I supported my friends at two accessibility talks today. First was Accessibility for the Visually Impaired: Ground Breaking New Technologies. This featured Michael Cooper from the W3C who I worked with when I was on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines working group. He was asked questions by the panel moderator, Genevieve Wilkins. Michael did a great job of reviewing technologies, pointing out resources and even being brave enough to demo ARIA with a screen reader!
Next was Accessibility the Musical! Moderated by Sharron Rush, the executive director of Knowbility. She had a great panel of accessibility experts and users of assistive technologies. There was live sign language interpreting and many demos and videos! Barbie Parker discussed the field of interpreting live performances and how much work is involved. I never realized how important it is to do research on the person or performance being interpretted. Imagine trying to sign a live musical performance without knowing the playlist? Or, who would have thought that knowing about someone’s behavior or background, or OCD would be important for interpreting? It is much more than just translating spoken word to sign “on the fly”. Celia Hughes of VSA Texas reminded us all of how important it is to enable ALL people no matter what their abilities and capabilities and shared some great success stories. Desiree is a blind “tech geek girl”, mother, and musician who demonstrated some of the accessible and non-accessible apps and web sites she encounters. Elise Whitworth is a deaf web designer. It was great to get her perspective. And, it is always fascinating to watch and appreciate the great work of the interpreters! There was a discussion of how planning for people with disabilities at conferences and events is important. You can’t wait until the last minute to get braille versions of programs, to arrange for interpreters, full access to the venue and stage, etc. Truly an enlightening presentation – I wish it could have attracted more attendees but it was recorded – I’ll try to post the recording here when it is available.
I had lunch with some of my accessibility friends. That was a nice break!
The final presentation of the day was Voices from the HTML5 Trenches: Browser Wars IV. Representatives from Google Chrome, Opera, IE 9 and Mozilla shared insights and opinions. This session was well moderated by Arun Ranganathan. There was lots of discussion about HTML5 video and codecs, standards, etc. Always a fun session to attend.
I also go to attend another movie, Buck, about a modern day Horse Whisperer. It was great and I encourage any one interested in horses or human nature to check it out. See buckthefilm for more details. It is a truly inspiring movie – even if you aren’t interested in horses!!! I’m sorry that Buck doesn’t have any clinics in the New England area this year – I would love to attend as a spectator just to watch this man perform his calm magic!