ICT 2019 Preview

Hi and welcome to the preview for our
fourth annual Information and Communications Technology Accessibility
Testing Symposium. My name is Matt Feldman, I’m this year’s co-chair and
joining me is our co-founder and the symposium chair Dr. Chris Law. Thanks
Matt and thanks for putting this preview together. So four years ago, we started
the testing symposium and the testing symposium has grown each of the last
four years, as the field has grown. There’s more need for testing from
companies, there’s more activity, there’s lots of legal lawsuits that we all know
about and as such, more people are paying attention to it and we need this forum
for researchers and developers of test tools and test methods to get together
to discuss and to share information and ideas and new techniques and methods. We
also in addition to developers, we attract a lot of people who are just
users of test tools. They use testing in their teams and so we’ve also focused on
the managers of testing teams and the test programs as well. This year’s
symposium will take place in our nation’s capital Washington, DC. We’re
returning to a familiar venue, at the Partnership for Public Service
Conference Center, which is located in downtown Washington. The date for this
year’s event is the first week of October, with the core talks taking place
Tuesday and Wednesday. Not to worry we have activities planned for the entire
week and we’ll talk about those in a little detail later in our preview. Chris
why don’t you take a moment and share a little bit more about this year’s themes.
The themes vary each year and align with the current trends and so our first
symposium theme this year is titled, Perfecting Traditional Methods. Now what
do we mean by that, traditional testing a lot of the technical problems to do with
testing have really been addressed and so now
one of the key differentiators between companies that are developing
and marketing their testing tools. Are things like, the level of fidelity, the level of
accuracy and even the usability and customer support that goes along with
those. So that’s what we mean by perfecting traditional methods. And the
second theme has to do with this new trends that we are seeing in terms of
things like, augmented reality, virtual reality. Wearables are becoming more
popular and so this is a new area for accessibility testing to get into. So
that’s what we mean by our second theme this , which is, Tackling Emerging
Interfaces. Thank you Chris. This wouldn’t be a comprehensive preview
if we didn’t highlight our keynote speaker, Shawn Lawton Henry.
Shawn leads worldwide education outreach promoting web
accessibility for people with disabilities at the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. She holds a research appointment at M.I.T.’s
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. And holds a
Masters of Science in Digital Inclusion. Hi Shawn and thank you so much for
joining us. Yeah thanks for having me. I’m
Looking forward to it. For those who are not familiar tell us a
little bit about yourself and what led you to the field of accessibility. Sure, my educational background
is in computer science and English. So technical communications. And
my early work was in user interface design. So back in the late 80s and early
90s. And then about the mid 90s, I began having health problems and had
difficulty using the computer, because of vision and physical problems. It got
bad enough at some points that I didn’t think I was going to be able to continue
working. And then I discovered the Trace Research and Development Center, which is
actually how I met Chris Law, many, many years ago. And that was directed by Gregg Vanderheiden. And Wendy Chisholm and worked with them and
learned about accessibility and what I could do about it.
So yeah, that’s how I got into the field. It was definitely very, well somewhat
self-serving at first, we’ll say. But then you know, even after I began to
get better, I was already hooked. I was so passionate about accessibility once I
learned how important it is in people’s lives. Shawn your keynote is titled, “The missing
link: Accessibility and Usability working together”. Now don’t spoil your talk, but
what can attendees look forward to learning. We’ll talk about how user centered
design can be used to improve the user experience of people with
disabilities. And how that can really elevate accessibility. My focus is always
on the user experience, but I’ll talk a lot about how it helps you as an
organization and individuals. And how it can make your development more
efficient and your evaluation better. And how you can maximize the benefits of
both fields. I’ll mention a little bit about, really how to get your boss
and colleagues on board with it. And talk about some resources that you
can use to support your efforts. And I’ll also share some entertaining examples.
And maybe give you some unusual comparisons, so you can come to find out
what that’s all about. Well I for one, think you’re touching on a
very relevant subject matter. We can’t wait to hear more October 1st.
Thanks again to Shawn for joining us. Thank you and we’ll see everybody then. So moving on to the symposium schedule. The core symposium event is Tuesday
October 1st and Wednesday October 2nd. The key driver of the format, is that
nothing starts before 9 a.m. I don’t think until you’ve had your
coffee that your brain ever gets engaged, before 9 a.m. and I don’t know about you
but I’ve been to many conferences that start at 8 o’clock
and everyone’s bleary-eyed. And it doesn’t really work. So no, nothing
starts before 9am. We also do include plenty of time for networking and breaks.
That’s one of the pieces of feedback we’ve had over the years. This is
one of the key networking opportunities for people in the
accessibility testing field for the year. The first plenary session on Tuesday
morning includes the keynote from Shawn Henry and the best paper presentation.
All of the papers are peer reviewed by the symposium committee and the
symposium committee votes for best paper. The audience actually will vote for
our best presentation. So we have awards in both of these categories. The lunch
events, we have two lunch events, that you can swap each day. So you go to one
on the Tuesday and then a different one on the Wednesday. Lunch with the
keynote is always fun. It’s an opportunity to get to know our keynote speaker Shawn
Henry in a little more detail. And have a longer period of time to ask more casual
conversations about her career and her work and what she’s doing. The same with
the social impact award winner. We don’t know who that is yet. You can actually
vote yourself, for who that may be. When you register, there is a last part
of the registration form is to nominate someone who you think has made a real
change in the accessibility testing field. And made a real impact. For the papers part of the program, the titles, authors and affiliations are all
on the online program. The order that is shown is subject to change, just before
the final program is released, just a few days before the
event, I should say. And that’s because one of the papers will be voted
as the best paper. And so that’s going to shuffle around some of the order that’s
on the preliminary program right now. We do allow 40 minutes per presentation,
which is longer than many conferences allow. This gives you more detail, more
time for audience interaction with the presenters. And more of a chance
for the audience to actually browse through the paper, in the printed
proceedings. We actually have an old-school-style print Proceedings of
the entire symposium, of all the peer-reviewed papers. And this is also
available electronically and archived on the symposium website. So there’s two
tracks in each of the two paper sessions. Those paper sessions are, Tuesday
afternoon and Wednesday morning. The first on Tuesday afternoon. Our two
themes are represented by the two tracks, Perfecting Traditional Methods Track (Part 1),
which is a beginner level and up. And Tackling Emerging Interfaces Track,
intermediate level and up. Then on the Wednesday morning, Perfecting
Traditional Methods (Part 2), now that jumps from beginner to intermediate
level, because we had papers that spanned those different levels. But we don’t want
to leave the beginner level of folks out. So we have a track called, Going Beyond,
and that track is really for a few papers that didn’t quite fit into the
the other main themes of the symposium this year. And let’s move on, to the post- conference
bootcamps. Thank you Chris. As the event has grown through the years,
we’ve strived to evolve our content, to align with the trends in the industry and
varying levels of knowledge and experience of the audience. To
accommodate those needs we’re pleased to extend this year’s symposium with Pre-
Conference Workshops on Monday and post Post-Conference Bootcamps, Thursday and
Friday. We’re going to do this little backwards
and I’ll first describe our Post-Conference Bootcamps. Our first
option is Thursday October 3rd, when Chris Law and Pina D’Intino will host a
full-day course focused on, Tools for Assessing Organizational Risk for
Managers of Accessibility Testing Programs. And Chris since you’re here, why
don’t you describe this course, in a bit more detail for us. Sure thing. The
the risk course was developed originally, for the First Annual – Digital
Accessibility Legal Summit, that we held earlier this year. We developed the
course in response to the number of legal actions that are happening out
there. At the time when we developed it, no one had really released and
presented a course, to our knowledge, just on how to measure and apply the science
of risk in their accessibility programs. We do see there’s a lot of people
who have to address risk as part of their programs. But generally from the
people that we talk to, people were just kind of doing the best they could with
the knowledge and skills that they had. We decided that it might be useful to
take research from other fields that have been dealing with risk and risk
management for a long, long time. So fields like safety, petrochemical safety,
the fields of quality control. And then we applied that knowledge to what
we know about accessibility programs, from our consulting with companies.
So in the program, we list what people should expect from this, but the main
outcome is really actionable guidance. So even though it’s a one-day course, we
want people to be able to be up and running. And be able to make a start on
systematically addressing risk in their organizations. So
the main parts are: Understanding and Assessing Risk, Measuring
Accessibility Program Maturity throughout an organization. One
of the hardest things is to take policy and then put that policy into practice.
Easy to write policy, hard to put it into practice. So we covered that, and then
Change Management. Because we’re really talking about risk as it applies
throughout an organization. You can’t deal with accessibility risk within the
accessibility department. It doesn’t work. It has to be throughout, and that’s
why we cover resistance to change. Because we kind of find it’s inevitable.
There’s some resistance. So implementation of risk mitigation plans
throughout your organization. That’s what That’s what the course is really about. Thank you Chris. Our second bootcamp is intended for
a very different audience, The Accessibility Beginner. Gian Wild, from AccessibilityOz ,will lead Accessibility
Testing for Beginners, on Thursday October 3rd and October 4th. This program
provides an intensive introduction to a broad spectrum of issues. It is
appropriate for people who are new to the accessibility testing field. By the
end of the week, participants should know how to test websites and mobile websites
for WCAG compliance. And will benefit from follow-up activities and access to
tools for up to a month after the event. Students who sign up for this bootcamp
will benefit from a full-week of activities, presentations and talks.
Including a Pre-Conference Workshop as well as nightly debriefs with the
Bootcamp instructor and members of the symposium committee. There’s a flyer for
this Bootcamp posted to the website, providing details of all that are
included. It’s only by combining this training with this symposium that we can
offer a complete introduction to the world of accessibility testing for under
$2,000, all-in. I’m now gonna hand it off to Chris, who’s going to talk a little
bit more about our Pre-Conference Workshops. Thanks, our workshops are actually
very popular. About half of the people who attend the symposium, also
choose to add-on a workshop. These will happen on the
Monday, the day before the main event. So the Workshops A, B and C are full-day,
(9:00am to 5:00pm) and Workshops D and E are half-day. So the morning and then
the afternoon respectively. Those two can actually be combined for a discount. So
the first one is workshop A. Introduction to Trusted Tester Methods. This is
presented by the team at New Editions Consulting. They are the main contracting
company working with Department of Homeland Security on the Trusted Tester
5.0 process. So they’ll present some preliminary methodologies, for performing
manual trusted tester processes. This is an intermediate level and up workshop.
Workshop B is assessing and authoring image descriptions for digital
learning products. Anyone who’s worked in the accessibility field for a while
will tell you that it’s easy to add an ALT text to an image; however they’ll
also tell you it’s really quite hard to do it well. So this should be a very
interesting day allowing people to focus on this very important topic.
It’s a beginner level and up there’s no prior experience necessary. This is also
the workshop the attendees of the accessibility testing for beginners bootcamp
will attend. Then we have workshop C, which is mobile
accessibility testing. We know that this one is going to be popular. This will
cover mobile testing of apps as well as mobile testing of mobile websites. It’s
for intermediate level up. It’s actually led by the co-chairs of our mobile
testing subcommittees… so in the last year we developed testing for mobile
subcommittees, in order to produce and develop and then publish free
test processes around mobile. Workshop D is testing
PDFs for accessibility standards and conformance. This morning workshop,
beginner level, is presented by a leading expert in PDF assessment and
remediation. In this you’re going to be exploring, basically, the
struggle to make PDFs accessible and then how to test them for conformance
with accessibility standards. Workshop E in the afternoon is titled
Finding ways to make accessibility resonate with your team: inclusive design
is not rocket science. This is a beginner level course. Anyone who’s
worked in this field long enough knows that you really have to get everybody on
your team on the same page and once you’ve done that life gets a
whole lot easier. This course is really about how to engage with lessons
of methods that have worked, in order to make the message of inclusive design
much easier to digest, in a fun way. So that’s what workshop E is about. OK we’re hitting the homestretch here.
These are some of the most important bits first. You can register
today by visiting www.2019ict.org/register . Remember that
the date for this event has moved up a whole month from last year so it’s
coming up fast. We’ve also coordinated a room block at
the ‘Embassy Suites by Hilton’ Hotel. This is located a mere block and a half from
the venue. The conference room mate is a very reasonable $221, which does include
breakfast. The hotel rate has been extended through Friday September
13th or until sold out… and trust me we always sell out! So please don’t delay to
take advantage to get this rate. The group code is simply ICT and you will
find a link to the hotel in the symposium homepage. And that’s it for me and thank you so
much for joining us. Thanks Matt! Thanks for putting this together, and thanks for
your interest everyone. We look forward to meeting you early October in
Washington DC.

Danny Hutson

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