Events, Trainings, and Accessibility Boutiques

Experts at the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access offer various training events throughout the year to share best practices in web accessibility and access technology. Below is a list of the events by date. We host conferences, seminars, and accessibility boutiques.

Maryland Department of Disabilities Logo

Accessibility Boutiques and CENA seminars are offered by the National Federation of the Blind thanks to the support of state of Maryland through the Nonvisual Accessibility Initiative grant administered by the Maryland Department of Disabilities.

Office 365 Suite Accessibility Boutique - October 4, 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET 

Register for the virtual Office 365 Suite Accessibility Boutique 
 
Microsoft’s Office 365 Office Suite can be a powerful online tool for students, those working from home, and businesses and government entities. The online Office 365 Suite of applications can even help you get work done on the go. But have you ever wondered if the online Office 365 Suite of products has the same functionality and accessibility features as the desktop computer version of Microsoft Office? 
 
If so, The National Federation of the Blind in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities invites you to attend the Office 360 Suite Accessibility Boutique. Learn about the features of Microsoft’s online Office 365 Suite and its accessibility for blind and low-vision users. The Boutique will focus on Office 365’s Word, PowerPoint, and Excel applications. 
 
Register today for the Office 365 Suite Accessibility Boutique, October 4, 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. 

Education Technology Accessibility Boutique - October 25, 2022, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. ET 

Register for the virtual Ed Tech Accessibility Boutique 
  
Educators, students, and parents must now deal with a wide variety of technology used in schools. Knowing which technologies are accessible to all students is increasingly difficult. The National Federation of the Blind in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities is hosting an Ed Tech Accessibility Boutique where we will discuss the accessibility of several educational technologies used in the classroom.  
 
Some topics to be covered include: 

  • The importance of educational technology being accessible to blind and low-vision students. 
  • Accessible Learning Management Systems (LMS)  
  • Document Accessibility  
  • The accessibility of other technology used in classrooms 

The Ed Tech Accessibility Boutique is a great opportunity for teachers, administrators, parents of blind students, blind parents, students, and any education professional who uses educational technology to learn more about the accessibility of educational technology.  
 
Register today for the Ed Tech Accessibility Boutique, October 25, 2022, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.   

Social Media Accessibility Boutique - November 29, 2022, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET 

Register for the virtual Social Media Accessibility Boutique 
 
Social media has become a regular part of our daily lives. Whether it is keeping up with your family and friends' latest activities on Facebook, engaging with people on Twitter, or watching the latest viral video on TikTok, there’s always something competing for our attention. But the lack of accessibility of social media platforms and content make it difficult for blind users to keep up with the latest trends and activities on social media.   
 
The National Federation of the Blind in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities is hosting a Social Media Accessibility Boutique where you can learn strategies for successfully navigating social media platforms as a blind person. The boutique will also feature tips on how you can make social media content accessible to blind and low vision users.  
 
The Social Media Accessibility Boutique will focus on the Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok platforms. The training will include: 

  • Tips and recommendations on navigating the platforms with screen readers; 
  • Tips on finding and engaging with content; and  
  • Best practices for posting accessible content on social media. 

Register today for the Social Media Accessibility Boutique, November 29, 2022, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Accessible Device Showcase Seminar - December 14, 2022, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET 

Register for the virtual Accessible Device Showcase Seminar 
 
Whether you are buying for yourself or you are searching for the perfect gift for family or friends, it can be hard to find consumer electronic devices that are accessible to blind and low vision individuals.  
 
The National Federation of the Blind in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities is hosting an Accessible Device Showcase Boutique that will help you fill your gift giving and personal wish lists with the latest in accessible consumer electronic devices. From smart homes to leisure activities, we will cover: 

  • Video games 
  • Smart home devices 
  • Mobile applications 
  • Toys and games 
  • Home appliances  

Register today for the Accessible Device Showcase Seminar, December 14, 2022, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. 

Previous Events

Web Accessibility Testing Seminar   

On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, seminar participants were shown how to build a solid foundation in website accessibility to test their own websites. Properly testing a website for accessibility for blind and low-vision users may seem to be a daunting task. 

You may be struggling with questions such as: 

  • Which automated tool should I use?  
  • How much manual testing is needed?  
  • Do I need to know how to use a screen reader to test my site?  

The National Federation of the Blind can helped answer these questions and more during a half-day Web Accessibility Testing Boutique. The Boutique offered attendees information on various aspects of both manual and automated website accessibility testing. The Boutique included information on testing webpages with automated tools, reviewing automated testing tool reports, and using screen readers to manually test webpages. 

Hands-on web accessibility testing experience was included. The group reviewed and analyze a report from an automated website accessibility testing tool. The group was also guided through testing a webpage manually with NVDA, a free open-source screen reading application. 

The seminar was recommended for website developers, web designers, web administrators, content administrators, website owners, those who administer a website for a business or government agency, web coordinators, or those who review or audit websites for accessibility..  

Intro to Web Accessibility

On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, the National Federation of the Blind hosted an Intro to Web Accessibility Boutique.

Blind users use the internet every day. And 81% of Americans say that they access the internet via computers or mobile apps every single day. Americans use the internet for everything from work, to caring for their selves and families, to being entertained. Yet, many websites and apps remain difficult to impossible for blind people to access because they are not designed with accessibility in mind.

Web accessibility is easy when designed from the start, and designing accessible websites and apps can benefit everyone, not just blind users. The National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility's Intro to Web Accessibility Boutique showed participants how to make their websites and apps accessible to blind users and better for everyone. The boutique covered topics such as:

  • What is a screen reader, and what is the experience for someone who depends on this technology to navigate websites.
  • What should a web developer keep in mind to make sure their websites are accessible.
  • What are the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

The Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility presented this free Intro to Web Accessibility Boutique in partnership with the Maryland Department of disabilities.

Creating Accessible Documents Boutique

On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility hosted an event discussing how  to create accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents 

From students to professionals to friends in our community, we share digital documents daily. It is important to ensure that digital documents are equally accessible to blind people. Contrary to what many believe, it is actually simple to make your digital documents completely accessible to users of assistive technology.

At the The National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility Creating Accessible Documents Boutique participants learned some of the basic but powerful techniques experts use every day to build accessibility into their digital documents. Some topics that will be covered include:

  • Word document accessibility  
  • PowerPoint accessibility
  • PDF accessibility

Learning how to create accessible digital documents is easy and making a habit of creating accessible docs is painless. And creating accessible documents makes them better for everybody, not just blind people using assistive technology.

Recording and materials coming soon.

Linux Accessibility Boutique

On Tuesday, June 28, 2022 the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility hosted an event discussing the Linux operating system.

Linux administration is a high-demand job skill offering competitive pay, which is easily accessible for blind people. In addition, most existing training is also accessible without having to add special instructions for how to use Linux with a screen reader. We have answers about what resources can get you started.

The National Federation of the Blind is excited to present an accessibility boutique all about Linux on Tuesday, June 28 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. eastern time, the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility will present David Hathaway to share the ins, the outs, and the whys about this powerful, free operating system. David runs a school in Malaysia which teaches Linux administration to blind people, preparing them to sit for the LPI Certification, as well as for diverse jobs in information technology.

Recording and materials coming soon.

Busting Myths Surrounding Hiring the Blind

On Tuesday, May 31, 2022, the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility hosted an event to dispel myths around blind people in the workplace. This Accessibility Boutique featured a panel discussion with industry leaders and experts on blindness in the state of Maryland.

  • Ronza Othman, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland
  • Kristin Patterson of the Maryland Department of Labor
  • Kevan Worley of Worley Enterprises
  • Maurice Peret, Career Mentoring & Employment Programs at the National Federation of the Blind

Recording and materials coming soon.

Online Learning Platforms Seminar

Many online education services allow a person to learn a variety of subjects through text and video courses. Unfortunately, the accessibility of both the course platform and course content can vary wildly, and even be inconsistent with each other. The National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility hosted a seminar on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, to discuss the accessibility of several online learning platforms, such as SkillShare, Udemy, and MasterClass. For each service, the seminar covered topics including:

  • Signing up for the platform
  • Courses offered
  • Accessibility of the web site and app
  • Accessibility of the course content
  • And more

Recording and materials coming soon.

Braille for Beginners

What is Braille? It is a logical and versatile system for reading and writing. Learn about the use of Braille for education, employment, entertainment, and the many aspects of life! Translation software is available as a tool to assist in the creation of complete, accurate, navigable, and timely Braille documents. On Tuesday, April 26, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. eastern time, when we covered the basics about Braille. We discussed the following:

  • Braille—how it works, how it is used
  • Steps for producing braille documents
  • Introduction to BrailleBlaster, free braille translation software

… and more. Recording and materials coming soon.

Beyond the Web Page: Strategies for Using Web Applications with Screen Readers

The lines between desktop and web applications overlap as new technologies are developed. This results in web pages that behave like desktop programs and desktop programs that behave like web pages. This increases complexity for screen reader users as long established routines and expected behaviors no longer work. Screen reader users must adapt to changing workflows and new behaviors on the fly more than ever before. The National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Accessibility present on Tuesday February 22, 2022 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. eastern via Zoom tips and strategies for navigating complex web sites and web applications with a screen reader. Topics covered:

  • recognizing when something is more than just a web page
  • finding documentation and keyboard shortcuts
  • screen reader tips for interacting with complex web applications
  • commonly encountered issues and how to deal with them
  • and more.

Recording and materials coming soon.

Excel and PowerPoint Document Accessibility Boutique

Learning how to use certain tools in Excel and PowerPoint can seem complicated at first, especially if you are a screen reader user. However, these are common documents used in schools, organizations, and volunteer work. Microsoft Office provides tools for screen reader users to create accessible documents. We covered:

  • Excel
    • Pivot tables
    • Building graphs
    • Using filters
  • PowerPoint
    • Adding alternative text
    • Adding multimedia
    • Presenting as a screen reader user

… and more. Recording and materials coming soon.

Overview of Collaboration Tools Seminar

Businesses and teams of all types continue to collaborate and work together online with project management tools and other collaboration platforms. These platforms enable teams in widely distributed areas to work seamlessly with each other. The National Federation of the Blind Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access compared the accessibility of several of the top collaboration services. We will review Slack, Microsoft Teams, Trello, and Discord. For each service, topics we covered:

  • Initial setup
  • Creating projects
  • Chatting among team members
  • Sharing files
  • And more

Recording and materials coming soon.

More Information

For more information about CENA or to inquire about potential partnership opportunities, please call us at 410-659-9314, option 5 or email us at [email protected].