SXSW is a “cool” conference that combines the Web, Film, and Music and is thus very “youth” oriented with what seems an audience predominantly under 35 years old. Although, I was happy to see many faces in the over 40 and over 50 category as well! I heard that the attendance was up from last year which is a bit surprising but I guess indicates that perhaps tech hasn’t been hit quite as hard by the economic downturn. I was happy to see several panels and discussions that included accessibility:
Making Web Widgets Accessible: Tools and Techniques
Accessible Flash and Flex Applications
No Web Professional Left Behind: Educating the Next Generation
2009 WaSP Annual Meeting
Universal by Design
Deafness and the User Experience
Hack Ability: Open Source Disability Tech
Universal Design for Web Applications: Web Applications That Reach Everyone
I didn’t get to all of these, but I did my best! It is hard to get to all of the interesting talks at SXSW. I did attend Presenting Straight to the Brain and found it fascinating. I present code related topics often and do use many bullet points. The presentations by these folks were much more compelling and eliminated the bullet point overload. However, it did make me think how I would present something with less text, more talk and more pictures to a hearing impaired audience or to those who might rely more heavily on written words. I think the moral of the story is to have handouts with the full notes
for the session available to those who need it at the beginning. I’m hoping I can incorporate some of what I learned in my future presentations!
The Core conversation on Getting Things Done the Simple Way was packed – too many people squashed into a tiny room! I understand the idea behind conversations but when they get so large it kind of defeats the purpose. I know that Getting Things Done is popular but I guess I never realized just how popular and almost cult-ish it is! The misery of striving to say organized loves company, I guess!
There were plenty of “accessibility folks” at SXSW and it is nice to get a chance to see so many of my colleagues and meet new ones at parties and over drinks! There is a big Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference the following week which may folks also attend (this was my first time not attending after 5 consecutive years). Thus, some of the folks from other countries combine the travel and attend both SXSW and the technology conference (referred to as CSUN since it is hosted by the California State University at Northridge – CSUN).
FYI: I’ll be speaking at Knowbility’s John Slatin Access U in May, 2009. This is a great way to gain Accessibility and Design Knowledge! Check it out – early registraton discounts end April 10!