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Sitting for the CPACC Exam

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals logo. A dark blue background with IAAP Certified CPACC in white letters all inside of a thin red lined circle.

Ashley Thompson is a member of DubBot’s Support team, serving as our newest Support Engineer. The following post is the first part of a blog series documenting her experiences as she prepares for the CPACC exam. The second blog entry about her experience is available here.

Accessibility on the web first appeared on my radar several years ago when I stumbled across a comment on a humor blog I followed regularly. The comment was a short critique of a few accessibility issues that were present on the page, including color contrast and lack of alt text on images. The comment drew my attention and prompted me to research these terms. That was the first time I went down the rabbit hole on Web Accessibility. Since then, I have joined the field, first as a software developer and now as a Support Engineer for DubBot; a company that makes software used primarily to make the web a more accessible place.

Frequently I encounter gaps in my knowledge when it comes to accessibility and how to bring meaningful improvements to the web for people with disabilities. Working at DubBot has offered me an opportunity to expand my knowledge by becoming a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies. In doing so, I hope to have a more robust understanding of what digital accessibility really means and how to make that happen for our clients.

Deciding where to begin was a little overwhelming at first. Luckily, I have a great support system here at DubBot of folks that have walked this path before me! I was guided to a set of courses through Deque University, which is arguably one of the top providers of accessibility courses and training out there. I registered and was off to the races!

overhead shot of a desk with the keyboard and laptop to the left, a big monitor in the center. There is a floral patterned mouse pad and mouse in front of the monitor and a spiral notebook with white, lined pages in front of the mouse pad.

The course so far has been very straightforward. It starts slowly by explaining the certification, who should certify, and information about the certifying organization, the  International Association of Accessibility Professionals. It then moves on to outlining various disabilities and the assistive technologies that may be used by those who have them. I appreciate how the information is presented, with video clips, supportive images, and a notable lack of flowery language. It is reminiscent of any textbook, which makes studying that much easier.

My plan of attack has undergone several changes since its inception. Balancing work, studying, and parenting has been a challenge! I have been able to find a groove, which includes about an hour in the morning of reading and note-taking and an hour in the afternoon of watching the videos recommended by Deque during the course. I tend to lean old-school when it comes to studying and find hand-written note-taking most effective with my learning style. I’ve also been peeking at practice questions and adjusting my studying techniques as needed. My secret weapon for tackling the technical jargon questions will be a good, old-fashioned stack of flashcards!

Looking ahead, I am very interested in the sections on Universal Design and how we can use this knowledge to affect change for the future of accessibility. Knowing everything is great, but DOING the things is a whole different ballpark!

The second blog entry about her experience is available here.

Ashley Thompson, CPACC
Support Engineer