As Austinites, SxSW has a special place in our heart. In addition, we are so grateful to SxSW for demonstrating their commitment to accessibility by supporting our OpenAIR program for the last few years (thanks, SxSW!).

Members of our team, board, and community have submitted talks and panels on accessibility and design because we want to teach SxSW 2019 attendees how to create delightful, inclusive experiences for everyone. Below is a listing of sessions submitted by our team and board members. If you think accessibility is important, please take a minute to vote for the following sessions. Be sure to leave a comment if you have questions.

Digital Accessibility Master Class – Sharron Rush, Robert Jolly, Becky Gibson

Learn practical accessibility design and development skills. Practice techniques with deeply experienced programmers, developers, designers, and content providers. Instructors participate at the W3C, developing global web standards and implementation techniques, including those that define accessibility. We will teach you to assess existing sites and applications, remediate for accessibility, plan for accessibility in future products, integrate inclusive design thinking into your processes and product development life cycles, distribute accessibility responsibility across roles, and manage your products to meet and sustain accessibility goals. We introduce free and low-cost accessibility validation tools and connect you to a global community of best practice.

Accessible or SUX, it’s YOUR choice! – Robert Jolly

You made a thing. A digital thing! That’s great. But, is it accessible to all? People with disabilities are shut out of our apps, services, and sites on a daily basis. Often, as UX teams building awesome digital things, we don’t realize that our users’ experience is only some users’ experience and that SUX. This session will highlight accessibility user stories and use cases to first enlighten and then inform us what we can do to ensure our work is inclusive to all. Robert will dive into common accessibility pitfalls via real-world examples and help attendees understand both broad concepts and specific tasks that each person can put into practice immediately.

A11Y Rules Podcast Recording with Special Guest – Nic Steenhout

Accessibility is a very important topic. It is not, or should not be, just about compliance, nor about completing a checklist. Accessibility is about people. Also, we don’t know very much about most of the people who make accessibility happen. The A11y Rules Podcast is a show where Nicolas Steenhout and a guest have a conversation about web accessibility. Listeners get to know the weekly guests better: What got them involved with accessibility, their motivations, their successes, and frustrations.

This session would be a live recording of the A11y Rules Podcast with either Vint Cerf (invited), or Sarah Herrlinger (agreed in principle). An opportunity for attendees to hear from important people in accessibility.

Inclusive Presentations – Becky Gibson

Have you ever been in the back of a large presentation space and struggled to see the slides and understand any charts or visualizations? The presenter mentions that the red line shows the upward trend but you can’t tell which line is red nor see the scale so you can’t understand the point he is trying to make. That is what someone with low vision may experience, even if they have a better seat than you. And what if an audience member can’t see at all? Or has difficulty hearing. When presenting we all forget that not everyone one in the audience has the same capabilities that we do. This panel will review common mistakes when presenting to a diverse audience. It will provide methods to ensure your presentation includes and engages your entire audience.

Add Accessibility to Your Process the Easy-ish Way – James Green

Finding Accessibility Not-That-Accessible to your team? Are you feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or not even sure where to start? If you are hungry for help then look no further and get yourself some heaping platefuls of knowledge, tips, best practices, and inspiration! We’ll cover the basics of how people with disabilities use technology, what the basic requirements are, and how to find qualified help (how to avoid the fakers!). We’ll discuss how to evaluate YOUR users, (i.e., the members of your organization) and build a process they’ll want to adopt, as well as learn how to write custom requirements and tests that minimize stress on your team but cover all the bases (or use ours, they are done and free!). We’ll also teach you how to inspire your team and make sure they are prepared.

Moving the Needle on K12 Accessibility – Jan McSorley & Ron Lucey

We must view digital educational materials through an accessibility lens if students with disabilities are to have equal access to the general curriculum. What does that mean in today’s classroom? What do teachers, administrators, procurement staff, and direct service providers need to know to comply with the law and most importantly, meet student needs? This overview session provides up to date information and a toolkit to ensure we are more able to meet the needs of all our students.

Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation – Frances West

Authentic Inclusion™, an idea originated by Frances West, former IBM Chief Accessibility Officer, is defined as the institutional insight that human diversity is at the core of disruptive innovation. It calls for holistic actions across an institution to respect an individual’s ability to make a difference despite being different. Frances describes how her personal and professional journey led her to this thinking and work. The book addresses the diversity issues and proposes new ways that business leaders can think about inclusion as human first. A human first mindset is critical as the tech industry grapples with human impact technologies such as of AI. By focusing on human first and Authentic Inclusion™, institutions can bring principles, purpose and profit into harmonious alignment.