Perspectives on Teaching Accessibility

Scheduled at 3:30pm in Plaza D on Wednesday, November 17.



  • Sarah Horton, Senior Research Assistant, University of Southampton

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Effective teaching is an essential skill for advancing accessibility, whether in an education program or by influencing colleagues, coworkers, and leadership. Through perspectives drawn from research with experienced accessibility teachers, attendees will learn new ways to explain, explore, and motivate learners to engage with accessibility topics.


Everyone who is working in accessibility, advocating for accessibility, and trying to advance accessibility within their organization is teaching accessibility. But accessibility is a complex topic that requires attention to diverse subject areas, including disability, law, design, engineering, human factors, policy, strategy, methods, and more. Requirements are ever-changing to keep pace with technology and social change. Due to its dynamic, multi-faceted nature, accessibility as a topic area can be difficult to teach effectively.

Teaching Accessibility in the Digital Skill Set is a five-year research project, based in the Centre for Research in Inclusion at the Southampton Education School. Funded by UK Research and Innovation, the project is exploring accessibility education with the aim of improving accessibility teaching practice in education and the workplace. In our Expert Panel workstream, we conducted interviews with 14 experienced accessibility teachers from around the world to learn about their experiences with teaching accessibility.

In this session we will share their perspectives on the challenges of teaching accessibility and effective ways to explain and explore accessibility topics. Attendees will learn by example ways to improve the effectiveness of their accessibility teaching and outreach.


  1. Everyone who is involved in advancing accessibility will at some point be teaching accessibility.
  2. Teaching accessibility requires coverage of diverse topic areas in the context of ever-changing requirements.
  3. Expert accessibility teachers have been grappling with the challenges and have found ways to teach effectively

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Sarah Horton

Sarah Horton is a member of the research team working on the Teaching Accessibility in the Digital Skill Set study at the Centre for Research in Inclusion, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton. Sarah began as a designer and developer in 1991 at Yale University, making instructional CD-ROMs on cardiothoracic imaging. She was an instructional technologist at Dartmouth College, helping faculty across disciplines use technology to teach. Later she worked at the institutional level, as web director at Dartmouth and then strategy lead on Harvard University’s web transformation project. As an accessibility engineer with The Paciello Group, Sarah performed design reviews and audits of websites, applications, apps, and devices, and conducted user research and usability studies. She was lead for TPG’s strategy services, providing strategic consulting to teams and organizations seeking to incorporate accessibility into culture and practice. She has worked with a broad range of companies and organizations, gaining insights into how accessibility is currently managed and manifested in our digital world. Sarah is co-author of Web Style Guide with Patrick Lynch and A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences with Whitney Quesenbery.