Speaking at a real conference in a virtual world

I recently spoke at a conference in a brand new territory for me—Second Life. I gave a session at the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC 2014), organised by Virtual Ability Inc, a non-profit organisation with a focus on supporting people with a range of disabilities in the use of virtual worlds. It was a novel and fascinating experience for me, and gave me a great new perspective on accessible user experience design.

Continue reading Speaking at a real conference in a virtual world

Thoughts on professional accreditation in digital accessibility

I’ve been working (more or less) full time in digital accessibility for quite some time now, so naturally I’ve watched with great interest the unfolding developments in recent years towards establishing the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), and specifically IAAP’s focus on the subject of individual accreditation of accessibility professionals. I was involved in a few very early discussions, I work for a founder member organization of IAAP, and I’ve had some discussions with colleagues more closely involved. But aside from that I’ve had no direct involvement, so these opinions are my own, as a curious potential member looking in from the outside. Continue reading Thoughts on professional accreditation in digital accessibility

UX Scotland – a review

A new, two day conference on user experience – UX Scotland – was a very welcome addition to the conference calendar. I don’t recall such a significant dedicated user experience conference having been held in Scotland before, so I was pleased that I could attend the first day of the conference, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. Here are my thoughts on the sessions I attended. Continue reading UX Scotland – a review

Time for a change

I arrived at the University of Dundee as a mature student in 1998, to take one year out to get an MSc in Applied Computing, and then go back into industry. Well, it took me rather longer than a year…as in the intervening time I found myself developing for myself a hybrid role of accessibility and inclusive design researcher, teacher and consultant. It’s been (mostly) terrific fun, but it came to an end this week as I start a new job with The Paciello Group. Continue reading Time for a change

Open badges and accessibility

I recently attended a talk on the Open Badge Framework, by Grainne Hamilton, from the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland. It got me thinking about the potential Open Badges has a way to allow people to reward sites for a high level of accessibility.

The post that follows is a direct copy of what I originally published on the University of Dundee’s eAccessibility blog. Have a read and let me know what you think.

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Bland inclusive design is bland

Recently, Jared Spool of UIE published a short post asking whether designing for everybody leads to bland results. He argued that in order to avoid acceptable, but anodyne and uninspiring design solutions, design teams need to focus on a given group at the expense of others. The analogy he used was a restaurant that focuses on a particular cuisine and concentrates on achieving excellence in that area rather than trying to cover all tastes. Does that mean he’s suggesting there’s a problem with inclusive design?

Continue reading Bland inclusive design is bland

Building an Accessibility Body of Knowledge

This year, we’ve seen a growing prominence of discussions about the idea of developing a resource providing access to trusted information on web and ICT accessibility – an accessibility Body of Knowledge. It would be hard to defend the idea that accessibility knowledge should remain a specialism, held only be a chosen few and made available to others only at great cost, going against the very objective of supporting inclusion that we surely all support. Instead, there’s an obvious attraction for accessibility specialists and those less familiar with accessibility theory and practice to be able to refer to and use a resource that provides authoritative information on accessibility, from development techniques to assistive technology performance and support to legislative requirements to statistics on return-on-investment.

Continue reading Building an Accessibility Body of Knowledge