The online course comprises a 35 minute interactive training experience, including a mock exam, and a 45 minute test immediately after. A mark of at least 77% will earn you a pass certificate, over 90% and you are awarded a merit and over 97% will yield a pass with distinction. The course claims to be the only such training programme in existence, certificated and backed by industry leading accessibility experts. The bundle we purchased, which includes the course material and an exam, cost a little under £60 per ‘seat’ with test-only costs of £30 including VAT. The course material proved invaluable despite a good amount of real world website accessibility experience, so I would highly recommend the bundle deal.
Having worked through the WCAG 2.0 guidelines a couple of times in the past I assumed it wouldn’t be too difficult to take the test without the accompanying interactive material. I’m very pleased I didn’t attempt that as I almost certainly would have failed as a result. As previously mentioned, I recommend everyone goes through the Flash based presentation thoroughly before taking the test. It turns out the WCAG is only part of the story, and does not in-fact guarantee adherence to the Equality Act 2010 which is something all website operators should be aware of and in compliance with. The exam is focused on a combination of the WCAG, the Equality Act (which makes no reference to the guidelines), the BS8878 code of practice and general questions regarding accessible design and development.
The point being made here is that accessible websites are not simply the product of consuming and regurgitating the W3C’s guidelines in isolation. To produce a site that everyone can enjoy equally well requires understanding of the different issues people with disabilities could face, a willingness to address any inadequacies on your part and - often most importantly - accepting that this process could increase the cost and time it takes to produce a new website. That said, retrofitting an old inaccessible site with modern coding practices and/or alternative content would almost certainly cost a great deal more. Why do either? Websites that don’t function equally well for people with disabilities through poor design, code or content are breaking the law, and there is plentiful help available from public and private sources to enable users to take legal action against site operators on this basis. I always knew good accessibility was best practice, I did not know it was a codified matter of law - I wonder how widely know that fact is?