Accessibility Camp Toronto 2011, and Accessibility Summit 2011!

This isn’t something that I’ve written about in great detail here, but over the past year and a half or so, I’ve become kind of a web accessibility advocate. It’s something that I’ve been able to start bringing into my work, which is very exciting for me, and I’ve become something of the accessibility go-to person in my department. Even though I’ve gained a not-insignificant amount of knowledge that we’re starting to apply, I am always eager to learn more.

Over the past week, I’ve had some great opportunities to do just that. On Saturday, I attended Accessibility Camp Toronto, an un-conference designed to bring together attendees to learn and share in a more informal environment than the traditional conference. I was able to attend a number of really cool sessions- I particularly enjoyed the demo of FireEyes from Deque Systems, and the more informal presentation about HTML5/jQuery and the Fluid Project, from members of the IDRC and Everett Zufelt.

Even though I got some really useful new information, I think the thing I took away from the conference is just how much interest and excitement has been growing around this subject (It’s not just me!). There’s an amazing community of people that are driving huge amounts of improvement in websites, applications, and all sorts of information delivery, and it’s not just because the legislation is requiring it.

On top of that, today was Accessibility Summit 2011, which is an online conference presented by Environments for Humans. There were a ton of great sessions, from some big names in web accessibility. I was a little apprehensive that an online-only conference wouldn’t have the same amount of discussion/networking/collaborative opportunity, but looking at how many new people I’m following on Twitter, I think that worry was unfounded.

Glenda Sims‘ (again from Deque Systems- these people are pretty cool!) presentation about captioning, and Derek Featherstone‘s presentation, “Everything I Know about Accessibility I Learned from Star Wars”, were major highlights of the day for me. However, every single presentation was top notch, and the issues were few, considering that there were additional technical considerations to deal with to make the online delivery work.

So now, I’m pretty much buzzing with even more ideas and excitement than normal (and I have an idea train that is already hard to slow down). Watch out!

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