Here's the link to my Technical Paper
Here's the link to my Presentation
Ultimately, the key takeaway I aimed to impress on the participants was that WCAG, Section 508, and other technical checklists are important to understand. Tools like WebAim, Axe, Lighthouse, Funkify, and other Accessibility checkers/tools are important to understand. Having said that, my talk spent almost no time talking about the checklists or tools. Instead, I asked the participants to take some time to become aware of the variety of disabilities that people deal with (both primary and situational) and focus on being advocates for those individuals. If we live long enough, every one of us will deal with a primary disability of some kind.
Disabilities fall into various spheres (cognitive, mobility, visual, auditory) and even if we do not have a chronic/primary disability, we can find ourselves in situations that render us effectively disabled. If in those situational conditions, we find the products that we work with to be hard to use, imagine how hard/frustrating it is for those with chronic/primary disabilities.
This talk mainly focused on the mindset of the tester and asked for testers to step up and be advocates. The earlier we address Accessibility in the development cycle, the easier it is for us to implement, make it actionable, testable, and provide services that will work effectively for the largest number of users, whether they need assistive technology or not.