conference event expert

IT Accessibility Goes To Camp

A guest blog by Jennison Asuncion.

June 1 marked the date of the second Accessibility Camp Guelph. Led again by Sean Yo, it took place in an appropriate spot for a barcamp-type event, The Bullring Pub at Guelph University (Ontario, Canada). As with the five other accessibility camps I have been involved in over the last two years, Accessibility Camp Guelph offered participants a no-cost opportunity to build and drive an agenda and conversations focused on IT accessibility/inclusion.

I have been asked why I so enthusiastically “instigate” and champion the accessibility barcamp/unconference movement. As I said during Accessibility Camp Seattle last month, I have a keen interest in making the topic of IT accessibility, accessible, to the people who have a hand in making it happen: from the devs, to the usability and UI design folks, and everyone in between. As I experienced attending the first accessibility camp in Washington D.C. in 2009, the barcamp/unconference format lends itself perfectly to this purpose. By its very nature, it calls for a free, less formal, open atmosphere where folks with varying levels of experience with and perspectives on accessibility, including end-users with disabilities, come together to chart the day, discuss and learn. If the numbers of attendees and feedback surveys are any indication, these dedicated accessibility camps are being well-received. What’s more, they are building community (the tribe), and have inspired monthly Accessibility DC and Accessibility Baltimore meetings.

Plans are underway in 2011 so far for events in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, Washington D.C., and London UK. Want to learn more? Why not consider putting on an accessibility camp in your city. An accessibility camp website maintained by John F. Croston III is a good place to start.

You can also follow @A11yEvents on Twitter for the latest on these and other accessibility gatherings and traiditional conferences.

One reply on “IT Accessibility Goes To Camp”

A quick postscript to my blog post, as I know I went over the typical word limit. As energized as I am about the need for the dedicated accessibility camps
and focused meetups that I’ve been seeing happen in Australia and in Boston, it goes without saying that in order to build awareness on accessibility,
it is just as important, maybe more so, to raise accessibility topics at existing, mainstream IT events. I’ve tweeted previously to encourage folks to
consider submitting to talk on accessibility at Ignite events. The upcoming Open Web Camp at Stanford is another excellent example of how accessibility
is being intermingled into a larger IT agenda.

Either way, the ultimate end-goal is the same, to keep accessibility front-of-mind to those who have a role in making it happen.

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