A11yYOW - Building Ottawa's Accessibility Community
Digital Accessibility is a really big and complicated issue. There are no simple fixes because the technology keeps changing and the web standards are regularly being adjusted in attempt to keep up. A site that is considered accessible today, may not be accessible viewed this way in 6 months.
Ultimately it is about building technology such that the widest number of people can have the greatest access to the web. The web has become our town square and school as well as our our path to city hall and venue for purchasing for goods and services. Increasingly, to be an active member of our society, it is important to have access to the Internet. Just looking at seeing, hearing and dexterity difficulties it is easily to assume that 20% of the population faces barriers to participation on the web.
This is a huge problem and requires a great societal effort to address it.
The Accessibility Camp/Unconference community has really done quite a lot to help raise awareness and bolster an accessibility community around the world. There are events being held in Toronto, Montreal, Guelph, Washington, DC, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Ottawa held it's first Accessibility Unconference back in 2011, but unfortunately we weren't able to organize another one. That is until now! Ottawa's accessibility community were getting tired meeting each other in other cities. It really was time to organize locally, and we're really glad we have.
The 2014 organizing team is way more organized than we were in 2011 and it's taking place on December 6th at Carleton University.
OpenConcept has spearheaded the accessibility improvement in the Drupal community over the last six years. We see being involved in the accessibility camp community being an important way to both share our experience but more importantly to learn from others. There are just so many facets to accessibility issues, there is no end to what you can discover by being involved.
For more information see http://a11yyow.ca/
About The Author
Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.