Category: conference

CSUN15 Review & Interviews in Podcast 101

Another CSUN conference has come and gone. This year was the 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (Twitter hash tag #CSUN15) held in downtown San Diego, California from March 2 to March 7, 2015 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Below is a podcast with three interviews; some resources on recommended sessions; info on fun special events and activities; two award events; a short Best Of list; about a conference theme; and next year’s dates plus links to conference tips.

Podcast Interviews

I had the opportunity to speak to a few folks while attending; check it out!

Download Web Axe Episode 101 (CSUN15 Interviews)

[transcript of podcast 101]

  • Sandy Plotin: Managing Director of the Center on Disabilities; California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
  • David MacDonald (@DavidMacD) of CanAdapt Solutions
  • Steve A Lee (@SteveALee) of Open Directive

Recommended Sessions

Fun Stuff

I want to give a shout-out to three Tweeps I’ve known online for a while now and finally met in-person: Mike Gifford (@mgifford), Adrian Roselli (@aardrian) and Jason Kiss (@jkiss).

The 30th Anniversary Party featured keynote speaker Mick Ebeling (@mickteg) of Not Impossible Now (@notImposs). It was very interesting and moving—a great keynote.

“Surround yourself with people who make you feel stupid.”
-Mick Ebeling

Geri Jewell, one of the past Keynote Speakers, served as the program’s emcee and introduced performances by comedian Chris Fonseca (who was hilarious!) and musician and humorist, Mark Goffeney.

Once again, happy CSUN birthdays to @Jennison and @MarcySutton. The birthday celebrations sure brought a lot of income to The Cheesecake Factory across from the hotel!

There were a couple sky-diving outings planned and executed, wow!

There was a tandem bike event organized by @MarcySutton, @Nethermind and sponsored by @SimplyAccesses.

Highly successful Sign Language Karaoke event organized by Wendy Chisholm (@WendyABC) in conjunction with @DequeSystems. [Note that eBay and other folks donated to this event but don’t believe it wasn’t announced.]

CSUN15 Photo query on Twitter (no alt text of course, you need to use @EasyChirp for that!)

Added March 22: CSUN15 Flickr Album by @DennisL

Awards

The good folks at @Knowbility held an event to announce and present awards to the Community Heroes of Accessibility. Also, here’s a cool tote bag I picked up at the Knowbility exhibit booth.

Project Possibility (@ProjPossibility) held the SS12 Finals on Saturday morning. Congrats to the winner USC‘s “Stealth Fly” team who edged out CSU Northridge. The team presented a competitive vertical-scroller game to three judges.

Best Of

  • Most popular session: Jamie Knight (@JamieKnight) “Cognitive Accessibility 101″. So much in demand that it was actually repeated the next day!
  • Best Dressed: Sam Ogami of HP. He is one nice, classy fellow!
  • Best slide: Dude, where’s my ARIA?
  • Best nearby restaurant: Puesto (wicked tacos and drinks)

Theme

A theme which became obvious throughout the conference is this: embed accessibility into the development process—everyone is responsible. This topic was mentioned in numerous sessions, and with good reason. Teams must work together; from execs to content owners, to designers, to developers, to quality engineers.

Next Year

The conference next year is planned for March 21-26 2016 (a bit later than usual). There will be a new exhibitor call for papers (in addition to science research and general session), and less paper/Braille programs (more digital). If you plan on attending, you’ll find some great advice in these two articles:

Other CSUN15 Reviews

Open Web Camp 6 – a brief review

Recently I attended Open Web Camp 6 (@OpenWebCamp) at the beautiful PayPal headquarters in sunny San Jose, California. Like every year, the event is coordinated by @JohnFoliot. If you want to review the Twitter feed, the hash tag is #OWC6.

Like last year, the cost of the event was only $10, and attendees get a nice lunch, a t-shirt, and some other swag. The networking was good and the energy was great!

Featherstone standing in front of a projected slide
Derek Featherstone presenting at OWC6

There was a variety of topics but accessibility was the most prominent. Here are the highlights:

  • Derek Featherstone (@feather) presented Accessible Design: Which “everyone” do you mean? where he discussed accessibility challenges for users of assistive technology such as voice recognition and screen magnifiers.
  • Dylan Wilbanks (@dylanw) presented a thought-provoking session Meditations on making fire-proof, failure-proof, future-proof things.
  • Dirk @Ginader presented Teach your Browser new tricks where he discusses longdesc and browser extensions.
  • @KarlGroves spoke about accessibility testing and his app Tenon.
  • The Twitter talk “Connecting to the pulse of the planet” was disappointing. It was much more of a 25-minute sales pitch than a tech talk.

All in all, it was another successful web event. Hoping for an OWC7!

Factoid: I’ve attended every OWC event since its inception at the first Open Web Camp at Stanford, and spoke about the then newly created @EasyChirp (then called Accessible Twitter).

CSUN14 Review

Another CSUN conference has come and gone, and they only get better each year. Of course I’m referring to the CSUN (California State University, Northridge) Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference which happens at the incredible Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown San Diego, California.

The conference was officially kicked off Tuesday evening with a keynote speech by Tommy Edison (starts at 9:45) who is also well known as the @BlindFilmCritic.

Tommy Edison
Tommy Edison, standing at the podium, presents the keynote address at CSUN14.

Events & Happenings

Besides the plethora of sessions to attend, many events (official and unofficial) and fun things were going on:

Highlighted Sessions

There are too many great sessions to note, but here’s are several to get you started:

Summary Next Year’s 30th

Next year is the 30th CSUN and promises to be even bigger and better than ever. Seriously, there are tremendous plans for CSUN15 are already under way. Hope to see you there!

More Resources

Podcast #99: Jennison Powers Up Silicon Valley

Dennis speaks with @Jennison Asuncion about his big move to Silicon Valley from Toronto, new Meetup groups and camps, CSUN14 and other fun things.

Download Web Axe Episode 99 (Jennison Powers Up Silicon Valley)

[transcript of podcast 99]

Event announcements:

More new groups:

Tidbits:

Podcast #98: AHG13

The 16th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference (hash tag #AHG13) was held recently in Westminster, Colorado at a very nice venue, the Westin Westminster. Representing my day-job employer, I was able to attend and present one session, Usability and Accessibility CSS Gotchas. I was happy to learn that it was being recorded and live broadcast over one the conference’s two virtual tracks. While there, I had the opportunity to interview a few great folks in the business; namely, Greg Kraus, Jayme Johnson, and Kathy Wahlbin. Have a listen!

Download Web Axe Episode 98 (AHG13)

[transcript of podcast 98]

Greg Kraus Greg Kraus (@gdkraus), the University IT Accessibility Coordinator at North Carolina State University. He presented The Gamification of Accessibility, which included details about a great online tool he implemented at NCSU.

Jayme Johnson Jayme Johnson (@hippyjo), Instructor at HTCTU The High Tech Center Training Unit, provides training and support to the faculty and staff of all California Community Colleges. Jayme was on the panel at the plenary lunch during the second day of the conference.

Kathy Wahlbin Kathy Wahlbin (@wahlbin), CEO/Founder of Interactive Accessibility and invited expert in the W3C. She presented Accessible Responsive Web Design.

I met Greg and Kathy in person for the first time which was great. I also met keynote speaker David Sloan (@sloandr) in person for the first time as well. Wonderful people.