My Learning on “A11y”

What does the term a11y mean?

a11y” is an abbreviation used for “accessibility,” the concept of whether a product or service can be used by everyone, even when those people’s abilities are limited in some way.

a11y is a numeronym, with 11 representing the count of letters between the first letter a and the last letter y. Similar numeronyms: “internationalization”, shortened to “i18n”, and “localization” which is substituted for “l10n”.

Understanding disabilities

Image source:

Of late, I am passionate about user experience & design and as a tester, I got an opportunity to be part of an accessibility testing advocacy group at my organisation, which incited me to explore more on accessibility, attend virtual conferences, take up a certification and finally journal my learning here. 

The online course on Accessibility introduced the below video Timothy Nugent: The Game Changer, that gave me a new perspective and the need to support people with disabilities, with places and applications that are accessible. It is evident from the video, that an accessible environment and accessible learning opportunities, gave hope and life to the disabled veterans, who otherwise might have been confined to bed for life.

Designing for user with disabilities. Please click the image, to enlarge.

Assistive technologies to support people with disabilities

Examples of Assistive Technologies

Vision Impaired: Screen Readers, Optical Character Recognition, Magnifiers

Hearing Impaired: Cochlear Implants, Closed Captioning videos, Signages

Mobility Impaired: Powered Wheelchairs, Crutches, Special Mouse/Keyboard, Voice Recognition, Eye Tracking.

Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist, had paralysis as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but he was able to control his computer through cheek movements. In turn, his cheek movements triggered an infrared switch attached to his glasses that allowed him to select text characters on a screen in front of him which could then be rendered as text or digital speech output. 

Look at the world from a different perspective. What technology can do to improve the lives of 1.3 billion people? Please spend 2 minutes closing your eyes while you listen to it while experiencing the world as some experience life.

While the course content can be viewed for free, I have added more links that I referred to learn.

References and a wealth of resources:





PS: Thanks to my colleague Yuliya, who shared a lot of information on this topic, about courses and relevant events. Also, thank my team members Nathan, Martha, Chandra, Sandhya, Abel, Liz & Carolina, whose contributions to the accessibility advocacy group, helped improve my knowledge.

Learning to keep my writing short & simple. Please excuse the lengthy post.

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