in a full-time or part-time educational institution.

Please email our support team proof of active enrollment, such as a student ID card or registration paperwork.

Can I purchase multiple licenses for my group or team?

Yes! With a team license you can buy a number of seats to allocate to employees, friends, or anyone you’d like to support by gifting or donating the course to.

Seats are not transferable — they cannot be re-assigned once used.

Team packages will come with bulk discounts. Please note that due to their nature, refunds are not available for team packages.

Learn more about team packages.

For enterprise licenses and/or in-house training, please reach out to sara@practical-accessibility.today for details.

Can I gift a license to someone else?

Yes! You can do that by entering their email address instead of yours during checkout. When you do, they will receive an email to set up their account and access the course content.

The only caveat here is that they will receive a copy of the purchase receipt, which will include the last 4 digits of your credit card if you’re paying by credit. And if you need a copy of the receipt, you’re going to need to ask them to forward it to you.

If you (understandably) don’t feel comfortable with this, you can purchase the course using your own email address and email me yours and the other person’s email address.

Please note that you cannot transfer your own license to someone else.

Can I change my email address from the address I purchased the course with?

If you need to change your email address, you can do that by contacting my support team support@practical-accessibility.today. Please note that you cannot transfer your license to another person.

I purchased the course. Now what?

After you go through checkout, you should get redirected to a Thank You page (not the Paddle thank you dialog!). Once you’re redirected, an account is automatically created for you, and you should receive two emails in your Inbox: a purchase receipt from my merchant, Paddle, and an email with a link to complete and access your account.

Check your email inbox for these emails, and make sure to check your Spam folder just in case it lands there.

If you don’t receive either of these emails or you have any trouble logging in, don’t hesitate to reach out to support@practical-accessibility.today and we will get back to you with assistance as soon as possible.

What’s your refund policy?

If you need a refund for your purchase, you can reach out to my support team by email within 30 days after your purchase and let them know. When you do, make sure you provide your order number and/or billing email. We will ask you the reason why, but you will be eligible for the refund even if you don’t want to provide any feedback. No hard feelings.

When the refund is issued, you’ll get a refund confirmation email from our merchant, Paddle, and your course account will be deleted. We won’t keep any of your account information, so please keep a copy of your purchase and refund receipts in case you ever need them.

Please note that due to their nature, refunds are not available for team packages.

Will I get a receipt/invoice for my purchase?

Right after purchasing, you will be emailed a receipt/invoice from Paddle, our merchant. You will be able to edit the recipient details on the receipt/invoice and add your preferred name and address (and VAT number).

I have a question not listed here 🤔

Feel free to send it to support@practical-accessibility.today and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.