Accessibility Summit 2013 Thoughts

Accessibility Summit logoOver the past two days, I had the great opportunity to virtually attend Accessibility Summit 2013, put on by Environments for Humans.

It was pretty cool to finally get to see and hear some accessibility notables that I’ve followed for the past several years, such as Glenda Sims, John Foliot, Sharron Rush, and Dennis Lembrée.

Moreover, the conference had a nice mix of overview and philosophy as well as coding and implementation tips. A number of conferences I’ve been to over the recent years bordered on being “<insert topic here> 101.”

I’ve gotten a lot to chew on over these past couple days, and I figure that’ll translate into (a few) blog posts.

Tonight, I thought I’d just pull out random snippets or highlights that have stuck with me…

From: Glenda Sims‘ Accessibility Prioritization: What Should I Fix First?

  • If you don’t have unlimited resources to knock out an experience’s accessibility problems, two good places to start are user impact and litigation
    — If a person didn’t have access to this feature or page, what’s the impact on them? Can he or she do their job successfully, get an ‘A’ successfully, etcetera
    — How much of a target for getting sued will be you for such a roadblock?
  • When evaluating the accessibility of something you’ve created, rather than thinking about how it affects “those people”, hold yourself to these two litmus tests:
    1) Imagine you’re in front of a judge and have to explain why X feature can’t be done by someone with a disability
    2) Imagine if you did not have access and how that would make you feel
  • Accessibility is like a race (think “The Accessibility 500”), but one where there can be multiple winners

From: Whitney Quesenbery‘s Accessibility is a Design Problem

  • The International Classification of Functioning’s definition of disability is:

    the outcome of the interaction between a  person with an impairment and the environment and attitudinal barriers she/he may face

    …which is a nice way to put it because the focus is on the interactions and barriers, which we as accessibility advocates can change

  • Include people with disabilities not just in your testing, but in your design process
  • Topical to something I blogged about recently, I loved a slide she had with personas representing a wide spectrum of disabilities:


Going to stop after just the first two speakers, so I don’t create a novel…as I said, I’ll be sharing more in posts to come.

In short, really enjoyed the conference — it’s stoked my accessibility fire and given me a lot to think about.

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