It's the last day of AccessU, and Ragsdale Hall at St. Edward's University, the center of our operations, is quiet. Over in Trustee Hall, though, Jimmy Bogard of Headspring is teaching a post-conference class called "Accessibility for ASP.net." If you didn't make it out, you can still hear from Jimmy in the last of our 30-second interviews!
Who are you?
My name is Jimmy Bogard. I am a Technical Architect at a firm here in Austin called Headspring, where I oversee training and things like that.
What will you be doing at AccessU?
This year, I’m teaching a one-day class on Accessibility in ASP.net. At the end, students should be able to understand not only what accessibility is and why it’s important, but how to use ASP.net to achieve their accessibility needs.
Why do you care about accessibility?
Honestly, I didn’t for a long time. I didn’t even really know about it until I had the opportunity to work on a project for some county governments here in Texas. For them, it wasn’t a nice thing to do. It was required. But they had an employee come in who had to use their software that was not accessible. She was visually impaired, and on some screens she had to have other people type in information for her – things you wouldn’t want someone else to type in – like her social security number. It just kind of hit home how much inaccessibility was affecting her normal daily job and her life.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?
The concept of responsive/reactive design. For content websites, it's expensive to build mobile/tablet specific offerings. But with CSS3 and HTML5, you can build a website that adapts its layout to whatever area you have shown. Instead of just stretching content, you can actively build separate styling for separate viewable windows, providing a much less riskier alternative to building and deploying a completely separate website for mobile devices.
What would you tell people who don’t think accessibility should be a priority?
All it takes is sitting down with someone where it actually matters to them. They didn’t make a choice to have any kind of a disability, but your choices are negatively affecting their experience. It’s always so, if you walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you find out what insignificant choices you make have a negative effect on someone.
I’m excited to see how much accessibility has left the fringe of web development, and become a central part of things going forward. An example is HTML5, and we’re seeing that this isn’t a chore at the end, or something that benefits just people with disabilities, but it’s something that is good for everyone.
Thanks, Jimmy, for closing out this year's AccessU!
We hope that everyone enjoyed the conference in 2012 - and we look forward to seeing you next year!