Foundations of Website Accessibility Course

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Overwhelmed by WCAG? Learn a practical approach to accessibility guidelines.

Trying to understand the WCAG guidelines can be overwhelming, and there is a lot of gray area. You could spend days, if not weeks, trying to understand them. You can’t just tick off a list and think you’ll end up with an accessible site.

Not only that, but there is no definition of an “accessible website,” and you can’t approach accessibility with a theme, plugin, automated checker or overlay. Automated checkers can only detect about 25% to 30% of issues. They also can’t fix all issues correctly, and they can give false-positives.

Accessibility overlays not only don’t work but they make the site less accessible, slow it down and force people to use a different interface to get around the site. Could you imagine if, one day, you went to a site and couldn’t use your mouse?

Help protect yourself and your clients from potential legal issues and fines.

If you’re not building accessible websites, you’re opening up yourself—and your clients—to potential legal claims. These can cost anywhere from $4k to $100k per claim! Not only that, but while you’re then fixing the site, someone else could come along and sue the client again!

Some companies have gone after their website developers looking to recoup legal fees and fines afterward. (Don’t think professional liability insurance will protect you! I’ve even asked my carrier.)

Accessibility may or may not be a legal requirement for your clients. But even if they don't legally have to comply, their site could be a sitting duck for a lawsuit, especially in New York, Florida and California.

The number of website accessibility lawsuits has been dramatically increasing. In the United States, the number tripled from 2017 to 2018. One woman sued 175 business owners for not having compliant websites. Large companies such as Target and Domino’s Pizza have been sued as well. The list goes on.

I don’t mean to scare you. I’m trying to help prevent this from happening to you.

Be seen as the expert.

Most web designers and developers are not talking to clients about accessibility and do not possess this skill, so this is a great way to be seen as the expert, gain a competitive edge, win more website projects, add more value and charge more for that.

Build better websites that rank better and reach more people.

Clients don’t want a website just to have a website. It’s about what that website will do for them. Accessible websites rank better and reach more people in search engine results, are faster and are easier to use by everyone.

One billion people worldwide have a disability, and 71% of them leave a website that is not accessible, and they will tell others about their poor experience. That’s bad for business. You can help your clients reach 20% more customers, clients, donors or members.

Male double-hand amputee using a laptop.Consider, for example, Frank. He is a young disabled veteran who uses a keyboard instead of a mouse because his hands were amputated after suffering an injury in combat.

He visits your client’s website and wants to make a purchase. However, he cannot get to the product page because the navigation isn’t accessible. He is frustrated that he can’t get around the site, so he leaves.

Your client not only lost a sale, but Frank decides to contact his lawyer about filing a claim against the business for discrimination.

Deaf teenager looking at tablet.Melissa is a senior in high school looking at potential colleges. Since the age of 14, she’s had her heart set on a couple universities in particular. She has been working hard to get straight A’s to give herself the best chance of being accepted at them.

Imagine her disappointment to have just discovered their curriculum is not set up to help students who are deaf. Instead of choosing a school that she wants to go to, she has to narrow her choices by those who could accommodate her disability.

This may be part of the reason why 33% of hearing adults have at least a bachelor’s, but only 18% of those who are deaf or hard of hearing do.

Colorblind man using laptop.Bill, who is colorblind, visits your nonprofit client’s site wanting to make a donation. He cannot tell that the word “donate” in the body text is a hyperlink, which is marked only by a different color.

“But he could call to make a donation,” you protest. Maybe he will if he can find the phone number and calls right then (or remembers to later). Or maybe he will leave and make a donation to another organization.

What You’ll Learn

In this course, Colleen Gratzer, accessibility consultant/designer/developer, reveals practices that have worked based on her experience designing and building accessible websites, years of research and consulting with other accessibility providers.

The goal of this course is for you to better understand accessibility and have a solid foundation and process for building accessible websites. This Foundations of Website Accessibility course will teach you:

  • what accessibility is and who it affects,
  • how to talk to clients about accessibility,
  • ways to help protect yourself and your client,
  • best practices for accessibility and usability,
  • a process for building accessible websites,
  • how to test websites for accessibility,
  • ways to earn more with this work,
  • recommendations for furthering your knowledge on this topic.

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What the Course Covers

This foundational course covers accessibility and usability practices that span many of the WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 A and AA guidelines (but in plain English). The content is platform agnostic, although several WordPress techniques and plugins are covered.

  • Module 1: Understanding and Selling AccessibilityLearn about accessibility, how to talk to clients and overcome objections about it, how to protect yourself in your contracts.
  • Module 2: Structure & Sitewide ElementsLearn practices that affect the overall site—its foundation and navigation, including keyboard navigation and some CSS techniques.
  • Module 3: Color & ContrastFind out the guidelines for color and contrast, what on a website is affected by them and some best practices that go beyond those requirements.
  • Module 4: Text & Icon FontsLearn how to properly format text, headings, lists, tables, icon fonts and more, for accessibility, readability and usability.
  • Module 5: MediaLearn best practices for handling images, carousels, audio and video, and downloadable files.
  • Module 6: Hyperlinks, Buttons & FormsLearn coding, styling and best practices for hyperlinks, buttons and form elements, including how a screen reader interacts with them.
  • Module 7: Finishing, Testing & Ongoing ComplianceLearn about functionality you can add to the site to help the user and the client, along with many testing techniques and how to help the client with ongoing compliance.

What You Get

  • A straightforward accessible web design/dev process that works
  • Confidence in understanding, talking about and addressing accessibility
  • Ways you can make money with accessibility now and on an ongoing basis
  • A competitive edge over other web designers and developers to help you win more projects
  • Handouts and checklists for each module, including a list of accessibility tools; legal, technical and other resources; and more
  • A 9-page checklist of accessibility tasks that you can incorporate into your existing workflow
  • Q&A sessions from the live launch
  • Quizzes with each module to help you retain what you've learned
  • Lifetime access and future updates to the course
  • Full immediate access to the course
  • Module 1

    In Module 1 of the course, Understanding & Selling Accessibility, you’ll get video training plus 3 handouts:
    • Glossary of accessibility terms,
    • Understanding accessibility and
    • Selling accessibility.
    Module 1 video screenshot.Module 1 handouts.
  • Module 2

    In Module 2, Structure & Sitewide Elements, you’ll get video training plus 3 handouts:
    • Code snippets,
    • Language codes and
    • Key points from the lessons.
    Module 2 video screenshot.Module 2 handouts.
  • Module 3

    In Module 3, Color & Contrast, you’ll get video training plus 2 handouts:
    • List of color resources and
    • Key points from the lessons.
    Module 3 video screenshot.Module 3 handouts.
  • Module 4

    In Module 4, Text & Icon Fonts, you’ll get video training plus 2 handouts and an extremely valuable resource:
    • Code snippets,
    • A typography guide and
    • My custom WordPress plugin for helping clients maintain compliance when adding and editing content.
    Module 4 video screenshot.Module 4 handouts.
  • Module 5

    In Module 5, Media, you’ll get video training plus 2 handouts:
    • Code snippets and
    • Key points from the lessons.
    Module 5 video screenshot.Module 5 handouts.
  • Module 6

    In Module 6, Hyperlinks, Buttons & Forms, you’ll get video training plus 2 handouts:
    • Code snippets and
    • Key points from the lessons.
    Module 6 video screenshot.Module 6 handouts.
  • Module 7

    In Module 7, Finishing, Testing & Ongoing Compliance, you’ll get video training plus 4 handouts:
    • Code snippets,
    • A complete list of reliable tools and resources with hyperlinks to them all,
    • A Best Practices for Usability and Accessibility guide to give to your clients, and
    • My 9-page development task checklist and workflow (in Word and PDF so you can add it to your own if you choose).
    Module 7 video screenshot.Module 7 handouts.

That’s 19 resources in total that will make your process easier, more efficient and thorough, saving you hours upon hours in trying to figure it all out on your own.

Plus, you get Q&A videos from the live launch of the course.


  • Text for accessibility best practices that you can put into a guide for your clients when delivering a website
  • A WordPress plugin to help your clients with accessibility
  • Access to the course Facebook group

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What Past Students Have Said

“I can’t say enough good things about Colleen’s accessibility training. Before I took this course, I already knew quite a bit about website accessibility best practices, and I was hoping to learn a few useful tidbits. By the end of Module 1, I had already added important information to my skillset that I was able to put into practice immediately.
The course was well organized, thorough but not overwhelming, and extremely informative. Everyone who builds websites should sign up for this training!”
Photo of Leslie.
Leslie Surel
“I was skeptical because of all of the overpriced fluff content courses out there, but you came highly recommended — and it was worth it. It will be a way to increase my value as a web developer/designer.
Prior to taking the course, I was not confident about accessibility. Now I feel confident. The content was presented in a way that made it easy to understand and the accompanying checklists and guides are thorough and helpful”
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Jessica Jenkins
“This class delivered so much valuable content and in an orderly and logical method. The course collateral is invaluable, well written and easy to follow.
Colleen is an exceptional teacher with great communication skills. She is not only an expert in her field but is a fabulous teacher. Not everyone can do both, but she certainly can.
I highly recommend that anyone developing websites take this course.”
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Tammie O’Neal
“Before taking Colleen's web accessibility course, I had surface level knowledge of the subject and I wouldn't consider myself someone who could advise on the topic of web accessibility.
Now, I feel much more confident in my ability to help website owners understand how building their sites with people with disabilities in mind is not only good practice, but good for business as well.”
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Chris Nunn
“Colleen really knows her stuff when it comes to accessibility. She not only understands the guidelines and what they mean, but she knows how to best implement them in your website design and development. She saved me hours of research and guess work!”
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Matthew Rodela
“Colleen is informative, thorough, and you can tell she really cares about why accessibility is important. I highly recommend her training!”
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Billy Hoisington

Your Instructor

Colleen Gratzer
Colleen Gratzer

Colleen Gratzer is an award-winning designer with more than 23 years of experience in branding, print, and web design and development. Four of those years include being an accessibility specialist.

In 2016, she was trained in InDesign/PDF accessibility by one of the top accessibility providers to the U.S. government who is on the international committees that create accessibility standards for digital media and documents.

Since that time, Colleen has also designed and developed accessible websites, remediated existing sites and educated clients, designers and developers about the importance of accessibility.

In May 2019, she was asked to provide InDesign accessibility training to the U.S. Department of the Interior and has appeared on several podcasts and given presentations about website accessibility.

Colleen is a member of the IAAP, the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, and holds a verified certificate of achievement for introductory website accessibility from W3C, with plans to pursue additional certifications.

Her client-based business, Gratzer Graphics, provides accessibility consulting to nonprofits, creative firms and developers.

Through Creative Boost, she hosts the Design Domination podcast, mentors designers, teaches this course and provides many resources for designers.

As Seen/Heard On

  • WP Elevation.
  • Main WP.
  • Agency Trailblazer podcast.
  • Design for Geeks presentation.
  • Smart Web Creators logo.
  • Logo Geek podcast.
  • Freelancers Union blog.
  • This Design Life.
  • Nailing It! with Stephanie Campanella.
  • Creatives Ignite 2020 event.
  • WordPress Accessibility Day 2020 event.

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Discount available for teams of 3 or more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't I just use an accessible theme, accessibility plugin, automated checker or overlay?
You can’t approach accessibility with a theme, plugin, automated checker or overlay. Themes don't affect the page content at all, plugins and automated checkers can only detect about 30% of issues (70% must be manually checked and fixed), and overlays don't work! They make the site less accessible, slow down the site and force people to use a different interface to get around the site. That makes for a horrendous user experience too.
The price seems high. Why is the course priced as it is?
If you consider the potential legal fees and fines from just one website accessibility claim, this is a small fraction of that—and the same client could even be hit with another claim! This is a small investment to help yourself and your clients. Not only that but the course provides so many ways for you to be able to start making money with this right away. Plus, the information in the course will save you hours upon hours of researching and trying to weed through good and bad accessibility practices. You’ll be able to get up and running quickly with a process that has worked very well for me after years of research and consulting with other accessibility professionals.
Do I need to know how to code a website?
You should be familiar with HTML and CSS, but you do not need to know how to build a site from scratch, especially if you’re using WordPress.
Is the course specific to WordPress?
The course has a lot of content that is platform agnostic, but there is also a lot of WordPress-specific content as well.
Does this course cover everything there is and ever will be to know about accessibility?
No. This course, and no course, can cover all there is and all there ever will be about accessibility. That’s because some aspects of accessibility are open to interpretation, and there may be several approaches to some things. What you will get from this course is a very comprehensive, foundational understanding of accessibility and usability that will empower you to provide users a high-quality experience.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you get lifetime access and future updates to the course.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
I would never want you to be unhappy. If you are not satisfied, contact me in the first 7 days of the course and I will give you a full refund.
Are page builders covered?
The course covers some accessibility issues with Beaver Builder, but you can look for these things with Elementor as well. You will learn what to check for. The course also covers something you can use in conjunction with a page builder.
Why are there accessibility errors on this page?
This page is not on my website. It's on Teachable. There are some things that are out of my control. There are also contrast errors that get flagged by automated checkers when they shouldn't. That's because the automated checkers cannot determine the color in a background image, so they assume it's white. You'll learn more about why you can't rely on automated checkers in my course. :)
Does this course cover all of the WCAG guidelines?
Other than in some areas, I do not mention specific WCAG guidelines. Instead, I provide plain-English practices and a process to help you meet them. The focus of the course is on best practices for accessibility and usability to help you meet those guidelines but without getting into each one specifically. After all, you could technically meet all WCAG guidelines and end up with a site that isn't fully accessible. So my approach is different. However, I do show you many ways to test the site and against the guidelines and other methods to make sure you're covered.
Got a question or having technical issues?
Email me at [email protected] and I'll respond ASAP.