David Berman Communications
David Berman will help you repeat your successes

Writing For the Web with Accessibility in Mind: inclusive content development for creators

Course Description

PLEASE NOTE: When we present this topic as a public course, it is part of our general course on accessible Web and documents for writers, designers, and developers — when we present just for your organization we can make it exclusively for content professionals.

This intensive and interactive course provides a strong fundamental understanding of the value, principles and techniques of creating and maintaining content that includes everyone, without tradeoffs, whether writing for websites, apps, or documents.

This course was developed by David Berman (bestselling author and web accessibility expert), in concert with the Government of Canada and their world-leading approach to “inclusive by default” approach to their web presence.

We’ve put together a comprehensive, powerful and memorable event, where attendees walk away with immediately-applicable tips and techniques to make their sites and documents accessible.

Shaw Media talks about David Berman Communications onsite accessibility course

Transcript | Shaw Media talks about David Berman Communications onsite accessibility course

This is a transcript of the video Shaw Media talks about David Berman Communications onsite accessibility course.


(TEXT ON SCREEN: David Berman Communications Review, November 15 2016, Shaw Media)

(TEXT ON SCREEN: Andrew Davies, Experience Design Manager, Shaw Media)

(A man in a sweater faces the camera, and continues to do so throughout the video.)

My name’s Andrew Davies, and I’m the Manager of Experience Design for Shaw Media. My team of web designers and user experience designers are responsible for the maintenance and enhancements to all of our brand websites and applications. Those brands include Global TV, Global News, Food, HGTV, Slice, History, and Showcase.

My team will be embarking on a redesign of one of our major branded websites, and there was an opportunity for us to incorporate accessibility as part of this redesign. So essentially David came in for a full day of training for about 30 developers, 10 graphic designers, and my UX team. I was concerned that taking that many people out of their daily work schedule was going to be really hard on the business, and also be hard to keep those people engaged.

David used real-life examples, got people up and interacting. It was an amazing experience. Tremendous amount of feedback. People stayed for the entire session. Often times people would be jumping up for meetings in other full-day sessions. Not the case with David’s.

I’m very confident that moving forward we’re going to be able to incorporate all the best practices to make sure that our new branded websites will be fully accessible, and that we’ll achieve web accessibility accreditation.

(TEXT ON SCREEN: David Berman Communications Review, November 15 2016, Shaw Media)


What’s Wrong

Although most content professionals now create their products with the latest content containers in mind, they still experience difficulty meeting or exceeding accessibility standards in a way that keeps projects on schedule, and fully realizes the benefits. And when they do, they often spend more time and effort than they need to reaching and maintaining their content to those standards. By not understanding why each standard or technique exists, they risk doing unnecessary work, making content less attractive or useful to the mainstream audience … and with perhaps mediocre results for people living with disabilities.

“I enjoyed David’s approach immensely. He’s authoritative but open to the opinions and ideas of others. Best of all, he has a naturally flowing sense of humor.”

– Edward VanArsdall, Center for Plain Language

“Excellent, based on lots of knowledge and experience.”

– Luc Provencher, National Research Council

“Very good speaker – good sense of humour.”

– Johan Fong, House of Commons


– Sjur Kristiansen, Telenor Telecommunications Group

“Eye-opening. Love your method of teaching.”

– Jean Descrochers, National Research Council

“I enjoyed it all.”

– Robert Hallat, Public Service Commission

“Right on target.”

– Marius Monsen, Reaktor ID

“He knows what to do! This will guide us for the AA Standards”

– Bassil Wehbe, Agriculture Canada

What Makes This Course Unique

Our course developer, David Berman, aside from being an author published in six languages, is a consultant on plain language and web strategy for large Web sites, and has worked on Web accessibility projects for many organizations including Statistics Canada, the National Research Council, BMO, and IBM. He has spoken at the largest plain language conference in the World, and addressed the Center for Plain Language at the National Press Club in Washington.

By addressing and understanding accessibility issues, writers can more effectively craft words and and multimedia experiences that deliver their messages to their whole audience (include search and AI engines), while complying with the legal and moral responsibilities.

Why accessibility?

We need to know about accessibility because we’re all producing web content—and we’re bound by national charters of rights and freedoms, international treaties, government standards and regulations that demand accessibility for everyone, whatever the visual, auditory, mobility, auditory, or cognitive abilities.

For a fully keyboard-accessible alternative for this video, either view it in Chrome or any Android or iOS device, view in Firefox with the YouTube ALL HTML5 add-on installed, or disable Flash in current Internet Explorer.

“One of the most inspiring speakers I have ever met. I enjoyed learning from him the entire morning and wish it would have been a full day”

– Cherrie Werestiuk-Evans, Government of Manitoba

“I thoroughly enjoyed David’s presentation and am thinking of so many uses for what I have learned… this was one of the most interesting and useful hours I’ve spent in 2016.”

– Carol Tobiassen, United Health Group

“Excellent facilitator… great presentation”

– Patricia Slatlen, Shaw Media

“David used real-life examples, got people up and interacting. It was an amazing experience”

– Andrew Davies, Shaw Media

“Very knowledgeable and charismatic. Made the talk about a somewhat dry subject very interesting, and he never faltered on a question.”

– Bjorn Ramroop, Loblaw Digital

Goals and learning outcomes

  1. Become familiar with the best practices and prescribed rules, guidelines and standards of writing and creating content that includes everybody.
  2. Develop awareness on how people living with disabilities access your content.
  3. Be confident that you know when you’ve reached the point where you can proudly proclaim that your content meets or exceeds the standards.
  4. Learn techniques to deliver on all of the above, in ways that improves the user experience for your entire audience!

At the end of this event, you will have these learning outcomes:

  • know techniques you can apply right away to make your words, your graphics, and all your multimedia content more accessible
  • have a comprehensive understanding of W3C’s WCAG 2.0, WCAG 2.1, PDF/UA, AODA, ADA, and other current accessibility standards and how to meet them
  • be able to make informed decisions as to what degree to comply with accessibility standards
  • be aware of techniques that can vastly reduce the cost of publishing online
  • understand better the experience of those with disabilities using websites, documents, multimedia, and apps
  • know you’re doing the “right thing” … by ensuring accessibility for all


– Steinar Sandum, Adax, Svelvik (Norway)

“Interesting content, really well delivered. Visual and engaging. Gives us a common language and approach.”

– Chris Cook, CFIA

“Although I am from a program with no technical background, this seminar will change the way we prepare/write/present documents, policies, directives, forms, etc for posting on the Web.”

– Sharon Drolet, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

What You Will Learn (agenda for full public version of the course)

    • Why should we care?
      • How accessible products are better for everyone
    • What are the challenges people face?
      • The major disabilities and challenges: what they are and how most of us have—or will have—some level of difficulty that can be assisted by accessible design
    • What assistive technologies close the gaps?
    • What are the regulations and standards? Demystifying the acronyms…
      • ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act
      • Section 508
      • AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the World’s strongest and where all of Canada and the USA is headed)
      • Standard on Web Accessibility / Canada.ca Style Guide
      • PDF/UA: the accessibility standard for PDF
      • WCAG: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: all relevant WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA success criteria
      • Relevant WCAG 2.1 Level A and Level AA success criteria
    • Which parts of the WCAG success criteria are pertinent to writers and content creators?
      • Alternative text
      • Document structure
      • Tables
      • Link descriptions
      • Proper handling of acronyms and initialisms
      • Plain language
    • How professionals in your field comply with every success criteria, without tradeoffs
    • What are the testing tools to confirm that you’re meeting or exceeding the standards?
    • What else should you consider? Level AAA success criteria relevant to your audience
    • Applying these principles beyond website and documents: email, social media, etc.
    • Q&A until we run out of questions!

    What You Get

    When David Berman Communications hosts this course*, regular ticket holders receive:

    • a complimentary, comprehensive 160+ page learning guide, detailing every major accessibility guideline (also available separately for $97 with optional 1-on-1 distance coaching)
    • if onsite: meals, snacks and beverages
    • a signed course certificate, suitable for framing
    • a thirty-minute one-on-one personal coaching tele-session with David within a month
    • the option to attend this course again in the future, as a refresherat no additional cost
    • the option to attend the first half on one date and the second half at a future date
    • money-back guarantee: if, after coaching and refresher, you don’t think you’ve got your money’s worth, we’ll refund your entire registration fee

    (*If you are attending one of our courses hosted by another organization, confirm which of these items apply.)
    Register or call 1-613-728-6777… or bring this event to your site: for a keynote, half-day, or full-day event, customized for your group.

    Choose your date and register now

    Prerequisites: None

    “Clear and entertaining: will allow more strategic planning rather than just reactionary stumbling.”

    – Steve Doody, Justice Canada

    “This will make us better communicators.”

    – Luc Bergeron, SSHRC


    – Jean Leclair, Environment Canada

    “Loved the examples. David is very engaging and knowledgeable facilitator. His passion is obvious. Will help me better evangelize.”

    – Patrick Dunphy, CBC

    “Excellent: very engaging speaker.”

    – Jean-Marc Mondoux, Elections Canada

    About our Expert Presenters

    David Berman, the developer and trainer for all our course material and course leaders, is the principal of David Berman Communications. He has over 30 years of experience in graphic design and strategic communications.

    David was appointed a high-level advisor to the United Nations on how universal design and accessible IT can help fulfill the Millennium Development Goals more rapidly.

    In 2013, The World Wide Web Foundation had David personally audit the accessibility of benchmark Web sites from over 40 countries for their global report on the state of the Web.

    He is a member of the ISO standards committee on accessible PDF documents.

    His book (Do Good Design, Pearson/Peachpit, 2009) about how design can be used to create a more just world speaks about universal design and accessibility, and is now available in 6 languages, as well as braille.

    He has worked extensively in adapting the printed word for electronic distribution, including software interface development.

    He has much experience as a senior consultant in applying accessibility and standards to government Web sites, as well as to private sector clients such as IBM and BMO, both as a strategist and compliance testing/coaching leader. He regularly teaches accessibility principles as part of his professional development workshops, and developed custom workshops for the National Research Council and Ontario’s largest school board. His plain writing, design, and accessibility work include award-winning projects for the City of Ottawa, the Ontario government, and the federal government. Clients include Justice Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Region of Ottawa-Carleton and the Ontario Literacy Coalition.

    David’s opinions have been featured in the Financial Post, the Globe And Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Montreal Gazette, Marketing, Applied Arts, HOW, and Communication Arts magazines, as well as ABC and CBS.

    David ranks #1 on speakerwiki.org on this topic for a reason. His arc as an internationally-celebrated expert speaker has brought him to over 30 countries. He is a National Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF).

    Who Should Attend

    Everyone who is called to write content destined to be published online including social media, internal and external websites, and documents. This includes our Communications Officers as well as online training material developers, instructional designers, people responsible for writing reports (e.g., annual reports, audit reports, evaluation reports, performance Reports … anyone who writes for the Web.

    This course is targeted to all writers, translators, editors, designers, and managers involved in developing Web content, documents, and new media projects.

    • communications professionals
    • writers
    • translators
    • editors
    • content owners
    • word processors
    • graphic designers
    • instructional designers
    • quality control specialists
    • people who need to get their Web site compliant with current and future government accessibility standards (e.g. W3C WCAG 2.0, ADA, Section 508, AODA)
    • people who coordinate development teams

    This course delivers knowledge required for Level A and Level AA awareness training as documented in the Government of Canada’s Accessibility Responsibility Breakdown (WCAG 2.0). This course incorporates adult learning principles and activities appropriate to a variety of learning styles, and qualifies for CEUs.


    English or French available on-site or onlne.


    One-day course, half-day course, or keynote presentation (we provide this topic customized on-site for your organization).

    To be notified via e-mail of when we schedule new instances of this topic, subscribe to our E-Newsletter.


    “Wonderful handout! The way extra information, like links and explanations, is included works beautifully.”

    – Elizabeth Strand, Making Waves, Oslo (Norway)

    – Maureen Quirouet, Parliament of Canada


    – Sylvie Nyman, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

    “Excellent, eye-opening, and not preachy!”

    – Carrie Walker-Boyd, Canadian Food Inspection Agency


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    Reviewed December 30, 2021




    For the convenience of course attendees, we provide this list of hypertext links and books cited in this course’s learning guide roughly in the order they appear in the course and learning guide:

    Legislation, lawsuits, and standards

    Other countries

    Accessibility guidelines

    Assistive technologies and techniques

    Visual difficulties
    Dexterity/mobility/motor difficulties


    Hearing difficulties

    iOS Accessibility

    Android, Windows Phone Accessibility

    WCAG 2.0 (including Success Criteria Level A and AA, in order)

    Guideline 1.1: Text Alternatives
    Guideline 1.2: Time-based Media
    Guideline 1.3: Adaptable
    Guideline 1.4: Distinguishable
    Guideline 2.1: Keyboard Accessible
    Guideline 2.2: Enough Time
    Guideline 2.3: Seizures
    Guideline 2.4: Navigable
    Guideline 3.1: Readable
    Guideline 3.2: Predictable
    Guideline 3.3: Input Assistance
    Guideline 4.1: Compatible, etc.

    Testing tools for web and mobile

    WCAG 2.1 (including the new Success Criteria Level A and AA, in order)

    Document standards, techniques and testing


    Instructional design software: Adobe Captivate

    Instructional design software: Articulate Storyline

    Instructional design software: other

    Accessible virtual classroom platforms

    Introduction to Online Learning and Accessibility

    Accessible content management

    White papers

    Other accessibility links



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    • … or call 613-728-6777 to register over the phone
    • … or download our registration form PDF, and fax it back to 613-482-4777

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