Desire2Learn sent me to the Aiming for Accessibility Conference at the University of Guelph for one of the two days, and it was a really solid. There’s quite a bit of expertise around accessible web technology here at the office, so it’s nice to see the cause celebrated and discussed. The conference wasn’t huge: intimate and loaded with experts in the field, so the learning opportunity has been sweet.
I put together a quick presentation [PDF] of the stuff that stood out for me, and presented it at a “lunch and learn.”
My co-presenters and I expected 5 or 6 people … instead we got a full room of about 20. Super happy! It was good practice for a talk I’ll be doing at Fusion 2010 about accessibility and internationalization (3:45pm on the Tuesday). Doubt I’ll be able to share any information from that one, but just wanted to advertise
All content in there copyright of the respective presenters. Highlights include:
- Adaptech’s study of social media usage amongst disabled students in Ontario produced a great list of which social media services are and are not accessible. Facebook good, Digg bad, surprisingly.
- It’s important to understand that students with disabilities generally don’t want to identify as “disabled” online. Often clicking on “Accessible Version of this!” leads to a simplified, crippled (forgive the allusion) web experience, rather than the rich experience they would expect from a website (and other students get).
- Content creation is further behind the times in terms of accessibility than the web frameworks / CMS’s are. Partly this is because content creators come from a visual design background, and may not appreciate the content over the presentation. The key here is bridging the content to data gap using XML, and tools that support it such as Adobe InDesign.