Category: csun

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

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!