Testing Accessibility Course

Review: Testing Accessibility

Ethan Glover

Accessibility, like testing itself, is an undertaught and too often ignored aspect of web development. However it is one of the most important. Everyone has a civil right to participate and by not taking accessibility seriously we are actively excluding a large portion of the population from the ability to use our apps. Which has increasingly become a legal battle.

I will start this review by saying that this course, Testing Accessibility, is way too expensive. The pricing is very explicitly targeting end of year stipends. The content, when looking at the market of development courses, is nowhere near worth the advertised price. When we talk about actively excluding people from participating, this course is guilty by it's unfair pricing scheme.

On the content itself, it uses a mixture of text and video. Oftentimes the videos will abruptly cut off mid sentence, have some text in between, and the next video will pick up again in the middle of that sentence. Sometimes the video doesn't continue at all. Even if everything was said, it creates a very unprofessional feel. The editing is very poorly done and I don't get the feeling this course was given much attention.

The example app “Camspots” and the problems around it are optimized for the course itself and it's short videos. You can clone the repo and follow along, but the course isn't designed around you as the student. It's designed around pushing through the curriculum. If you try to follow along, you're not likely to feel like you're doing much. As opposed to an instructor like Wes Bos who can make you feel like you're building something together.

I think in terms of thinking about accessibility, having an entire app isn't entirely necessary. Maybe building out components from scratch and focusing on those would be a better experience. There is a date picker that Marcy comes back to often, but the instruction on code always feels like a side effect, not an integrated piece of the course.

Simply focusing more on what developers should be getting out of this course rather than running through some preplanned script would go a long way. Handling things like focus styling and keyboard navigation is the job of developers, so focusing on simulating that job from start to finish in a sort of simulated paired-programming environment gives the context needed to learn the material in a way that sticks.

The information in the course itself is very high quality and more detailed than I've seen in any other course around accessibility. Marcy Sutton is clearly an expert on the subject. But her instruction skills and ability to put together a development course needs a ton of work. That paired with the excessive and unfair price is why I give Testing Accessibility by Marcy Sutton a 2 out of 5.