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 various combinations of popular screen reading software, including but not limited to JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, and Talkback. 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.
Become A Screen Reader User Tester
Welcome to the Screen Reader User Tester Training (SRUTT) Program at the Carroll Center for the Blind. This remote eight-week training program is designed to elevate your understanding of digital accessibility and develop your professional skills in exploring, testing, and reporting on the accessibility of websites, mobile applications, and PDF documents.
The program’s curriculum builds upon your existing digital skills, enhancing your proficiency in various devices, web browsers, and applications. We will guide you through in-depth strategies and techniques for assessing digital accessibility based on the established standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Our primary objective is to foster employment opportunities within the Digital Accessibility industry for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Upon successfully completing the training program, participants will be eligible to apply for paid employment opportunities that we share with all SRUTT graduates. Employment opportunities offer you a chance to hone your skills further while navigating the pathways to a rewarding career in Digital Accessibility.
As a graduate of the SRUTT program, you will be equipped to contribute significantly as an accessibility and usability tester in the digital landscape. This includes the testing of websites, mobile apps, and electronic documents such as PDFs, enhancing their usability and accessibility for all.
- Understanding digital accessibility, disability types, and various assistive technologies.
- 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.
The SRUTT has the following student and technology requirements:
- At least three years’ experience using JAWS or NVDA at an intermediate level on Windows 10 or 11
- At least six months using VoiceOver for iOS or Talkback for Android
- A minimum typing proficiency of 30 words per minute with 90% accuracy
- Proficient in email communication on desktop and mobile
- Proficient in text based document management (Word/Docs)
- Familiar with spreadsheet based document interaction (Excel/Sheets)
- Proficient in English for reading and writing at a college level
- Proficient in fundamental web navigation with multiple pages across multiple tabs
- Proficient in orienting to and navigating within complex folder hierarchies (This PC/Google Drive for Desktop/Google Drive)
- A Windows 10 or 11 PC with at least 6GB of RAM
- Job Access with Speech (JAWS)
- Nonvisual Desktop Access (NVDA)
- An iPhone or Android phone running its latest operating system
- VoiceOver and/or Talkback
- Microsoft Office 365 or 2019 or above (installed locally)
- Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome (with an active Google account)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
- Zoom Application for PC (with an active account)
The next SRUTT class will start on October 16 and last through December 15, 2023. No classes will be held the week of November 20.
Meet the Instructors
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.
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.
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 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 spring 2023 Screen Reader User Tester Training (SRUTT) Program will run from Monday, April 3-Friday, May 19, 2023. To start your application process, please submit our pre-qualification screening assessment which is linked below.
Learn More about the Program Creation
The first-of-its-kind career development program was created 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.
The Accessibility Bootcamp (TAB) for High School and College Students
Current College or High school students interested in accessibility, generative AI, and maximizing productivity with Microsoft and Google apps who also intuitively interact with desktop websites with either Job Access with Speech (JAWS) or Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) will be a perfect fit for this unique opportunity to dive into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)! By completing this opportunity, students will gain valuable skills in web accessibility, generative AI, and productivity tools such as Microsoft and Google apps, which are highly sought after by employers in various industries. These skills will enable them to contribute to a more inclusive and accessible web and increase their competitiveness in the job market. Learn more about The Accessibility Bootcamp for High School and College Students.