Illustration of beaver teaching how to build accessibility skills

Have you started learning about accessibility yet?

Illustration of beaver teaching how to build accessibility skills

Have you started learning about accessibility yet? If not, it’s time to start.

I have been in web accessibility for 7 years now, and when I started, I was excited. It was clear to me that accessibility was going to blow up, and I was riding the righteous waves of social justice in the sea of tech innovation. Eventually, I must admit, accessibility started to seem more Sisyphean than Surf Party USA, and I lost some of that excitement.

In the last couple of years, things have started to change. Awareness is picking up. Major tech and retail companies are showing up to (and sponsoring) accessibility conferences. More companies seem to have an interest in accessibility and in sustainable accessibility.

There is also growing consensus around what accessibility rules mean and how they should be interpreted and implemented. So not only are accessibility skills in demand but developing accessibility expertise is increasingly straightforward This is the perfect time to start building your skills.

Why accessibility?

In the world of web and mobile development, there is always some new trend to follow and some new skill to learn, and you can’t jump on every bandwagon. Why pick accessibility? Our Beginner’s Guide to Accessibility provides a good general summary of why accessibility matters and needs to be a priority. If that’s not enough, here are a few more reasons to start thinking about building your a11y skills:

  1. It will improve the overall quality of your code and your design.
  2. In the US, digital accessibility is legitimately a growing concern in the United States. Here is a Google Trends graph of searches for WCAG (the top line), “web accessibility” (the middle line), and a11y (the bottom line):
    Google Trends graph showing how frequently people searched for the keywords WCAG, "web accessibility", and a11y over the past 5 years. In all 3 cases, there is an upward sloping trend indicating increased interest with WCAG showing the steepest increase in interest since 2013.
  3. Another search term experiencing some major search growth is “diversity and inclusion”. (Check out this Google Trends comparison of “diversity and inclusion” vs. WCAG.) The concept of “diversity and inclusion” is easily one of the biggest social and civil issues of our time, and it’s rapidly becoming a major concern in corporate culture.

Start Learning A11y Today!

The Deque Team is passionate about education because making the web accessible to everyone of all abilities depends on you. It depends on everyone taking responsibility for doing the work to make things accessible, so we want to make sure you have the tools and the knowledge to help.

Deque University – our online accessibility training platform – is a great place to get started. The courses are designed to take you from beginner to expert or to let you pick and choose which subject areas are most relevant to your needs and interests. There are Deque U courses that cover…

And more!

The courses are fully searchable and include lots of practical examples, so each course also serves as a great quick reference.

Deque U has over 30,000 subscribers, and through our Deque U Scholarship program over 1,200 people with disabilities have received full access to our accessibility curriculum. We’ve even had several scholarship recipients go on to become professional accessibility specialists after completing our courses.

Stay ahead of the curve and start developing your accessibility skills today!

Photo of Caitlin Cashin

About Caitlin Cashin

Caitlin is an "Accessibility Decoder" at Deque Systems. She joined the team back in 2011 and has taken on a variety of roles over the years. These days she spends her time exploring the best ways to communicate accessibility ideas and solutions to the general public.
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Comments 2 responses

  1. You are talking about the situation in America, but the same is true in the UK as well. As a freelance a11y contractor and consultant I keep a permanent watch on UK job boards, with WCAG and accessibility as my search terms. I would estimate (though I didn’t take a count back then) that I am seeing 4 or 5 times the number of developer roles asking for accessibility experience, maybe more, than there were just two years ago. UK companies are waking up to their responsibilities in this area even though we unfortunately do not have the same legal pressures that you have over there!

  2. Thanks, Guy! That’s a really interesting piece of data. It’s great to see that more companies on both sides of the Atlantic are starting to pay attention to accessibility.

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