Screen Reader User Tester Training Program

Learn the Skills Needed for User Testing Websites & Mobile Apps with a Screen Reader

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that websites, mobile applications, and documents be accessible to all users. When companies and organizations design and code digital properties correctly, people with disabilities can use them. However, without proper user testing, many of these digital properties are developed with accessibility barriers that make them difficult or impossible for some people to use.

The Screen Reader User Tester Training Program at the Carroll Center for the Blind will prepare participants to obtain employment in the field of digital accessibility to help companies with their accessibility compliance. Whether they work as an independent contractor, are hired by one of the many accessibility consulting companies, or are hired by entities with their own internal accessibility expertise, this program will position participants for a solid career path in digital accessibility.

What Is A Screen Reader User Tester?

Screen reader user testers are skilled and experienced users of popular screen reading software, including JAWS, NVDA, etc. These individuals understand digital accessibility in desktop and mobile environments. They can identify accessibility barriers and communicate issues to developers as well as non-technical stakeholders so that accessibility problems can be remediated. Screen reader user testers are not web accessibility specialists. Rather, they provide important information about a screen reader user’s actual ability to interact with a digital product, based on its level of accessibility.

Become A Screen Reader User Tester

During the intensive remote seven-week Screen Reader User Tester Training Program at the Carroll Center for the Blind, you’ll learn and grow your ability to professionally explore, test, and report findings regarding the accessibility of websites, mobile applications, and PDF documents. Instruction will build upon previously acquired skills to deepen your knowledge of devices, web browsers, applications, and strategies, focusing on using it to assess digital accessibility based upon the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines standards and requirements.

The goal of this innovative program is to provide avenues of employment for people who are blind or visually impaired, specifically within the Digital Accessibility industry. Participants who successfully complete this seven-week training program at the Carroll Center for the Blind will also have the opportunity to apply for a paid remote internship. During internships, participants will further develop their skills while navigating opportunities for a career in the field of Digital Accessibility. Graduates will be able to work as usability and accessibility testers of digital platforms, including websites, mobile apps, and electronic documents like PDFs.

  • Understanding digital accessibility, disability types, and various assistive technologies.
  • Understanding accessible web development components including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ARIA.
  • Understanding screen reader detectable WCAG 2.1 success criteria.
  • Understanding web and mobile app elements in their semantic context.
  • Evaluating the functional accessibility of web pages, PDFs, and mobile apps.
  • Creating screen reader user tester reports and communicating those findings to stakeholders.
  • Building a portfolio of sample work.
  • Interviewing, resume writing, and digital networking techniques.
  • Opportunity to apply to a post-graduation internship in the field of digital accessibility.
  • Explore and improve your competency with the JAWS, NVDA, Narrator, VoiceOver, and Talkback screen readers.
  • Key features of the Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge web browsers for Windows.
  • Key features of the Safari web browser for Mac OS.
  • Cloud-based file management with Dropbox, One Drive, and Google Drive for Windows.
  • Creating accessible Word documents.
  • Creating accessible Excel documents.
  • Creating basic PowerPoint presentations.
  • Outlook and Google Calendar appointment management.
  • Accessing and navigating Adobe Acrobat DC PDF documents.
  • Zoom Meeting conferencing.
  • Working with Google Docs and Sheets files.
  • Determining software versions, updating applications, and locating system information.

To be considered for this training program, applicants must:

  • Have at least 3-years of experience using JAWS on a PC on a regular basis.
  • Have a minimum typing speed of at least 30 WPM and accuracy of at least 90%.
  • Be competent in the use of the native screen reader on their smartphone.
  • Possess excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Be able to send and receive emails, including attachments, that are free of errors on both their laptop and smartphone.
  • Be able to compose, format, edit, spell check, and save simple Word documents.
  • Possess basic web browsing skills including opening webpages, utilizing common navigation commands, completing online forms, and downloading files.
  • Be able to manage and organize files and folders.
  • Have a method for taking notes during the training.
  • Have an Associate’s degree or higher.
  • Have a laptop running a current build of Windows 10 or 11 with a microphone and optional webcam. The current versions/builds of the following programs should be installed prior to training: Microsoft Office 365 or 2019 or above (installed locally), Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome (with an active Google account), Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Dropbox for PC (with an active account), Zoom Application for PC (with an active account), and the current versions of JAWS and NVDA.
  • Bring their own iPhone or Android phone. The device should be running a current version of the operating system.

The next offering of the Screen Reader User Tester Training Program will run this fall from October 3, 2022 through November 18, 2022.

Meet the Instructors

Headshot of instructor David Kingsbury. He is a white man with brown and grey hair.

About David Kingsbury

David Kingsbury has been an Assistive Technology Instructor at the Carroll Center for the Blind since 2015. He is also a 2007 graduate of the Independent Living Program. He trains people of all ages who are blind to use assistive technology tools, including screen reader programs, MS Office, web browsers, and VoiceOver on the iPhone. He has prepared numerous reports for the Carroll Center’s Accessibility Services Department on the accessibility of websites, PDF documents and iPhone apps. David is the author of three books on using screen reader programs in the Windows environment. He is also President of the Bay State Council of the Blind, the Massachusetts affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, where he is active in policy advocacy.

Headshot of instructor Nicholas Corbett. He is a white man with long brown hair.

About Nicholas Corbett

Nicholas Corbett has been with the Carroll Center since 2017 when he joined its Rehabilitation team as a Technology Skills Instructor and Project Specialist. In 2021, he transitioned into the role of Accessibility Training and Research Coordinator. Nicholas is an advanced user and instructor of accessibility software across Microsoft, Google, and Apple products, and he enables others to communicate with language that can be understood by users and developers of digital resources; thereby, promoting employment and opportunities in the digital accessibility space for people with visual impairments. Nicholas is also the Treasurer of the Baystate Council of the Blind (BSCB), the Massachusetts affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), where he manages financial operations to facilitate the consumer advocacy mission of BSCB.

Headshot of instructor Marianne Gilmore. She is a white woman with long blonde hair.

About Marianne Gilmore

Marianne Gilmore has been the Workforce Development Specialist at The Carroll Center for the Blind since 2009. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling (VRC), then receiving her Master’s in Science in VRC from Boston University and pursuing further graduate studies in Non-Profit Leadership through Northeastern University. She is highly successful in matching consumers with jobs within their areas of interest that allow them to achieve their highest levels of independence and success. Marianne has been recognized by the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s “Work Without Limits” (WWL) organization for her innovative efforts to advance employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities through her networking and outreach. In 2020, Marianne created a successful remote job-seeking skills class for teens at The Carroll Center. And, perhaps most significantly, despite the challenges of COVID over the past two years, Marianne has successfully placed a record number of clients with low and no vision into jobs during 2020 and 2021.

Admission Deadlines

Admission to the Screen Reader User Tester Training Program is on a rolling basis in which applications are reviewed and interview decisions are made at regular intervals during the admissions cycle. Zoom interviews are conducted and selection decisions for the program are made until the class is filled. Applicants are notified of their selection status within three to five weeks after their interview date.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should take the Pre-Qualification Screening Assessment. Applicants who pass this assessment will be emailed the program application, asked to submit a writing sample and resume to the course instructor and asked to confirm their funding source in writing to the Carroll Center’s Director of Admissions. Remote interviews will be scheduled following the completion of the above steps. Before applying, be sure to check out some of the frequently asked questions about the Screen Reader User Tester Training program. The next offering of the Screen Reader User Tester Training Program will run this fall from October 3, 2022, through November 18, 2022.

Learn More about the Program Creation

The first-of-its-kind career development program is supported by The Gibney Family Foundation to help adults seeking employment learn the skills needed to professionally explore, test, and report about the accessibility of websites, mobile applications, and digital document files. Read more about the creation of the Screen Reader User Tester Training program here.

Proudly Supported by The Gibney Family Foundation

The Gibney Family Foundation logo