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How (Not) to Teach Web Design and Development

| Proposal No: 916

Bios & Handouts


  • Terrill Thompson, Manager, IT Accessibility Team, University of Washington

Disability Area:            

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

It's true: People are learning to create web pages the wrong way. This session will include a few examples of this, but will primarily focus on the solution, exploring strategies for integrating accessibility into trainings and courses, including one example of a web design course that emphasizes andards and accessibility.


Web accessibility has been around since the beginning of the Web, and shortly thereafter the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 became an official recommendation in 1999. However, despite this long history of accessibility being an integral part of the Web, few web designers and developers today are exposed to accessibility principles. Formal courses that are offered in K-12 as well as university settings, as well as books and online trainings, tend to teach techniques without mentioning accessibility. Often the techniques they're recommending result in accessible content. This session will share a few of the many bad examples out there, but the bulk of the session will focus on the solution, rather than the problem. Participants will explore strategies for integrating accessibility into technical trainings and courses, and will learn how the University of Washington has built an entire course curriculum, now used widely in K-12 classrooms worldwide, with an emphasis on standards-based and accessible design.


  1. Attendees will be exposed to examples of bad instruction in web design curricula.
  2. Attendees will learn stratgies for integrating accessibility into curriculum.
  3. Attendees will learn about WebD2, a free web design curriculum that emphasizes accessibility.

Speaker Bio(s)

Terrill Thompson

Terrill Thompson is manager of the IT Accessibility Team at the University of Washington.