Ask an Expert

1325–75; Middle English (adj.) < Latin expertus, past participle of experīrī to try, experience

Every day we live with the need to communicate. We need to rise above simple translation and see the meaning, when we build a website we need to include everyone (not just the sighted) and when we travel we are faced with challenging physical barriers. I know what it's like and think I have the depth and resources to help others make the right decisions.

Each month I will be responding to a question, chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked. A complete archive of "Ask an Expert" articles can be found here.

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

This month, I'd like to answer the following question:

How to develop courses on accessibility

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here's how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

The thing to remember is that this is a rapidly growing field and it is being driven by legislation that more countries are enforcing in order to ensure that inclusivity is adhered to. That is, to ensure that equal access to education by everyone is a must.

Here are some basic but important tips to get you started.

  • When you develop your course, think of those students who have a special need; blind, vision impaired, deaf/blind, hard of hearing, print disabled, a learning disability, a cognitive disability, seniors, the technically shy, and there is more.
  • Be sure to include persons with disabilities when you design, develop, and test your finished product as their input will help greatly to ensure that your course can be accessed and used by persons with special needs.
  • Be very careful when choosing testers for your product as too many companies out there claim to have knowledge on how to develop courses on accessability but in reality they do not.
  • Develop a very rigorous criteria in order to choose the right personnel to help you with your design, development, and testing.
  • It is always important to have your designers, developers, and decision makers familiarize themselves with the W3C standards along with any type of accessibility legislation to ensure that you are following the right standards and mandates in the country where you are working.

This should be a good start for you.