Web Accessibility Camp 2015 Wrap Up

The Perth Web Accessibility Camp was held on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 and saw a record number of 121 attendees.  We were very fortunate to have the Camp sponsored by Bankwest who provided the venue on Murray Street, Perth as well as food and refreshments throughout the day.  We added a Sundowner this year for the first time, sponsored by Permeance Technologies.

The program was designed to have helpful information for everyone involved in website accessibility, from the newly interested to the experienced developer and website manager. We achieved this with some great positive feedback.

The keynote speaker for the Camp was Graeme Innes, AM the Disability Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission until June 2014.  Graeme is a lawyer, mediator, and company director.  He played a key role in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Everyone found Graeme’s presentation very motivational and we’ve heard that people really liked his comment, “Make it like Tron, where we can all interact”.

We were really fortunate to have Hans Hillen from The Paciello Group as a guest speaker.  Hans talked about issues of responsible design, font icons and other next generation concepts in website accessibility.  Hans also took a position on the Developer’s Q&A Panel which was really well received.

Sean Gardiner from Precedent took participants through a workshop where they simulated problems visualising mobile display and then had to work through some typical local government client tasks such as finding your bin day.  The workshop created quite a buzz and everyone got into the spirit and found issues they didn’t expect, as well as some of the usual suspects.

Other presenters included:

  • Scott Hollier who presented on “The Accessibility of Mainstream Technologies”
  • Zel Iscel who showed us how people who are blind use a screen reader to assess accessibility
  • Robyn Binks of the Small Business Development Corporation who talked about how the SBDC can assist people who work in small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Vivienne Conway who talked about some of the new developments in the world of accessibility

As is our custom, we again held “The Great Debate”.  This year’s debate statement was “Website Accessibility is too expensive to implement”.  As usual, the debate was conducted very tongue-in-cheek, but amongst the humour is many a truth spoken.  The side in favour of the statement included Nick Cowie, Gaylene Kelso and Julie Grundy. The side who argued against the statement included Scott Hollier, Vivienne Conway and Grant Malcolm.  It must be said that the acting ability of some of the debaters was very much in evidence!  While it was touch and go, the side arguing that website accessibility is not too expensive won the day.  Not only is website accessibility NOT too expensive, it IS too expensive to ignore.

We finished the day with a sundowner, courtesy of Permeance Technologies and from all accounts everyone had a great day, learned valuable lessons, enjoyed the company and felt that the day was well spent.  We all look forward to next year’s camp.