Building a more accessible web

Since 2011, almost 300 people have graduated from Australia’s only university-accredited online accessibility course for web specialists and project managers, the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility. Senior course lecturer Dr Scott Hollier is committed to training up as many as he can, to help build a more inclusive, more accessible web for people of all abilities.

Map of the world connected by the internet
Map of the world connected by the internet

The Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility (PCWA) is a six-week online course that was developed by Media Access Australia in conjunction with the University of South Australia. It teaches the essential principles plus practical tips and techniques in order to optimise accessibility for users of all abilities in the web and digital space.

“The course uses globally available tools for its assessments and the skills developed will be directly relevant to any working environment, anywhere in the world, that produces web content,” says the senior lecturer, Dr Scott Hollier, who is also Director of Accessibility with W3C member Media Access Australia.

“All of the content is based on the global web and ISO accessibility standard Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which is at the heart of global information access in legislative and policy frameworks,” says Dr Hollier. “The PCWA also looks at key legislation including the importance of procurement policies such as the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 508, and the implications of key international legal cases like Maguire v SOCOG (Australia), Target v NFB (USA) and Jodhan v Canada (Attorney General).”

However, the PCWA is certainly not just about compliance, court cases and legislated policy. It has a strong hands-on focus that teaches practical skills to improve accessibility.

“The PCWA is specifically designed to incorporate web accessibility into work practices,” explains Dr Hollier. “This is achieved through its up-to-date curriculum, discussion in the forums, and via practical assessments.”

“There are three assignments in the course that focus on ensuring that you are confident with assistive technologies, able to identify and enable the accessibility features in your preferred authoring tool, and gain the expertise to confidently perform a website audit based on WCAG 2.0 principles. And there is also the opportunity to develop a web prototype around WCAG 2.0 as well.”

Those interested in upskilling with an internationally-recognised qualification in web accessibility can get all the details on the PCWA web-page, plus there is a short PCWA video that conveys the key course highlights. An audio described video is also available.

The next PCWA course intake commences on 2 May 2016 and enrolments can be made online. Contact Media Access Australia directly for group bookings.