CSUN 2011

I attended the following panel discussion at the 26th annual International Technology and Persons With Disabilities Conference, at 3:10 PM, Thursday, March 17, 2011:

Do We Need to Change the Web Accessibility Game Plan?

This panel was a discussion of current web accessibility efforts, whether they were effective or not, and how they could be improved, and was presented by:

Jennison Asuncion, @Jennison
John Foliot, @JohnFoliot
Jared Smith, @jared_w_smith
Sandi Wassmer, @SandiWassmer

The word “tribe” was used to describe the people working in accessibility around the world. That wasn’t the first time, but during that discussion I think we really owned it. We were the tribe. And the tribe wasn’t satisfied with the current mode we were in. We noticed that we gathered together almost exclusively at accessibility conferences and talked accessibility with each other. Preaching to the choir wasn’t working. We had to branch out.

Branching Out

Presaging this group revelation was Glenda Watson Hyatt’s @GlendaWH glorious standing ovation at SXSW a few days before for her presentation “Is Your Site POUR?” Those who were there say it was a life-changing experience. Branching out was already working for the tribe. Many more of us have branched out since.

This year I started a Meetup here in Silicon Beach, the Los Angeles Accessibility and Inclusive Design Group modeled after Lisa Herrod’s group in Sydney and Jennison Asuncion and George Zamfir’s Toronto groups. I also started Cities.

No Matter What

The tribe sticks together. 24 hours ago I saw a Tweet by Sarah Bourne ‏@sarahebourne “When the phone rings at this hour, it’s not good. My mom died.” Within minutes she was getting messages of sympathy from tribe members. Lots of them. When a tribe member is in trouble we gather together.

And when a tribe member makes good, we make a big deal of it. When I retired from CSUN earlier this year I was inundated with good wishes. Earlier today @Jennison Tweeted: “I am honoured and humbled to have been recognized today with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.” I think Jennison is still getting congratulatory Tweets.


Also in the last 24 hours as we led up to the US Senate vote on the UN Convention on the Rights with Persons of Disabilities there were many posts and Tweets from tribe members. I don’t know if Bill Shackleton ‏@CRPDisabilities counts himself a tribe member, but I think he should. His tireless work live-Tweeting debate, making resources available, urging us all on, is remarkable. This type of giving, without reservation, and without personal gain is the epitome of what being an accessibility tribe member is all about. Three cheers to the tribe!