Archive: April 26th, 2008

Speechification

A blog of all the best bits of Radio 4.

Open Data and Accessibility

During last year’s post-@media drinks, Kath Moonan took me aside and asked me if I would be willing to talk at an accessibility conference she was planning to put together in London. Sure! I said. Well, it turned out that Kath didn’t just want me to talk at the conference, she wanted me to give the opening keynote! That’s an order of magnitude more pressure.

When I heard that the conference was called Accessibility 2.0: A Million Flowers Bloom I thought, “hmmm… I reckon I could do a really pretentious talk for this one.” I decided to repeat my strategy from Reboot 8.0 and write my presentation out in its entirety to be read using my JavaScript teleprompter.

I spent the last week trying to get a jumble of disparate thoughts out of my head and into writing for the keynote. It was quite a struggle but after beta-testing the finished talk on my workmates and my wife, I was pretty happy with the result.

On the day, the keynote seemed to go down pretty well. I had fun delivering it and I enjoyed answering related questions afterwards.

The talk is called Open Data, a long-zoom view of accessibility based on this stated premise:

It is my contention that what is good for digital preservation is good for accessibility.

I’ve published the text in the articles section. I’ll also record a soundfile and post that there too.

I took notes during the rest of the conference but the WiFi situation was a little odd so I didn’t have the chance to properly liveblog. I’ve since posted all my notes so I’ve got a written record of the day:

  1. Open Data by Jeremy Keith.
  2. Making Twitter Tweet by Steve Faulkner.
  3. Fencing in the Habitat by Christian Heilmann.
  4. Rich Media and Web applications for people with learning disabilities by Antonia Hyde.
  5. User-generated Content by Jonathan Hassell.
  6. A case study: Building a social network for disabled users by Stephen Eisden.
  7. Tools and Technologies to Watch and Avoid by Ian Forrester.
  8. Panel discussion with Mike Davies, Kath Moonan, Bim Egan, Jonathan Hassell, Antonia Hyde and Panayiotis Zaphiris, moderated by Julie Howell.

All in all, it was a great day of talks with some recurring points:

  • Accessibility is really a user-experience issue.
  • Guidelines for authoring tools are now more relevant than guidelines for content.
  • Forget about blindly following rules: nothing beats real testing with real users.