What is a Web Accessibility Specialist and Why Are They Important?
As the world increasingly moves online, it is important that everyone has equal access to information and resources. Having a web accessibility specialist on your team helps to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability or disability.
The main job of a web accessibility specialist is to identify and solve any barriers to accessibility on a website. They can help make sure your website is meeting ADA compliance standards, and that your website’s content is following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). For example, they can ensure that the website is compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies, that it can be navigated using only a keyboard, and that it has alternative text for images.
How to Become a Web Accessibility Specialist
Although there is no single path to becoming a web accessibility specialist, there are certain skills and knowledge that are necessary for the job. First, it is important to have a solid background in web development or design, as well as a knowledge of coding languages such as HTML. Previous experience with assistive technologies such as screen readers is also beneficial, as this may help to inform decisions around user experience. Additionally, a thorough understanding of web accessibility standards and how to implement them is crucial to success.
To become a web accessibility specialist, people often take courses or attend training sessions on web accessibility, and gain experience by working on projects that involve making websites accessible. However, to truly distinguish yourself from the competition, strongly consider getting a web accessibility specialist (WAS) certification.
How to Get a WAS Certification
In order to get a WAS certification, you must first complete a certification exam. Our favorite is the one from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). This certification is a great opportunity for those whose jobs require them to regularly assess and solve web accessibility issues.
The IAAP WAS certification itself is a technical, intermediate level exam that tests one’s knowledge of WCAG 2.0 and 2.1, code remediation, and other topics pertaining to web accessibility. Upon passing the exam, you’ll officially be a certified IAAP web accessibility specialist.
Hire a Web Accessibility Specialist
When hiring a web accessibility specialist, it is important to look for someone with the necessary skills and knowledge. As mentioned previously, they should have a solid understanding of web accessibility standards, implementation, and accessible web development or design. Hiring someone with a WAS certification also helps to ensure that they are a web accessibility expert.
It is also important to hire someone who is committed to constantly learning and keeping up-to-date with the latest web accessibility standards and technologies. This will ensure that your website remains accessible as new technologies and standards are developed over time.
Meet Our WAS Certified Developers
We are proud to currently have four IAAP WAS certified developers on our website development team! Given the currently limited number of certified web accessibility specialists, as well as the expertise that passing this exam requires, we feel that this is quite an achievement.
At Bytes.co, ADA compliant website design is one of our main focuses. We also partner with Accessible Web for web accessibility testing and WCAG audits. Together, we work to target WCAG 2.1 AA conformance standards on our clients’ websites through inclusive web design.
Contact us to learn more about our accessible web design services and get a free website consultation. Our web accessibility specialists are always here to help.