Resources

There are loads of resources on digital accessibility and inclusive design! Here are a collection of my favourites – and not to fear, all of which are free! (well, one is donation base)

Alternative (ALT) Text for Images

Assistive Technology

Contrast & Colour Checkers

  • Colour Contrast Analyser: Desktop app for testing colour for Mac and PC. It allows you to test anything on your screen. Very easy to install and use.
  • Colour Palette Accessibility: Tests your whole colour palette for you!
  • Color Safe: Input your background colour into this online tool and it will generate WCAG compliant colour palettes for you.
  • Sim Daltonism: This Mac application gives you an idea of what images and colour combinations look like through the eyes of people with colour blindness. 
  • Tanaguru Contrast-Finder: Recommends colours when the colour combination fails.

I also have a long list of Checkers here: Colour Contrast Checkers for Designers

Design Best Practices

Plugins & Add-ons

  • Accessibility Ribbon for Word: David Berman offers a free/donation-based ribbon for Word (2010+) for PC. The accessibility features of Word are now in a single place, simplifying the workflow for accessible document creation and troubleshooting.
  • NVDA Community Add-ons: There are many great add-ons for NVDA for both users and testers! If you are a designer using NVDA for testing, you may like Focus Highlight, an add-on that visually highlights what the screen reader is reading to help you zone in on potential problems.

Technical Guides

Microsoft Office applications:

Adobe Creative Suite applications:

Web content:

  • Techniques for WCAG 2.0: overview of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) techniques
  • WebAIM Articles: very approachable resource on digital accessibility
  • Accessibility for Teams: A ‘quick-start’ guide for embedding accessibility and inclusive design practices into a team’s workflow from the US Government

PDF Documents:

Microsoft’s Accessibility Resources:

Business (Ontario focused)

Event Planning

Reports and Surveys

Physical Books

Standards:

Video

Writing

Posters:

Posters for designers you actually wont mind having up in the office:

Professional Networking & Conferences:

Most of these are free to attend, with the exception of the conferences:

Online – Global:

Global Accessible Awareness Day: In-person and online events by leading experts on a variety of topics.

Inclusive Design 24: 24 hour streaming of live, 1 hour presentations and demos on accessibility. All talks are archived and available to view from 2014 to today.

Note on Online Discussions:

Online discussions take place on constantly Twitter (and other social media platforms too – but currently not as frequently) using the hashtag #a11y, #AXSChat, and #accessibility. It is a great way to stay connected to the community globally, to learn and share together, and ask questions. You can also follow discussions on localized accessibility topics such as #aoda in Ontario. Forums and online groups in your area of interest are also great to follow.

Southern Ontario – Toronto area:

#a11yTO Meet-up: One of the largest accessibility and inclusive design professional networking group in the world is in Toronto! Events are free and usually held monthly, with a break in the summer.Similar groups exist around the world in different cities (online search: “a11y [and your city’s name]”).  

#a11yTO Camp: Free day-long casual conference on digital accessibility held once a year in Toronto– a must-attend event for anyone working in digital accessibility. Similar camps around the world in different cities (online search: “A11Y Camp” [and your city’s name] ).

#a11yTO Conf: Two-day, single track conference held annually in downtown Toronto featuring excellent speakers from around the world. It is comprised of a “playlist” of lectures, demos, and lightning talks.

#a11yIRL: day long conference on accessibility for the built environment in downtown Toronto, launched in 2019. The event brings together experts and those new to the field to talk about inclusive design, universal design, and all things accessibility in real life (IRL).

Guelph Accessibility Conference: conference at Guelph University with a wide scope of topics and speakers.

USA:

CSUN: The most important conference on digital accessibility internationally takes place in San Diego annually. If you cannot attend in person, you can soak up the information via Twitter and through other online repositories. 

What does a11y stand for?

a11y stands for accessibility, most commonly used to refer to digital or web accessibility. There are 11 characters in the word ‘accessibility’ with ‘A’ being the first and ‘Y’ the last letter.