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GrahamTheDev
GrahamTheDev

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Bootcamps don't teach you this...

I am not going to "beat around the bush", I am talking about accessibility.

Simple question, do you really know:

  • semantic HTML?
  • what WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) are?
  • how to use WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite) attributes and roles?

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions, then I am here with a very simple offer:

Join "The A11y Monsters" and learn accessibility for free.

Join the discord, links to BecomeA.Monster. Poster description, text: "Want to learn accessibility? Join us at BecomeA.Monster". Dark purple background with a neon pink cartoon spikey creature with large round eyes and smile with pointy teeth. "Meet Sa11y" is next to the creature.

Join here: The a11y monsters on Discord

We would love to have you!

What will we being doing?

A semi-structured course on accessibility, where we learn about WCAG, ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines), WAI-ARIA and other strange acronyms related to accessibility.

But we will also cover how to get accessibility buy-in, auditing, accessibility-first development, the benefits to you as a developer, how this skill will become more important with the inclusion of AI / ML (Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning) in the development process and more!

It is mixed learning, where we use a combination of tutorial, presentations and, most importantly, practical application (we will build cool stuff!) to explore the interesting, exciting and important world of accessibility.

You can expect:

Live streams

We will be having bi-weekly live streams (over on Twitch or YouTube) where we will build components, applications and websites and cover accessibility considerations along the way.

These will be recorded so you can watch them later, but if you can make it to the live event then it is much easier to learn as you can ask questions etc.

Exercises

Each week there will be a short exercise where we introduce a concept around accessibility and then provide a short challenge to practice your new skills!

Community round tables

A weekly "office hours" on the server where we will review your sites, and those of others, and pick up accessibility errors through audits.

Open Source contributions

This community has a strong focus on practical learning.

Each week we will audit projects for accessibility errors (and you will learn how to audit them yourself!) and then we will create a load of issues so you can get those green squares by applying what you have learned!

Projects to get involved in

WCAG 101 is a project I am working on with Todd Libby.

But it will also be OSS. As you learn accessibility there will be loads of opportunities to contribute code examples, snippets, explanations and more to this resource.

There are also some tools I personally plan on building to help with accessibility work and obviously, they will welcome contributions from the community too!

Come join us!

Just in case you missed the link, you can join The A11y Monsters Discord here

Let me wrap up by saying: A warm welcome, in advance, to my fellow accessibility monsters, let's go remove some barriers and build a better web, together! πŸ’ͺ🏼

Could you do my a favour?

If you work at a company where you know the accessibility needs improving (or never enters into the conversation at all), could you share this article with your colleagues and get them to join the community.

We want to make the world more inclusive, one line of code at a time. πŸ’—

Top comments (5)

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Nice. Twenty-two years ago I was on the working group to update WCAG 1 to WCAG 2. Hard to believe that twenty-two years later, we still have to cajole devs into making accessibility a priority.

In fact, accessibility can't be an "also do" or it will never get done. It has to be fundamental to the design philosophy and built in to the framework at every step. Every user story should include specific requirements for accessibility, UX, testing, and sustainability, and none should be considered "done" until all those boxes are checked.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

I couldn't agree more.

Also amazing that you were part of the WCAG 1.0 to WCAG 2.0 group!

I am literally in the middle of trying to become an "invited expert" for WCAG 3.0. πŸ€žπŸΌπŸ’—

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chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

Well, someone had to sit on the committee. I'd been involved with the WAI since 1997 -- built my first professional site that year to AAA when the WCAG 1 was still a working draft. Have been making accessibility a priority ever since.

But sitting on these committees is not the exciting experience you might hope for. Not that I'm trying to talk you out of it. But I recall a lot of stubborn arguing, politicking, and frustration.

When I dropped off the committee in late 2001 to pursue a degree in informatics we thought that we were almost done. A few more months tops!

WCAG 2.0 was published on 11 December 2008, more than seven years later.

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grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev

Haha, I have already been prewarned on the wordsmithing and lengthy discussions, I am under no illusion that some times it will be frustrating.

But still great to be "at the coal face", helping shape the (very distant 🀣) future of accessibility on the web. (fingers crossed!)

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jmau111 profile image
jmau111⚑⚑⚑

Bootcamps, tutorial hell, "alternative e-learning"... It seems to be the same conclusion.

There's no magic, only you and your pugnacity can win this game. However, these resources can still bring you some knowledge or, at least, make you dig further.

It does not do evil, as long as it does not make false promises, which sometimes happen unfortunately.