conference event

Canceled Accessibility Event

Very disappointing news today. The AccessU West conference by Knowbility scheduled for January 10-12 in San Jose, California, has been officially cancelled due to low registration numbers.

The AccessU training conference in Austin, Texas, May 17-19, 2011, will be held as usual. This event is the original from Knowbility and continues to be very successful. You can also follow Knowbility on Twitter.

Still, it’s so saddening that a web accessibility event with major speakers (such as Derek Featherstone and yours truly) has such little interest. Especially in Silicon Valley. Here are some reasons I suspect. Can you think of any other?

  1. Accessibility is not “cool” in Bay area where other exciting web technology is created.
  2. Bad timing; beginning of year may be not ideal for people’s personal schedules and business’ budgets.
  3. Competition – too many other great webinars, conferences, and meetups to choose from.

8 replies on “Canceled Accessibility Event”

The public universities in California are severely restricting travel and conferences. Since most of the attendees at CalWAC came from CSU and UC, I would suspect that explains the majority of the attendance decline.

Didn’t help that they were happy to take the money and then their registration for classes didn’t work for four weeks. I was about to pull out when they finally got it up and running.

The usability of the site was a mess too and didn’t inspire confidence in their ability to come through.

Sadly I don’t think that this type of event can compete in the Bay Area, where it seems that every other week there are at least 4 different meet-ups of various size and scope, many of them free. While the importance of the subject matter and apparent level of quality of the event was obviously high, I think a combination of timing, cost, and saturation of similar free events conspired to doom this initiative from the start.

If January is a bad time, then what about trying again in September. It’s the start of the school year – perhaps it’s easier to get the budget then?

Also, I think Nic is right. Those who consider themselves in the accessibility community are already aware, might want the training, but it’s geographically difficult. It’s getting those outside the “aware” community that’s crucial. The truly deaf and blind people are those who don’t care or who don’t think accessibility issues concern them. We have to keep on banging the drum about accessibility, so to speak. My late mom talked about one particular change in special education involving differentiated curricula that took several decades to implement. The change cost a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but the change was made.

Every little bit counts. I almost stopped a woman in a wheelchair just now as we were both struggling along snowy sidewalks. I was going to suggest she get her friends together and demonstrate at the entrance to shopping centers where bicyclists just dump their bikes anywhere with no regard to clear passage for anyone else. A group of wheelies getting in the news might open a few eyes to the inconsiderate behavior. I chickened out and didn’t speak to her. Next time, I won’t!

I was hoping to attend but haven’t been able to get management approval due to everyone being out of the office this time of year. By the time the approvals started happening the event was canceled.

I don’t know what avenues were taken to publicize the event, but I stumbled across it by accident, and no one I know of working in accessible design was aware of it either. The time of year, lack of advance widespread notice are the two main factors I would think. Please don’t give up on this or on the Bay Area.

Sharron Rush here, from Knowbility. Ouch! the comments about ths site and the usability hurt, mostly because they are painfully true! The happy news is that we have a redesign coming in Feb, in time for AIR-Interactive at SXSW. We will certainly try again in the Bay Area and appreciate the idea for a September time frame. Great comments, thanks for posting!

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