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Becoming a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies

Antonella Iselli's Portrait

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals offers certifications to individuals who wish to grow their skills in diversity and inclusion. Earning certification demonstrates a candidate’s knowledge and comprehension in a practice that still experiences scrutiny. Senior UX Designer Antonella Iselli earned her certification in July 2023, and she shares why she sat for the exam and the impact it will have on her role.

Can you tell us a little about your background – how long have you been working in UX Design?

When I was a web designer, I attended various UX conferences and workshops to gain a fundamental understanding of user experience design. I enjoy helping users and finding creative solutions to tackle business challenges, so moving into the UX Design field was an easy choice.

How did you start learning about accessibility?

During the pandemic, I felt stuck in my career. I decided to work towards a Diploma in People-Centered Design (Diplomatura en diseño centrado en las personas), which I earned from Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM) in 2020.

My teacher was Susana Pallero, an accessibility solutions specialist. She is the co-founder of Dalat and is part of the group that is co-creating the next version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 3.0). Susi emphasized the importance of putting people first in our designs, and that really resonated with me. I was inspired to continue my education in the subject and find ways to share my knowledge with my peers.

Why is accessibility important?

An estimated 1.3 billion people experience a significant disability. Imagine how many people are being excluded from using our products/services. With the internet serving as a necessity for everyday life, designing with accessibility means we’re including everyone in our products. Designing products and services with accessibility in mind makes daily tasks easier for everyone, and it’s good business practice.

Let’s talk about the IAAP – who are they?

The International Association of Accessibility Professionals is a global association of organizations and professionals that have joined together to define, promote, and improve the accessibility of services, products, and environments for people with disabilities. Earning certification from them is very valuable. We have a great team of professionals at ITX, and there is always room to suggest new ideas.

Receiving recognition from an international organization validates my ability to provide insight on accessibility guidelines for our clients and our team.

Antonella Iselli
Senior UX Designer

What prompted this push to get your certification?

While studying at UNSAM, Susi shared how a temporary disability changed her life and made us realize everyone can be temporarily disabled. This experience motivated me to be more mindful of the various types of disabilities and ensure that my services are accessible to everyone.

As I began working at ITX, internal conversations around diversity and inclusion were happening, and I knew that Susi could help us get started on the right foot. I connected Susi to our team, and her experience brought a vast amount of knowledge. We were able to create even more materials to help team members with internal training and share our experiences with our community.

Can you tell us about your certification and how it changes the way you approach design?

I opted for the CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies) as it’s the ideal starting point for mastering accessibility core competencies. This certification covers various domains, including the web and other digital technologies, architecture, the built environment, consumer and industrial design, and transportation systems. It emphasizes the significance of thoughtful design, policy, and management in enhancing disability access.

I am confident that this certification validates my expertise in accessibility and enhances my credibility in the field. Not only am I a source of information for clients and partners, but my peers can also reach out to me for guidance or assistance. I am eager to help anyone interested in learning more about accessibility.

How can someone get started with learning about accessibility?

A great place to start is the WCAG (Web Accessibility Guidelines) website. They provide more resources for learning about accessibility, as well as tips for getting started. Below are a few more sources of information.

If we don’t include accessibility on purpose, we unintentionally exclude people. Learning about accessibility is a continuous journey, not just a destination. It should be integrated throughout the entire process of discovery, design, and development. It’s perfectly fine to start with small steps as long as we encourage others and keep moving forward.

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