Where to go for accessibility help when you are stuck

There are lots of resources, some obvious, some not so obvious

Old white econoliner-type van stuck in the mud in a remote area being pushed by three people
Old white econoliner-type van stuck in the mud in a remote area being pushed by three people
  • You can’t figure out any solution, or;
  • You have multiple solutions, and you can’t figure out which solution is best.

IAAP — the International Association of Accessibility Professionals

IAAP has a chat board for members. For the price of a membership fee, you can ask questions, and other accessibility professionals may choose to volunteer to answer them. To not abuse this privilege:

  • Do your own research first and exhaust your favorite search engine before you ask. No one likes people who ask questions that a basic internet search can answer.

Online groups of people with disabilities

Many, many online chat groups are open to the general public without any admission fees.

Accessibility meetups/conferences

There are lots of accessibility meetups and conferences with varying price points from free to really pricey. It is not difficult to get people to answer questions answered at these events. Thanks to COVID, people are less fussy about requiring that local people attend meetups in person. I have personally participated in meetups in the California Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and London.

Follow one or more leaders on LinkedIn.

For example, if you want to follow a leader in best captioning practices, you could do no better than Meryl Evans. Inclusive Design? Matt May and Derek Featherstone. General diversity issues, including disability and much, much more? Lily Zheng. These people have literally dedicated their entire lives to the issues they specialize in. I probably chose them because they have the same “straight-up facts, no holds barred” approach to their particular specialty as I do. Listen to them, and ask thoughtful questions that are mindful of their time. All of the people I have listed will interact with readers.

Ask vendors for help.

  • Microsoft has a Disability Answer Desk.
  • Most companies have an accessibility@ companyname.com email address.
  • Most companies have Twitter accounts.

University IT

If you are stuck on a document accessibility question, university resources are a great go-to because:

  • Universities thrive on making their knowledge public.

Classes

There are some great resources on LinkedIn Learning regarding accessible and inclusive design by Derek Featherstone. LinkedIn recently reached out to me about adding more bite-sized, actionable accessibility materials, probably based on some of my blogs. I will definitely let everyone know when those are available. Deque has some excellent training geared specifically towards taking the IAAP CPACC certification exam — $35 for CPACC and $150 for the material covering the WAS exam. Coursera also has accessibility courses.

Books / Videos

There are all kinds of books on accessibility and inclusive design available. Read this article if you are interested in my favorite titles. Likewise for videos — here is the list of the ones I recommend the most strongly. But all you really have to do is go to your favorite video repository and search for “screen reader” or “switch.” You will be overwhelmed with the number of videos available of people who have recorded their experiences for you to learn from.

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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