Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Accessibility

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Saturday 12th March 2011

  • Inclusive Mobility - Making Mobile Apps Accessible

    by Becky Gibson

    That smartphone in our pocket has the power open up new worlds for people of all abilities in all environments. Whether you are visually impaired or just can't see or access the screen at the moment, turn on voice commands and your access is complete! Location services and navigation guide you in daily living or on great new adventures. Come find out what the state of accessibility is for the latest mobile devices. Learn how you can create mobile apps and mobile websites that are compelling AND usable by all audiences!

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 8A, Austin Convention Center

  • Communicating with Everyone: Improving Accessibility of Information Products

    by Brenda Huettner

    This presentation will describe ways to ensure that different types of messages can be received by people with varying abilities. It will review both U.S. and international government regulations, and will point to freely available resources on the web and in print as appropriate.

    The United States Census Bureau estimates that 19% percent of the population has a disability of one kind or another. For people over age 65, this number leaps to 42%. Legislation (such as Section 508 and the Americans with Disability Act in the U.S., the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the Disability Discrimination Act in the United Kingdom) has helped to bring these numbers to the attention of both government agencies and commercial providers. It has become increasingly clear that information products need to be accessible to everyone, and that investing in accessibility is not just a government requirement, but that it also makes good financial sense.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 8A, Austin Convention Center

  • Inclusive Design: Creating Beautiful, Usable & Accessible Websites

    by Sandi Wassmer and Ian Pouncey

    The concept of the Web for All is something that we hold dear, but sometimes it feels like we are holding on to it for dear life! There is plenty of knowledge sharing about Web Standards and best practices, but too many opinions about
    what a website really is. If you ask a designer, a developer and a marketer, you will probably get 3 different answers and this can be a tad problematic when you only have one website.

    So I set out to find a solution, stopped thinking about the medium and started thinking about what the word Design really meant. Things that are designed are invariably products of some sort and it became clear that the internet is a product that people interact with using technology. I reflected on those who inspire me, such as Dieter Rams, whose ten principles of good design are as relevant now on the internet as they were when he first uttered them. And then I looked to Frank Lloyd Wright, the godfather of Inclusive Design in Architecture.
    With these parallels to hand, it is quite simple.

    Applying the principles of Inclusive Design to building websites makes sense, but understanding existing technologies and practices in order to ensure its successful implementation is where we are at now. Presenting the principles and how they can be applied to the web, and interspersing these with hands on, practical advice will provide both a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding.

    Questions Answered
    1. What is Inclusive Design?
    2. How does the Inclusive Design approach differ from or improve upon existing best practices, such as accessibility, usability, UX and mobile optimisation?
    3. What practical techniques can I use to adopt Inclusive Design principles and
    methodologies into my working practices?
    4. What tools and prior knowledge do I need to implement Inclusive Design?
    5. How does Inclusive Design on the Web draw from and correlate to existing
    principles in industrial design and architecture?

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Changing the Web Accessibility Game Plan

    by Jared Smith

    Web accessibility for people with disabilities has certainly advanced in recent years, yet many believe that the gap between innovation and accessibility is widening. Is it time to rethink our approach to web accessibility? Is the traditional approach of following accessibility principles and guidelines optimal with web content and applications that are increasingly dynamic and rich? How can web accessibility be more mainstream and less stuffy and boring?

    This panel will investigate the current effectiveness of web accessibility, discuss whether a new game plan is necessary, and present how web accessibility advocates can greatly improve their efforts and enjoyment in making the web a better, more accessible place for everyone.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 8A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage transcript

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Secret Revealed: How to be Successful, with Accessibility

    by Shawn Lawton Henry and Desiree Sturdevant

    Forget about checklists.* Put away the standards and guidelines.* Focusing on accessibility regulations won't win you many friends or fame. In this session you'll learn what can bring you friends and fame, along with success and satisfaction.

    Get the secret to making your website and other products work well for older users, people with disabilities, mobile users, and more. (grab those aging baby boomers by their iPhones)

    If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should come to this session:

    • Do you believe in accessibility but are having trouble getting your boss/clients to support it?
    • Do you think accessibility is a waste of your time and effort? Or, at least not something that you want to work on?
    • Do you want to WOW your current or potential future boss/clients and stand out from the crowd?

    This session challenges the way most people think about accessibility. We'll turn the tables on the technical aspects and take a good look at the human aspects -- and how to use this to advance your business. We'll provide specific guidance on using new resources to improve your organization's accessibility approach and future outlook.

    You'll get a clear plan and specific tips on how to conduct a buy-in session that will make your life better. (really, it will make your life better) Come away with a fresh approach to design and development of products that work for people, and make you shine.

    • (for a while. we'll show you when to come back to them later)

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

  • The Untapped iPad Market: Is Your Site POUR?

    by Glenda Watson Hyatt and Karen Tsang

    For the masses, the iPad is the latest, hottest, must-have toy. But, for people with disabilities the iPad is life changing: enabling communication, unlocking minds and fostering independence. However in purchasing these devices lays the challenge: oftentimes websites with product information are inaccessible to this market, which has a discretionary spending power of $175 billion in the United States alone.

    The session’s goals are to identify some barriers people with disabilities regularly face, making it difficult to participate fully online; explain the four guiding principles of what makes blogs and websites accessible; and offer key questions to begin asking and what resources exist to make sites more accessible to this under tapped market.

    By giving short vignettes of how people with disabilities are using iPads, faces are put to the size of this disability market - and putting faces to the need for web accessibility. This brings alive the technical requirements and guiding principles of web accessibility.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Fun With The Lights Off: Interactivity Without Graphics

    by Adam Hoyle, Nick Ryan, Tassos Stevens, Paul Bennun and Margaret Robertson

    The pictures are better on radio, they say, and the same is also true in interactive experiences: games, for example, are possible using sound that are more realistic and immersive than the most complex 3D polygon-fests. But we're not talking soundtrack: we're talking fundamental questions of user interface, augmented reality and game design in audio. We're focusing on the development of Papa Sangre, a game in sound without graphics, and the world's first real-time generative audio-only virtual world. On an iPhone.

    Papa Sangre was commissioned by 4IP as a game in which blind people might be able to kick the ass of sighted people. Its development has been an adventure, pushing the capacity of the iPhone to the limit. It’s been an extraordinary challenge to imagine the design of a game and world where your existence is entirely through sound and where technological constraints become a mother of invention. You walk with your thumbs through a binaural sound environment, where you hear both the monster snoring to your left and the crunch of chicken bones and squeaky toys underfoot that may wake it up and bring death upon you. It’s a fundamentally different experience of gameplay, continually present-tense, totally immersive and therefore visceral – it feels like it’s you out there. The panel will discuss the process, the constraints, the vision and the philosophy behind a radical new genre of game and what this generally reveals for good game and experience design.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage sketch note

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Accessibility for the Visually Impaired: Groundbreaking New Technologies

    by Genevieve Wilkins

    Don’t you think the internet should be accessible to all, including people that are visually impaired? The visually impaired are people that need aide to see, either with glasses or contact lenses or they can’t see anything at all. Society is living longer, thus making older web users more impactful in market segments. The visually impaired demographic is exploding and will require technology to bridge a visual communicative gap.

    Imagine how marketing, advertising and the general quality of life for the visually impaired would drastically improve if accessing the internet was easy and addressed their needs. This panel focuses on groundbreaking new technology that will allow the visually impaired to have full access to the web with voice browsers, speech interaction and desktop projection.

    There will be a demonstration of voice browsers in development and how they work. A discussion on the W3C initiative called the WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) that is rolling out in full force with technology and information for designers to understand how to make their designs inclusive for the visually impaired at minimal effort.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Accessibility: The Musical!

    by Sharron Rush

    People like Stephen Hawkings, Stevie Wonder and Marlee Matlin demonstrate that a full experience of the world does not depend on any one sensory capacity. Our web experiences should not be so dependent either. However, many of today’s brightest minds still consider “accessibility” an issue specific only to people with disabilities. Now is the time to get out of this mode of thinking.
    In this session, we will discuss why universal design is changing the way people view accessibility. We invite you to hear from our panel of people with disabilities about how they experience music, dance and media through rich internet experiences and events made accessible through the use of assistive technologies. How does someone who is deaf experience a jazz concert? How can someone who is blind experience a movie, play or YouTube video? Join us for this session, and you will be able to experience these first hand!
    In addition, you will learn new techniques that will allow you and your organization to reach a broader audience by making your own experiences universally enjoyable regardless of devices, sensory capacity, age-related impairments or situational limitations.
    Accessibility is not a solo-act! This session calls for rethinking the very concept of accessibility. Universal design is a song we can all sing together- will you join us?

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage write-up


  • Innovations in Accessibility: Designing for Digital Outcasts [Cancelled?]

    by Kel Smith

    Introduced by researchers from the University of Sussex, the term "digital outcasts" is applied to users with disabilities or illness who are left behind as technology advances. The Web now offers new forms of engagement that bring greater fidelity and complexity to the online space; the very concept of "web accessibility" itself has evolved into something deeply immersive and complex. We as designers now face dynamic challenges and opportunities when providing barrier-free digital experiences. How can virtual worlds, geolocation apps, augmented reality and the 3D Web possibly be adapted to users with special needs, and how do we design for them? This presentation will explore the cultivation of digital innovation on behalf of people with physiological and cognitive disabilities, focusing primarily on the health and life sciences industry. Practical examples will include iPad, Nintendo Wii, haptic interfaces, virtual prosthetics, adaptive therapies, text-to-speech functionality, iPhone games and Second Life.

    LEVEL: Advanced