Introduction to Designing Accessible Websites

This course is designed for website developers who have an interest in incorporating accessible design features into their pages. Web accessibility benefits everyone - those with and those without disabilities, through increased usability and interoperability of web based materials. This class is structured to allow learners to explore the area of web accessibility using a hand-on, project-based approach, with an emphasis on learning by doing, and sharing information and experience with your class mates through online discussions. Students enrolled in this course will be expected to review assigned readings, apply what they have learned through coding projects and participate in class discussions. Evaluation will be based on weekly assignments consisting of 1 or 2 small projects together with review questions, and 1 final project tying it all together.

The required course textbook, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance, has been authored by leading authorities in the field and covers such topics as What is Web Accessibility?; Assistive Technology; 508 Guidelines; Emerging Technology; and Using CSS to separate content from presentation. To round out our exploration of web accessibility some online sources will also be consulted.

Course Objectives:
  • Identify issues surrounding accessible web design
  • Describe why web accessibility is important
  • Recognize barriers to effective accessibility
  • Be able to apply relevant semantically correct HTML / XHTML coding to pages
  • Be able to apply CSS1 elements to separate style from content
  • Demonstrate ability to test pages for accessibility with the use of validators and WCAG 1.0 Checkpoints and Section 508 requirements.
  • Demonstrate ability to effectively locate and use or recommend tools
  • Demonstrate an understanding of WCAG 1 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the (draft) updated Section 508 and the updated WCAG 1 as (draft) WCAG 2

Applicable Job Roles: webmasters, web programmers, and web application developers.

Week 1: Understanding Web Accessibility: Accessibility and Why It Matters
  • Why is accessibility on the web important?
  • Accessibility Myths.
  • Introduction to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and W3C's WCAG.
  • Activity - Identifying accessibility problems and using keyboard navigation.
Week 2: Assistive Technology
  • What are assistive technologies?
  • Accessibility is not just about screen readers.
  • Accessibility software and hardware.
  • Activity - Exploring assistive technology - Emulate the experience of a disability to test a web page for accessibility.
Week 3: Writing Valid, Well-formed, Semantically Correct Code
  • The importance of well-formed, semantically correct code.
  • Introduction to validation services: W3C HTML, W3C CSS, WAVE, and other accessibility evaluation tools.
  • Activity - Testing pages using validators, suggesting and making changes to code to promote validity.
Week 4: Creating Accessible Content: Images, Audio/Video, Navigation
  • Text alternatives for images, image maps and audio/video.
  • HTML accessibility elements and attributes, when and where to apply them.
  • Activity - Addressing accessibility issues by reviewing accessibility specific HTML, applying the ALT attribute, proper structure, and valid code.
Week 5: Creating Accessible Content - Tables
  • What makes a table accessible?
  • Content linearization: Data tables versus using tables for format.
  • Using tools to test the readability of tables.
  • Applying the scope, id, and headers attributes.
  • WAI WCAG Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints for tables.
  • Section 508 provisions for tables.
  • Activity - Design an accessible page based on WAI WCAG Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints and Section 508 sub-part 1194.22 (g and h) for tables.
Week 6: Creating Accessible Content - Forms and Frames
  • Accessibility issues surrounding forms and frames.
  • Using the Input and label, fieldset and legend elements, and with the id, for, title, and value attributes.
  • Activity - Creating and testing an accessible form.
Week 7: Separating Content from Presentation / Emerging Technologies
  • Progressive Enhancement - the concept, with CSS, with JavaScript.
  • Making websites accessible with CSS: Separating content and structure.
  • Browser support for CSS1 and CSS2.
  • CSS media types.
  • MIME types and CSS case sensitivity.
  • Activity - Design or retrofit an accessible page by applying CSS.
Week 8: Putting It All Together
  • Wrap up discussion
  • Activity - Completion of course project
Students interested in signing up for this course should have successfully completed H101 or be familiar with HTML and CSS. This class will require hand-coding web pages using either HTML (or XHTML) and CSS.
Students must have webspace where they can post their assignments. You need to avoid webspaces that support banner ads or popup adds as this adds code to your pages. If you do not have webspace, try your ISP first as many provide a small amount of space with your monthly fee. If yours does not, there are a number of free services that are available on the net. A good place to look for free webspace is at or the Free Site at

Suggested Book Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance

Additional information:

Your place in the course is confirmed by your payment. Introductory courses are intended for students with no experience in the subject matter and are seeking beginner level training.

Refund Policy: Please read our Terms and Refund Policy before registering for this course.

Additional Cost: Book and software might be required for the course. Read the Requirements and Book section for more information. Course fee does not include the book and software cost .

How eClasses Work:Instructors post lectures (text-based, no video or audio), reading selections, and hands-on assignments once a week in the online classroom. Students can discuss the assignments with the instructor and amongst themselves in the classroom area. This format has no set meeting time, which allows students to attend class at a time most convenient to them, yet still provides logically organized communication between class participants. Students can apply for the completion certificate after finishing the class.


Price: $220.00
IWA Member Price: $120.00
Course No.: D210
Instructor Gretchen Lowerison
CEUs 4
Duration 8 weeks
Cost 48
Open Courses:

Sorry, no other session is scheduled for this course. You can add this course to your wish list and we will notify you when other sessions are scheduled.


Instructor's Profile:
InstructorGretchen Lowerison is the managing director of Coreidea Innovation Inc., a consulting and software development company specializing in the implementation of computer technology to facilitate knowledge building, productivity, and knowledge management in formal and informal learning environments, industry, and government. Specific areas include Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., Wikis, Blogs), semantic knowledge mapping, and tools that support more in-depth processing of information. Areas of expertise include student centered learning, self-regulation, web accessibility, and implementation of learning strategies. Gretchen holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Before you register for this class, please read the Outline, Prerequisites, Requirements, Books, and Refund Policy sections carefully.


"I highly recommend this course! The instructor, Gretchen Lowerison, was engaging, responsive, and very knowledgeable about Web accessibility regulations and the HTML code used to implement them. The most helpful were her detailed comments for each assignment. The required book is well worth purchasing; it provides step-by-step to implement accessible regulations. I would take another class with this same instructor. Thank you IWA! Thank you Gretchen!" - Suzanne Durkacs
"Gretchen is an incredible online instructor and a very hard worker! I was extremely impressed with her. The content was very timely." - Jenine Cordon
"A very very good course! Super! Irene, from Italy, Milan" - Irene Lobeck
"This class should be mandatory for anyone serious about Web design and development. Jan Wolf is an incredible instructor - responsive, caring and thorough. She knows her stuff and is able to communicate that to her students. Taking this class from her was a joy and I learned so much! I would love for her to offer an intermediate or advanced class! " - Pamela Riesmeyer
"Jan Wolf is an excellent, dedicated teacher; very resourceful and encouraging - a stand out by any measure. This is a great course." - Stewart Moore
"I have taken a few eclasses now, and Jan Hunt is by far the best instructor I have had the pleasure to learn from - thorough, prompt, attentive, encouraging, helpful - I could go on and on - she was fantastic." - Andrea Villafuerte
"This has been one of my best classes with eClasses. I have done about 7 or so courses, none has been as helpful and educating as this. This is simply as a result of the attitude of the instructor to the course and to the students. Firstly, she is very helpful and willing to correct your projects as many times as it takes her to see that you get it right, secondly, she insists you do it right, thirdly, she responds in good time to give the students the opportunity to make corrections before the next week's project. If not for her timely response I would not have completed this course because I had other issues in my office that was taking my attention. But because she makes effort to respond in time, I was morally bound to put in all my effort to reciprocate her own effort at assisting us as students.

Finnally, Let me say that the two things I cherished most in this class was the insistence that we follow standards, and timely response to our posts and reposts.

I hope this attitude would continue." - Chinweuba H Nwaigwe
"The Introduction to Designing Accessible Websites class exceeded all of my expectations. Jan, the instructor, was the best teacher I have had in an online environment- prompt, thorough, and helpful beyond the call of duty. I learnt so many phenomenal, useful and applicable lessons in this course- it's one everyone should take before launching into the web design world so as to make the best possible web sites. Jan, thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge and for being so eternally helpful!" - Alexandra Sanders
"Jan Hunt is one of the best eClasses instructors I have had over the last two years. She stimulates interaction which is difficult to do with an online class. One of the most important qualities of her course is the individual attention she give to the students. She really reviews and comments in detail on all student assignments! This significantly enhances the learning experience and enjoyment of the class!" - Sandra Perez
"Jan was wonderful. Always prompt. Always helpful. Assignments were challenging, yet do-able. I wish she taught more at e-classes. I learned a lot!" - Jason Sowards
"This class covers everything I need to design accessible websites. My time here has been spent well!" - Patricia Davidson
"Gretchen was wonderful to work with! The class overall was very well organized and I walked away with the skills I sought when I signed up. Thank you!" - Shea Caperoon
"Excellent. Gretchen did a great job of introducing me to the concepts of Accessible Design, and steering me clear of its pitfalls." - Richard Brickman
"I have been designing web sites for a number of years but only became aware of accessibility issues in the past year. Taking Gretchen Lowerison's class was an eye opener, and extremely informative with respect to web site accessibility and how to design with accessibility in mind. Gretchen made the class a fun learning experience." - Bunny Bass
"This was a great class! recommended for anyone publishing on the Web. It was challenging enough for me, and interesting as well. There was a lot of material to read, which was overwhelming at times, but the book was great and will be a valuable reference for the future." - Caryn Jackson
"Gretchen is a fine instructor. I facilitate on-line learning programs and consider myself responsive, but she puts me to shame. Her detailed analyses of each project were totally professional and presented in exactly the proper tone. " - David Hawley
"Gretchen Lowerison is a great instructor! I'm looking forward to an Intermediate Accessible Web Design course to be offered - there's so much more for me to learn!" - Teresa Hessler