This training will quickly teach you how to produce and consume essential documentation on product accessibility.

Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display
Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier global advocate for technology, representing the world’s most innovative companies. ITI promotes public policies and industry standards that advance competition and innovation worldwide.

One of the things that ITI produces is the ACR/VPAT template.

  • ACR is “Accessibility Conformance Report”
  • VPAT is “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template”

Are the terms ACR and VPAT interchangeable?

No. Before Section 508 harmonized with the WCAG standard, there was only the VPAT, and it was a standalone document. Since the harmonization, what used to be the standalone VPAT has been integrated into a larger report, the ACR. Hence, the use of the term ACR/VPAT.

What accessibility standards are included in an ACR/VPAT?


It’s *finally* gotten harder to hide discriminatory comments.

Blank video recording frame with the recording light on
Blank video recording frame with the recording light on

Pre-COVID, they were called “Hot Mic” incidents. Situations where people didn’t realize their microphone was live, and they said something they clearly shouldn’t, and probably wouldn't have if they knew the microphone was on. Sometimes it was just embarrassing, but sometimes people lost their jobs.

A few years ago, hot mic incidents occurred most frequently either on live TV broadcasts (news and sports were common) or political events.

  • The most famous pre-pandemic hot mic incident was probably the (in)famous Trump 2005 bus conversation with Billy Bush about what you could get away with when you were famous.
  • Second place might…


The short answer is “absolutely.” The long answer, of course, is more complicated than that.

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First of all, disabilities are almost always thought of in either the medical or legal contexts. The CDC’s definition of a disability, which is medical, is two-prong:

1. Any condition of the body or mind (impairment)

2. That makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions)

The US federal government’s definition of disability is more detailed. For federal regulation analysis (housing, social security, etc., which is legal), someone is disabled if they:

1. ha[ve] a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one…


For starters, for every 1 % increase in people with disabilities working, $25 billion would be added to the US economy.

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Many people start the year with New Year’s resolutions:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Purchase more sustainable solutions
  • Buy local

But each of these resolutions only addresses one small aspect of the overall sustainability problem. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are a series of 17 integrated goals that are part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Most UN SDGs can be tied to disability and accessibility, either directly or indirectly.

GOAL 1: No Poverty — People with disabilities are twice as likely to be at poverty level in the US due to the impact of inaccessible education and job discrimination on their earning abilities.

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger — Households…


Traditional candidate evaluation advice can be biased and ableist.

Two women sitting across a conference room table from a third woman
Two women sitting across a conference room table from a third woman
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

There are all kinds of advice on the Internet about things you should be evaluating when you conduct an interview. Very little advice exists on things that you should NOT be considering. Some of my “don’t evaluate these things” show up on people’s “must evaluate” lists.

Hiring managers must be conscious of outdated biased and ableist interviewing techniques to legitimately claim “inclusive organization” status.

Don’t evaluate the candidate’s eye contact.

If eye contact is on the “must-have” list for a successful candidate, you are automatically discriminating against people with disabilities that prevent them from making eye contact. People with disabilities that impact eye contact include people…


Software development and the “doctrine of foreseeable misuse.”

Code on a white monitor showing how an authentication error is handled in software
Code on a white monitor showing how an authentication error is handled in software
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

There is a portion of the American legal system under the category of negligence called “strict product liability,” also referred to as SPL. Under SPL, anyone in the product chain (seller, distributor, or manufacturer) of a defective product can be liable to anyone injured by that product, regardless of whether the defendant did everything possible to make sure the defect didn’t occur.

SPL applies both to regular use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.

Under the “reasonable foreseeability standard,” a manufacturer may be held liable for injuries caused by a product even when a consumer misused the product.

These doctrines got drummed…


There is global and personal variation on what is considered acceptable and preferable. This is how I decide what language to use.

Street signs in several different foreign languages for a tavern, a pizza place, a castle and a hotel
Street signs in several different foreign languages for a tavern, a pizza place, a castle and a hotel
Photo by Soner Eker on Unsplash

In the first part of this three-part article, I talked about the four different sociological models of disability. To recap, we have:

  • The charitable model of disability
  • The medical model of disability
  • The social model of disability
  • The identity model of disability. This is my creation, I think. Don’t google it just yet.

Given that you may be code-switching between these models even within the same conversation, the $64,000 question is — what language to use when referring to someone’s disability?

Language choice factors

There are many language differences related to disability and a dizzying array of factors involved, including the speaker’s age…


The next stage of evolution in how the global community views disability

Ouroboros of four different disability models Charitable; Medical; Social; and Identity
Ouroboros of four different disability models Charitable; Medical; Social; and Identity
Image custom created by the author cannot be reused without permission and attribution

Part one of a three-part article. See part two on language choices associated with disability/accessibility here.

Language is a strange and powerful thing. So are sociological models for traits that describe the six completely disparate groups of people with disabilities, including:

  • neurodiversity
  • physical
  • vision
  • hearing/speech
  • mental health
  • “other,” which includes things like cancer and autoimmune disorders

It is hard to get all these different groups under a single sociological model umbrella. This article is my take on defining the pros and cons of the existing models, a guess as to where I think these models are headed. …


Everything that makes accessibility difficult ties back to one root cause: People not giving a damn about others who are different.

Zara model wearing green jacket famously worn by Melania Trump. White block graffiti says “I really don’t care do u?”
Zara model wearing green jacket famously worn by Melania Trump. White block graffiti says “I really don’t care do u?”
From: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/lady-wears-jacket-visit-immigrant-children-reads-care/story?id=56069005

These are the different categories of people you will run into in corporate settings that will make life difficult for any accessibility professional.

The people who are allergic to change

It was the inimitable Grace Murray Hopper, US Navy Rear Admiral who contributed to COBOL and invented one of the first compilers, for whom the eponymous Grace Hopper Conference was named who said:

Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that.

People who are allergic to change actively fight doing things differently. However, fundamentally, the only way to solve for inaccessible software is to ……


AB 979 has a much too narrow definition of “underrepresented communities,” leaving out many identities who deserve to be included.

Boardroom inside sky scraper with lots of windows and white furniture, table and 15 chairs
Boardroom inside sky scraper with lots of windows and white furniture, table and 15 chairs

AB 979 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last year. This law requires that by the end of 2021, California-based publicly held corporations diversify their boards of directors.

AB 979 defines “Director from an underrepresented community” as an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

The passage of AB 979 last fall wasn’t the first time California stepped into the area of regulating board diversity. SB 826 similarly forced certain California corporations to diversify the gender of their…

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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