Category: csun

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:

Overwhelmed? Stick To Basics

A few people at the CSUN conference last week commented on the overbearing WCAG 2.0 specs. Many folks agree that WCAG is extremely large and difficult to read (not unlike the HTML5 spec). And especially for accessibility newbies, WCAG can be a difficult place to start.

In a session at CSUN, even the W3C WAI members said that beginners should not read the spec but start with other docs such as How To Meet WCAG2 which pulls the Understanding and Techniques together. The WAI is also working on a “Easy Checks” documents. Here’s a sneak peak to the draft titled Easy Checks – A First Review of Web Accessibility [link updated].

If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about web accessibility, my advice is this: stick to the basics.

For design, this means not re-inventing HTML elements and behaviors. Particularly form elements, such as re-rendering a select dropdown for the sake of aesthetics. There’s also the horrible trend to make labels appear and function like placeholders.

For development, this means the proper foundational techniques. Namely, the four layers of web development:

  • Semantic HTML for content.
  • CSS for presentation.
  • JS to enhance behavior.
  • ARIA to fill any accessibility gaps.

This fun diagram on Flickr helps illustrate this point.

Using the four layers approach encourages the following good practices:

  • Separating content from presentation from behavior.
  • Maintaining code in external files.
  • Adding ARIA only when needed.

If these practices are implemented in a website, it’s well on its way to being accessible.

CSUN13 Summary

Last week, my author Dennis Lembree attended the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (better known as CSUN) at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California.

Dennis presented one session “Developing an Accessible Widget with ARIA” representing his day job company. You may download Dennis’ PowerPoint file here.

Dennis, Joe, Henny

WebAIM announced that there is now an API for WAVE, their web accessibility evaluation tool. It has a very affordable pricing model, and the first 100 “credits” are free with registration.

Besides the sessions, there are many activities happening at CSUN including the Tweetup, SS12 Finals, and the first WordPress accessibility meetup! A highlight was Deque Systems’ “Amazing Evening” event featuring a guitar player who played with his feet, and who was also a hilarious comedian!

Props to the Toronto accessibility crew who had great representation again. Met more Canadians this year (thanks to @Jennison) including Bill Gregory, George Zamfir and Jorge Mori.

Recommended session presentations:

Other great resources:

Mark your calendar for CSUN14 which is scheduled for 17-22 March 2014. In the meantime, you can plan for the upcoming, second annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD) on May 9th!

Recap of Accessibility Camp LA

A few weeks ago, on October 20, Web Axe author Dennis Lembree attended the very first Accessibility Camp Los Angeles at CSU Northridge. The event is led by @jennison and @joedevon. After opening comments and introductions, Dennis presented Introduction to Web Accessibility (sorry, the Google docs nor the Slideshare version is very accessible). Dennis represented PayPal, his day job in San Jose, who sponsored lunch.

Many other well known accessibility professionals attended and shared their expertise. This is totally awesome since most came from out of state at their own expense. This includes:

  • Elle Waters who spoke on accessibility as innovation.
  • Karl Groves who spoke on testing tools.
  • John Foliot who spoke on HTML5.
  • Pratik Patel who spoke on document accessibility.
  • William Lawrence who spoke on Section 508.
  • Joseph O’Connor who spoke on WordPress accessibility.

Learn more about Accessibility Camp LA on Twitter:

Opening session

John Foliot speaking

Starbucks run!

More on the accessibility camps.