The ABC’s of a11y – Creating a Common Vocabulary

Handouts Media

Presented at 3:30pm in Waverly on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • William Burgess, MTSU

Session Details

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


Is it a heading or a header? Vocabulary is a necessary building block in creating accessible user experiences. Let's collaborate to be sure we're all up-to-speed on the terminology of accessibility.


It's important to know the difference between headings and headers. If you tell a friend, "There's a moose in my house," the person will wonder if you mean "mouse" or if they need to call for backup. Reduce confusion by learning and teaching appropriate vocabulary for accessibility.

We will look at a11y acronyms (and numeronyms, of course), vocabulary that implies semantic structure, and terms that are specific to different assistive technologies.

Mints and water are included!


  1. Learn the industry-standard terms in the world of accessibility
  2. Collaborate and share terms that you've garnered from your work
  3. Get up-to-speed if you're new to the field

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Research, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

William Burgess

Bill started in the field of adaptive technologies at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center working in Vision Impairment Services. From there, he learned the ropes of AT and parlayed that knowledge into managing a lab for students with disabilities at MTSU. He now works for the IT division and helps instructors weave in accessibility practices to their curriculum and student experience.