In her day-to-day identity, Becky Gibson is a Web accessibility architect in IBM's Emerging Technologies Group, but to me she is an accessibility super hero. At a time when I was becoming discouraged about the future of web accessibility, Becky's work showed me a clear path forward.
If you are reading this, you are probably familiar with the basic issues of web accessibility - why it is so important in the modern world and how accessibility improves life for millions of people with various disabilities. But confusion and misinformation continue to cause developers to hesitate to embrace accessibility. Those of us who advocate for a truly open and inclusive web are often challenged to demonstrate how developers can integrate accessible design techniques while keeping pace with the rapid rate of technology change and innovation. In 2004, Jeff Veen famously announced at a SXSW Interactive panel that had accessibility as its subject that he "did not think about accessibility" and did not have to because he used Web Standards. Well, the following year of course saw the introduction and dissemination of AJAX by Jeff's company Adaptive Path - and there went that argument.
The challenges seemed to increase overnight. It became much more difficult to defend the statement that inclusive online environments could also be as dynamic and responsive as inaccessible platforms. Assistive technologies lagged behind and HTML did not provide the tools to successfully deliver dynamic, AJAX enabled experiences to all.
Becky has been engaged in identifying accessibility barriers of emerging technologies for most of her stellar career. She is one of the originators of the ARIA framework. She approaches the challenges of dynamic interfaces with enthusiasm and imagination. Being in her classes is just plain fun. In addition to the CSUN talks, Becky is a featured presenter at tech conferences all over the world and has led workshops and Core Conversations at the SXSW Interactive Conference.
So if you are challenged to create cutting edge applications that meet accessibility requirements and have been looking for resources, here is one of the best. Come to her AccessU classes - no one knows more than Becky Gibson about the scripting needed to be successful; no one talks about it more clearly or more practically. Her class is fun and always enormously informative.
And if you have not yet enrolled in AccessU, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and make sure to get a seat in Becky's class. You'll see why I love her and just might fall in love yourself.