Accessibility Boutiques and Seminars

Accessibility boutiques and seminars are workshops presented by our access technology experts that provide introductions to accessibility best practices and the latest trends in access tech.

These events are offered by the National Federation of the Blind at no cost to Maryland citizens with support from the state of Maryland through the Nonvisual Accessibility Initiative grant administered by the Maryland Department of Disabilities.


April 14: A Deep Dive into Accessibility Testing

Wednesday, April 14, 1:00–5:00 p.m. eastern time, Zoom Teleconference, Register

This seminar discusses both automated and manual accessibility testing. You will end the day with a solid foundation in making your site easier to use for the greatest number of people.

  • Introduction to accessibility testing
    • WCAG
    • Automated vs. manual testing
    • Overview of tools
  • Introduction and demonstrations of automated testing
    • Strengths and weaknesses of automated testing
    • Types of automated tools
    • Demonstration of single page tools, contrast checker, Wave, AXE extension, and more
    • Discussion of SortSite and automated tools for scanning entire site
  • Activity: Review a single page with Wave and contrast checker
    • Participants will go to the indicated page and run both Wave and contrast checker. Participants will be guided through some errors and encouraged to pick out others. Potential false positives will be indicated also.
  • SortSite report review
    • Participants will be provided with a report generated from SortSite. We will walk through the report, discussing various types of errors and manual checks.
  • Manual testing
    • Why manual testing is needed
    • Testing without a screen reader
    • Using NVDA for testing
    • NVDA features that make testing easier
  • Demonstration of testing with and without screen reader
  • Activity: Testing with screen readers
    • Participants will be directed to download NVDA prior to the session and will be provided with recommended settings and a site to test.
    • Users will be guided through testing a page as well as basic screen reader keystrokes.

April 27: Accessibility of Google Workplace

Tuesday, April 27, 2:00-3:30 p.m. eastern time, Zoom Teleconference, Register

Have you ever been sent a link to a document, rather than a conventional file attachment, and been asked for your input? Or, have you ever heard about Google Docs and wondered what this whole cloud computing concept is all about? Have you tried accessing Google Docs or other web-based applications, only to find yourself frustrated by the fact that they behave differently than traditional locally installed applications with your screen reader? Join the Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access (CENA) staff from the National Federation of the Blind as they demystify the ins and outs of Google Workplace cloud-based productivity suite on Tuesday, April 27 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. via Zoom to learn:

  • What applications are available.
  • How to configure your browser, screen reader, and Google account for the most accessible experience.
  • How to navigate Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

May 25: Procuring Accessible Software for Your Organization

Tuesday, May 25, 2:00-3:30 p.m. eastern time, Zoom Teleconference, Register

Purchasing accessible software can be difficult, especially when one does not know how to ask the right questions. In this boutique, participants will learn fundamentals of digital accessibility that includes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) by the W3C. Furthermore, the bulk of the session will cover:

  • How to make accessible IT procurements.
  • Inclusion of accessibility requirements in the procurement process.
  • How the Maryland Non-Visual Access Clause is incorporated in requests.
  • An introduction to VPAT and how to decipher the VPAT.

Join us on Tuesday, May 25 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. via Zoom to learn how to purchase accessible software from the start.

June 16: Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Office with a Screen Reader

Wednesday, June 16, 1:00–5:00 p.m. eastern time, Zoom Teleconference, Register

Mastering the basics of Office may be easy, but using its advanced features with a screen reader can become tricky. Even if you begin as a novice, during this seminar you will progress toward becoming an advanced user in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

  • Word
    • Headings and styles
    • Track changes and comments
    • Working with graphics
    • Table accessibility
  • Excel
    • Pivot tables
    • Building charts
    • Working with multiple worksheets
    • Advanced tools
  • PowerPoint
    • General PowerPoint instruction
    • Adding multimedia
    • Working with graphics
    • Presenters notes and other tips
  • Outlook
    • Advanced mail techniques
    • Scheduling and calendar techniques
    • Tasks
    • Notes

June 29: Gaming for Everyone

Tuesday, June 29, 2:00-3:30 p.m. eastern time, Zoom Teleconference, Register

With all the stress of work, school, and daily life, it is important to take time out to relax and unwind. One excellent way to do this is through gaming, and the number of accessible options is increasing all the time. Come to our Gaming for Everyone boutique on Tuesday, June 29 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. and learn about accessible gaming options on computers, phones, and consoles. We will demonstrate games from various genres, both those designed for the blind and mainstream options that are playable. We will also discuss ways that blind friends and family members can be included in games that are not otherwise accessible.

More Information

For more information about our accessibility boutiques, please call 410-659-9314, option 5, or email [email protected]