ADS Prep Postponed

Making a note to myself and others following along…

I’ve postponed my ADS exam preparation for the rest of this year. Too many other priorities (my work contracts and son’s homeschooling) to stay ahead on.

I plan on picking this up again in January, in hopes of taking the exam in the next window. Likely mid-February.

On that note, I have received a depth of experience just in the past two months of PDF remediation for a client! I’m certain I won’t need to spend as much time preparing for that segment of the exam.

If you’re on your own ADS journey, give me a shout in the comments, Twitter, or in the A11y Slack to tell me how your progress is going.

ADS Exam Preparation Begins

Ok, here we go…

This week is my first full week of preparation for the Accessible Document Specialist (ADS) certification exam.

Points of Strengths & Weaknesses

As mentioned at the end of Time for a Third Certification, I stated I needed to identify strengths and weaknesses within topics listed in the ADS Body of Knowledge.

Areas I am currently comfortable with:

  • Design, create, and assemble the final form documents that meet the needs of people with different types of disabilities
  • Implement alternative text or text equivalents in a remediation context
  • Review and correct structure
  • Remediate in final format
  • Remediate in authoring format
  • Use OCR (Optical Character Recognition/Text Character Recognition)
  • Identify and run automated testing processes to evaluate the conformance to standard
  • Identify and run manual testing processes to evaluate the conformance to standard
  • Identify the limitations of automated testing
  • Create related reference guides and other instructional materials as needed
  • Assist in the development of online and/or face-to-face trainings on digital accessibility topics for staff who create content
  • Identify and provide training opportunities and resources
  • Provide support related to accessibility

Areas I would like to work on:

  • Write accessible inclusive content
  • Perform tests with assistive technologies
  • Develop a workflow to streamline related processes, including web requests, document submissions, remediation, and approvals
  • Document production plan for moving forward
  • Identify automated processes that result in inaccessible documents
  • Advise staff on organizational policy and best practices for creating accessible electronic documents
  • Consult others about current relevant policies, regulations, standards, and practical aspects of accessibility as related to documents, audio and video files, and other web-based postings

My Roadmap

My goal is to prepare within a 6-week period. Here is my study outline, based on the ADS Body of Knowledge’s outline:

  1. Week 1: Creating Electronic Documents
  2. Week 2: Remediation Electronic Documents
  3. Week 3: Auditing and Testing Document Accessibility
  4. Week 4: Document Accessibility Planning and Training, part 1
  5. Week 5: Document Accessibility Planning and Training, part 2
  6. Week 6: Policy Promotion, Advocacy, and Advising
  7. Week 7: Review + Exam

I still haven’t decided if I will share my learning on a daily or weekly basis. Given the small window of time, I will likely publish my notes and thoughts on a weekly basis. Postings also depend on what I learn and how quickly I get through guided learning.

Preparation Resources

To make the most out of my study time, I’ll be relying on the following resources:

  • ADS Body of Knowledge with its included resources (thanks IAAP!)
  • Deque’s Document Accessibility coursework (thanks Deque!)
  • LinkedIn Learning coursework, particularly Chad Chelius’s stuff (thanks Juneau Public Library!)
  • Chax Chat podcast for ins-and-outs and just plain fun (thanks Dax & Chad!)
  • Tagged PDF (thanks Kenny!)

If you have any learning or reference resources you use or recommend, please leave a comment here for the rest of us to check them out!

Time for a Third Certification

The last quarter of 2021 is upon us. I need to make plans for where I want to be in 2022. That includes a third certification from IAAP.

At the beginning of 2021, I took the leap to run my own accessibility consultation service. I offered web accessibility consultation, auditing, and remediation. Additionally, I consulted on document accessibility, as well as remediated documents.

Despite many people I know who dislike touching PDFs, if they don’t have to, I get satisfaction from making a PDF more accessible. Maybe it’s the technical and methodical work I like. Or maybe it’s that I’m tired of disabled friends (and myself) encountering too many inaccessible documents. I refuse to lose a battle with a PDF.

Throughout this year, I kept up my document accessibility knowledge and experience I’d obtained through my previous job. I learned more as I ran into harder questions. Document remediation can be hard!

I’m ready to get even better at it. I want to answer more of those hard questions I receive. I want to get faster. And I want to create solutions not only for my clients, but for other people working in this field.

Starting today, I’m taking my first step in a journey toward leveling up my digital accessibility skills. Once again, I’ll be studying for an IAAP exam: Accessible Document Specialist (ADS). And I will take that exam before the year is over.

I’m getting a head start by following IAAP’s helpful preparation list:

  1. Read and review the Content Outline (check!)
  2. Review the Body of Knowledge and learning objectives as they relate to the Content Outline (check!)
  3. Identify topics and areas where you have strong knowledge and confidence. (to-do)
  4. Identify topics and areas where you will spend time reading, researching, and studying. (to-do)
  5. Plan to spend 5-10 hours a week for 6-8 weeks to prepare for your exam. (check!)
  6. Map out the topics and how you will study. (to-do)
  7. Choose your preparation resources. (to-do)
  8. Launch your study plan. (to-do)
  9. Apply for, register, and pay for your certification exam in the Exam Window where you plan to sit for the exam. (to-do)
  10. Take your IAAP Certification Exam. (to-do)

I don’t know who put that checklist together, but it is greatly appreciated, and I am here for it. Also, a huge thanks to all the folks who contributed to the creation of this certification. It’s a big deal.

Whether you’re just starting your document accessibility journey or working toward ADS certification, you can follow along with my daily study notes, based on IAAP’s ADS Body of Knowledge [PDF].

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have areas of strengths and weaknesses to identify.

Wish me luck!