Web accessibility and assistive technology

While the necessity and benefits of accessible services on the web are pretty obvious, web accessibility is still not a widespread practice. Common reasonsings range from putative additional efforts, tight budgets to the misbelief that «validity equals accessibilty». In many cases, however, it seems that the majority of developers simply has no clue where to start — which comes as no surprise as most of them have never gotten their hands on assistive technology.

The Accessibility Club wants to give you the chance to get some real-world experience with assistive technology, deepen your knowledge about web accessibilty and get you in touch with like-minded webworkers. The goal is to enable you to make accessibility a natural part of your daily work and mindset.

The first ever a11yclub conference: Be part of it!

When the Accessibility Club started in Nuremberg back in 2014, it was nothing more than a tiny meetup with one blind guy, his screenreader and a bunch of web geeks. It was the initial Berlin edition in 2016 that attracted international guests and presenters for the first time — a big leap forward which also made the format shift towards a mixture of presentations and barcamp like discussion sessions.

Luckily, the awareness for accessibility matters seems to be steadily growing — not only among enthusiasts but also on the stages of «regular» web conferences. It's this very momentum that makes Joschi and Stefan think that it's time for the next level on November 5th, 2018: For the first time, the Accessibility Club will take the form of a full-day, single-track conference, aiming for ~150 attendees, with 4-5 hand-picked speakers and a few more community contributions.

November 5th, 2018 — Meet Our Speakers

So far, we are in the extremely fortunate position of being joined by:

Léonie Watson

Black & White portrait of Léonie Watson
Léonie Watson — Director of Developer Communications at The Paciello Group, member of the W3C Advisory Board and co-chair of the W3C Web Platform WG, technology writer and speaker. She began using the internet in 1993, turned it into a career in 1997, and (despite losing her eyesight along the way), she's been enjoying herself thoroughly ever since. (Full bio)

Alistair Duggin

Portrait of Alistair Duggin
Alistair Duggin is Head of Accessibility at the Government Digital Service and is responsible for making sure that GOV.UK is as accessible as possible. He was a frontend developer at the BBC for over 11 years with roles including Lead Frontend Developer and Accessibility Champion on the BBC 2012 Olympics websites and Principal Web Developer on BBC Weather.
Alistair's talk will outline a 4-part strategy for making digital products accessible — and maybe even give us some insights into the new GOV.UK Design System? (Full bio)

Charlie Owen

Portrait of Charlie Owen
After contracting as a front-end developer in London, and writing code for the front page of BBC News, Charlie Owen is now happily working as a senior FED for Springer Nature in Berlin, where she's doing accessibility at scale. There she helps make the world of scientific publishing a better place by constructing design systems, banging on about inclusive design, and utilising those wonderful web standards. (Full bio)

Molly Watt

Portrait of Molly Watt
Molly Watt is an inclusive technology evangelist, accessibility consultant, speaker and author. Born severely deaf, then registered blind, she has experienced exclusion, rejection and isolation throughout education — as a result her passion lies in inclusion. She has spoken, run workshops and consulted worldwide to some of the biggest in digital and their accessibility teams. Her belief is that digital holds the key to accessibility, diversity and inclusion for all. (Full bio)

Due to an unexpected date conflict, inclusion activist Raúl Krauthausen had to step back from his speaking engagement for this year's conference. We're working on ideas to further keep him involved and hope to get him on stage at some other point in the future.

 

Community champions

We ran a Call for Papers via Colloq in order to find a couple more speakers from the community for what we call «mini-talks» (~20 minutes length). We received a whopping 42 proposals with a fantastic overall quality, and it was a really, really tough choice. We are deeply grateful for all your suggestions — thanks so much for this! Here are the community champions that have confirmed so far:

Tom Widerøe

Portrait of Tom Widerøe
As a frontend developer at FINN.no, Tom Widerøe became interested in whether we could use web analytics to improve accessibility. For good (ethical) reasons, the use of assistive technology is not promoted over the web, so it's also not measurable with the typical tools. Tom made some experiments and will share his experiences. (Full bio)

Vasilis van Gemert

Portrait of Vasilis van Gemert
Vasilis van Gemert is both a lecturer and a student of design at the same time. In the past year, he did several experiments together with his students, designing digital user experiences exclusively for real persons with real disabilities. In his talk, he will share the insights they gained while developing what he calls their Exclusive Design principles. (Full bio)

Sarita Saffon López

Portrait of Sarita Saffon López
Sarita Saffon López works as a UX Researcher as part of the Service Design and UX team at Telefonica R&D in Spain. Her work focuses on bringing to life the voice of the user in Aura, a data-driven voice activated virtual assistant (VAVA) similar to Siri, Cortana, Alexa and so on. In her talk, she will share how Aura is being created, developed and refined to be as accessible as possible. (Full bio)

Hidde de Vries

Portrait of Hidde de Vries
Hidde de Vries is a freelance front-end developer, currently contracting at Mozilla's Open Innovation team, excited about web standards, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and accessibility. At the Accessibility Club, he will ponder about the case for making websites accessible from the viewpoint of philosopical ethics, including some practical examples you can possibly use to advocate for more inclusive websites. (Full bio)

Holger Dieterich

Portrait of Holger Dieterich
Holger Dieterich is a product manager and chairman of SOZIALHELDEN e.V., a Berlin based nonprofit organisation that's running projects engaging people in activities promoting social justice. Together with Raúl Krauthausen he founded and developed Wheelmap.org, an online map for finding wheelchair accessible places. In his talk, he will introduce us to Accessibility.Cloud, their latest effort to standardize accessibility data on a global scale. (Full bio)

What we're up to

These are some of our objectives for 2018:

  • Diverse line-up of presenters and topics
  • Warm atmosphere, welcoming both experts and novices
  • As non-commercial and affordable as possible (as always)
  • No swag and other useless stuff
  • The venue and its facilities must be fully accessible for wheelchair users
  • Presentations should be recorded, subtitled / captioned and publicly available
  • A sign language interpreter would be great; same about printed information in Braille, etc.

Venue

Our venue will be the 030 Eventloft at the beautiful, historical Spreespeicher (Stralauer Allee 2, 10245 Berlin).

Photo of the Spreespeicher building, taken from the river waterfront

The historical grain silo is situated right by the river Spree with a beautiful view on the "Oberbaumbrücke" (bridge) and amidst the trendy media district of Berlin Friedrichshain. If the weather plays along we can also use the waterfront terrace for the smaller breaks.

Photo along the Spree waterfront, taken from in front of the Spreespeicher building

The venue is fully accessible for wheelchair users (including the bathrooms).

Inside the Spreespeicher venue, conference chairs facing towards a speaker desk

Tickets

The Regular Ticket will cost € 80 (including 19% German VAT) for the conference day. Coffee, tea, softdrinks and some small snacks throughout the day are included. There will be an extended lunch break which you can use for grabbing a snack somewhere around — there are plenty of cafés and small restaurants within short walking distance.

Get your ticket now!

We also have a Diversity Supporter Ticket for € 120 (or more if you feel generous — just «pay what you want»). Each supporter ticket will unlock an additional scholarship / diversity ticket for someone else (see below).

Diversity / Scholarships

We want our conference to be as accessible and welcoming as possible — for everyone. That's why we try hard to keep the ticket price as low as possible and skip all unneccesary cruft. Additionally, we'll give out free Scholarship / Diversity Tickets and strongly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups in tech to apply. This includes, but is not limited to: women-identifying persons, people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with physical and mental disabilities, people facing economic and / or political hardships. An additional scholarship / diversity ticket will be unlocked for every supporter ticket we sell (see above). To apply for a scholarship / diversity ticket, please send a brief informal email to hello@a11y-club.org and let us know why the conference shouldn't happen without your attendance.

Code of Conduct

We have a Code of Conduct in place for your event. It's there to ensure maximum inclusivity and that everyone feels welcome and comfortable throughout the event. Please make sure your read and understand its contents before registering and attending.

We need your help!

Thanks for your support! ❤️

On a side note ...

For those of you interested in this kind of things, the Accessibility Club is offering a couple of hands-on workshops on various topics during the Nürnberg Digital Festival in October:

  • Web form accessibility for designers and developers
  • Writing texts in «Leicht verständlicher Sprache» (similar to Easy-To-Read)

Please find the details over at Colloq.

Your hosts

Joschi Kuphal

Portrait of Joschi Kuphal

Joschi Kuphal is an interior designer, programmer and restless tinkerer from Nuremberg.

He's working on the web since the mid 90s, founder of tollwerk and the Open Device Lab Nürnberg, IndieWeb enthusiast and author of several of Open Source tools. Since 2013 he launched several event series like the border:none and Material conferences, the Accessibility Club and the CoderDojo Nürnberg. He's running IndieWebCamps, the Homebrew Website Club Nürnberg and is one of the driving forces behind the Nürnberg Web Week.

Stefan Judis

Portrait of Stefan Judis

Stefan Judis started programming 7 years ago and quickly fell in love with web performance, new technologies and automation.

He is also a curator of the web performance online resource Perf Tooling, organizer of the Web Performance Meetup Berlin, contributes constantly to a variety of open source projects and enjoys sharing nerdy discoveries.