Wow! So much going on this year. High fives to Jennison Asuncion and Joe Devon for starting the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) bandwagon five years ago…it has become a global parade, a celebration of the work of the community and a hand up for those just getting started – we love it!
Big favorites around here are the just released Web Accessibility Perspectives, a series of videos from W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative. With humor and brevity, the videos demonstrate the barriers caused by inaccessible web pages both for persons with disabilities and for other users. Videos lead you right to a list of tips and resources for addressing and fixing barriers once you learn to identify them. On GAAD or anytime, check out the WAI Web Perspectives videos and resources to experience accessibility from the perspective of persons with disabilities and learn more about creating accessible websites.
Our own contribution to the festivities comes from our AccessWorks program. AccessWorks is a database of users with disabilities who can test your website for accessibility from remote locations. The platform was developed by Knowbility and Loop11 to help include users with disabilities in remote usability testing. We are pleased to provide this service for free for up to four users – only on GAAD – May 19. Use the Loop11 signup form and select the Knowbility database and up to four users with disabilities will report on the accessibility of your website
Here in our hometown of Austin, Razorfish hosts an Accessibility Meetup every month. Tomorrow is a special one and we will be there to help celebrate two years of the group along with five years of GAAD. Viva!
It wouldn’t be GAAD without the stellar lineup of experts who feed our minds and our souls round the clock supporting accessibility practice one hour at a time. It’s Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24) and is 24 hours of free online accessibility talks, hosted by The Paciello Group in celebration of the day.
And those are just a tiny fraction of the celebrations and gathering and demonstrations all over the world that highlight the glory of web accessibility, helping the web reach its full potential by making sure everyone is included.
What are your favorite events?
Registration is open for this year’s AccessU themed, ‘Accessibility: Put People First’ at http://www.knowbility.org/v/accessu-registration/.
The conference will provide practical resources, encouraging participants to explore various aspects of digital inclusion and master the role-based skills involved in launching successful accessibility initiatives.
AccessU is a conference that brings leading experts from around the globe to Austin, Texas to teach t accessible design skills. AccessU promotes universal access to the web, including for people who are blind, have low vision, are deaf or hearing impaired, have mobility impairments or have other kinds of disabilities. The conference was first launched in 2004, and has since then been an annual event conducted by Knowbility with sponsorship and support from St. Edwards University and Deque Systems, and other leading tech companies.
The conference will feature internationally known leaders in accessible design and development, including:
- Accessibility pioneer and superstar Henny Swan (lead editor of BBC Mobile Accessibility Standards and Guidelines and a regular speaker at conferences like SXSW, the World Wide Web Conference, Tec share, Accessibility 2.0, access, Mobile Monday and CSUN),
- The development team from the Web Accessibility Initiative and Education and Outreach working group of the W3C – Shadi Abou-Zahra, Shawn Henry, Kevin White and Eric Eggert.
- User Experience guru, Whitney Quesenbery (author of Storytelling for User Experience and Global UX: Design and research in a connected world)
- Sarah Horton (User Experience Strategy Lead with The Paciello Group and award winning author of the book Web Teaching Guide) among others.
For the full list of speakers and instructors, visit http://www.knowbility.org/v/accessu-course-list/John-Slatin-AccessU/3k/.
Join us May 11th – 12th at St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas and for a post conference workshop May 13th for three days of learning, sharing, exploring, and fun!
SXSW is the largest tech conference in North America; what an outstanding venue to showcase accessibility for all! Knowbility served on the advisory board reviewing panel proposals and on the Dewey Awards nominating committee; Knowbility also had a strong presence at the world’s largest Accessibility meet-up. What an exciting way to integrate the concerns of users with disabilities in the mainstream of tech buzz!!
SXSW introduced the Social Good Hub – the official platform meant to be the way finder for attendees interested in social innovation, impact design, and cause issues related to technology. The United Nations Foundation sponsored a two day destination for attendees interested in collaborating, networking and entertainment relating to social good. Knowbility recognizes that the inception of the social good hub can have boundless potential to lift the experience of individuals with disabilities by bringing the spirit of collaboration of the brightest tech minds to solving problems of inclusion.
SXSW also featured notable innovations from IBM. IBM continues to innovate tech solutions for people with disabilities and many of them were showcased at the Startup Village at the Hilton. Way finding applications, as well as internal IBM tools for measuring and demonstrating accessibility….Exciting innovations from a tech giant!!
CSUN 2015 featured Knowbility Executive director, Sharron Rush, as a key contributor to the “Making WCAG 2 Support resources More Usable for You.” discussion. This was a highly interactive panel to showcase work being done by the Education and Outreach Working Group, Sharron serves as co-chair of the working group. This discussion was to showcase work that is being done to make Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) resources more discoverable, digestible, and useful. The discussion gathered feedback to be incorporated in later iterations of WAI resources. This highly interactive session was hugely successful.
For more information you can check out the following tools….
CSUN featured an increasing number of web accessibility sessions than in years past. This is a reflection of the increasing interested in responsive design and accessibility for all. If you missed CSUN 2015 many of the same topics will be covered at AccessU this May in Austin, TX. It’s not too late to register.
Knowbility hosted a small happy hour ceremony to hand out Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards. Board member Rich Schwerdtfeger gave awards to Steve Faulkner, the BBC Accessibility team, Julie Romanoski of State Farm and many more. Full list of honorees.
Knowbility is pleased to welcome Shawn Lawton Henry to AccessU at CSUN on Monday, February 27. Shawn is the author of the free online book Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design.
During the plenary session, Shawn will offer attendees a tour of the extensive resources available from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Since these resources are essential to understanding why Web accessibility is important, as well as how to implement it, Shawn’s presentation promises to establish an excellent foundation for the rest of the conference. You’ll learn what’s available from the WAI site and how to find the information you need.
Building the Business Case for Accessibility
Later on Monday, at 3:30 PM, Shawn will speak to administrators, evangelists, project managers, Web developers, people with disabilities, and anyone interested in developing a business case for Web accessibility. She’ll focus her discussion on the WAI’s Business Case Suite. This set of documents, developed by the WAI’s Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG), presents different social, technical, financial, and legal and policy factors that play a part in making the business case for specific organizations and situations.
You’ll be engaged in hands-on exercises and discussion so you’ll leave this presentation fully prepared to develop the first draft of your organization’s business case. Be sure to bring your laptop and your questions.
To learn about what resources are available from WAI and how to build your business case, sign up for this workshop, along with others that will be held as part of Knowbility’s AccessU at CSUN 2012. After the conference, Knowbility will be glad to work with you to help flesh out your business case draft and assist you with implementing accessibility in your organization.
Web accessibility means designing pages and applications so that they can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities, some of whom use assistive technologies to browse the web. Accessibility is required by federal law in many instances and courts are broadening their interpretation of how the legal requirements are implemented. Many know that web accessibility is an increasingly important issue, but are not sure what to do.
BAD is good for the accidental accessibility expert
It is not uncommon for individuals who recognize and speak up about the need for accessibility within an organization to find that they have become experts by default. For those in this situation and who are invited to speak to groups about web accessibility, an updated tool from the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) can help.
The Before and After Demo (BAD) is an updated set of related web pages that provide fully integrated examples of accessibility at work. Sharp, new, and fun to use, BAD is designed to serve a variety of purposes. In addition to raising general awareness of web accessibility issues, BAD is a highly effective way to show how Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2) can be applied without sacrificing visual appeal or interactivity.
BAD shows common accessibility barriers using practical examples. The demonstration consists of an inaccessible Web site, an accessible version of the same site, as well as a report about the demonstrated barriers. The demonstration does not attempt to cover every checkpoint of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) nor to provide an exhaustive list of examples but to demonstrate some key aspects of Web accessibility appropriate for short, focused presentations.
Providing practical examples during a talk is usually very effective. The BAD overview outlines the features of the Demo and gives tips on best use. Together with the inaccessible and accessible Demo pages, concrete before and after coding samples, and notes explaining related WCAG rules, there is much rich content to share during presentations.
Let the community know how you use it
I will be using BAD in my upcoming accessibility training sessions at AccessU at CSUN. Presenters are encouraged to use the demo live or to download the pages with the understanding that some pages will not have full interactivity without connection to a server. WAI is interested to hear if BAD is good for you. Please use the demo and then let WAI know about your experience. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org (a publicly archived list) or email@example.com (a WAI staff-only list).