Are you tired of reading and hearing about Web accessibility, but never feeling like you understand what it's all about? Have you tried using assistive technology on your site, but found yourself becoming frustrated and confused? Or have you thought about developing a site with accessibility in mind from the start, but then wondered who "those people with disabilities" really are? This panel is your chance to see live demos, become familiar with the strategies people with disabilities use to access the Web, and ask questions to help you put theory into practice.

During AccessU's plinary session on Monday morning, February 27, three people with disabilities -- Kim Patch, Wayne Dick and I (Jennifer Sutton) -- will use the Before and After Demo, as well as other sites we visit frequently, to illustrate Web accessibility issues and how to resolve them. We'll cover the basics so that presenters can focus on very specific techniques and situations during their sessions.

Who Will be Revealing the Mysteries of Assistive Technology?

I am Jennifer Sutton, and I'm a screen reader user who will show you how Freedom Scientific's JAWS for Windows works with a couple of Web sites. I am an independent Web accessibility consultant and writer who has been passionately committed to accessibility throughout my career.

Kim Patch of Redstart systems will use Dragon Naturally Speaking, coupled with a few other tricks she has up her sleeve, to give you a sense of how someone who finds it difficult or impossible to use a mouse and keyboard accesses the Web using speech. She'll show you the value of enabling efficient, consistent navigation methods and keyboard shortcut flexibility. You'll learn what makes a difference for people who navigate your site or Web application by speech.

Wayne Dick, a retired professor at California State University, Long Beach, has low vision, and he uses style sheets to tailor his online reading experience. He'll show you a bit about how his style sheets work and discuss what you can do to help him, and others like him, have a pleasant site visit, without having to make your site look boring.

We're happy to have Shawn Henry of the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative moderate this panel. She'll be inviting your questions and helping us keep these live demos lively.

There are a few days left to sign up for Knowbility's AccessU at CSUN, so please join us. We'll take the mystery and myths out of using assistive technology, and we'll show you what a difference an accessible site can make.