Web Accessibility for the 21st Century

Denise Paolucci (Dreamwidth Studios), Deborah Kaplan (Dreamwidth Studios)
User Experience (UX)
Location: D137/138 Level: Novice
Average rating: ***..
(3.64, 14 ratings)

You know it’s important for your web project to be accessible to people who use all kinds of assistive technology to access the internet. But all the guidelines for web accessibility you can find don’t go much beyond “make sure all your images have alt text”, and all the resources you can find treat “accessibility” as a synonym for “making your site work in a screen reader”. You know there are other things you should be doing and other forms of assistive technology you should be accomodating, but all the best practices documents are a complicated morass of contradicting information (if you can find best practices documents at all) and the standards are incredibly high-level.

Have no fear! This tutorial will guide you through the basics of improving websites and web applications until they work with all kinds of assistive technologies — and there are more assistive technologies out there than you might think. Together, we’ll cover:

  • the wide range of assistive technology people use (including things most people wouldn’t think of as assistive technology);
  • demonstrations of what the experience of using assistive technology is actually like (no more guessing about how screenreaders treat elements of a page or how voice recognition software allows for keyboardless navigation);
  • examples of sites that do it badly, and what “doing it badly” does to the experience of using assistive technology on them;
  • common myths about accessibility (and the truths behind the myths);
  • simple, concrete examples of changes you can make to your site — right now!

Code samples will be provided, along with basic exercises to reinforce the lessons, so please bring a laptop if you can. You won’t leave as an accessibility guru, but you’ll definitely leave with a well-stocked toolkit.

Denise Paolucci

Dreamwidth Studios

Denise Paolucci is the co-founder of Dreamwidth Studios (www.dreamwidth.org), an open-source blogging and community platform. She also serves on the board of directors of the Ada Initiative, a nonprofit working to improve the representation of women in “open stuff”. She’s been working in open source for fifteen years, and will talk your ear off about accessibility, disability, diversity, creativity, community, privacy, and knitting, although probably not all at the same time.

Photo of Deborah Kaplan

Deborah Kaplan

Dreamwidth Studios

An over-achiever, who is the Digital Resources Archivist at Tufts University by day, Perl coder and accessibility specialist for Dreamwidth by night, and book reviewer, sysadmin, & professor in her copious free time.

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Denise Paolucci
07/09/2013 2:21pm PDT

We sent out an email to attendees asking you to take a brief survey to help us gauge the tutorial to your level of interest and experience. If you haven’t already answered the questions, please do so whenever you get a chance—this will help us tailor the material we cover.

To address something that came up in survey responses: this tutorial is appropriate for people of all levels of programming, HTML-writing, and accessibility-knowledge experience, including “none at all”. We will be including lots of hands-on time with a sample website we’ll provide, but we’ll be doing the analysis on all levels, suitable for people with any amount of experience.

We’ll provide you a link to download the necessary files in advance, or you can grab them once you arrive at the tutorial. Please bring your laptop with you if you have one.

We’re looking forward to teaching you, and thank you for being interested in attending!


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