AccessU with November Samnee

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November Samnee, a Senior User Experience engineer at Thomson Reuters, won Deque's AccessU scholarship back in early May.  She has been kind enough to recount her experience at AccessU here on the blog.

I had the great pleasure of attending AccessU, held by Knowbility May 15-17, as part of a giveaway by Deque. Having spent a few years flailing about in the deep end of accessibility, I was hoping to get some practical tips to improve my day-to-day work, which was easy to accomplish.

Unfortunately, my first class was cancelled and I ended up in Sharon Rush's "Accessibility 101 for All." Based on my experience, I suspected that the class would not be particularly enlightening for me. I am happy to say this was not the case. I actually took several pieces of information from Sharon's presentation and incorporated them into my own developer introduction to accessibility, including adding to my list of places to send developers for accessibility instruction.A caricature drawing of November Samnee

In WCAG 2.0 - Why Can't We All Just Get Along, Denis Boudreau reminded me why we don't rewrite standards through his explanation of how Quebec's government accessibility standards were authored. (I also learned I've been pronouncing ARIA with a Canadian accent.)

In addition to appreciating Karl Groves' dry wit, I figured out in his "Evaluating Web Accessibility" class that I need a far more regimented approach to my current web site evaluations. His presentation provided sample templates for speeding that process along, as well as a full-fledged demo of Deque's FireEyes. If you have been using FireBug as part of your accessibility evaluation process, FireEyes is a natural fit with your workflow and a powerful tool to evaluate your web pages.

In Designing for Beauty and Accessibility, Marla Erwin gave a few examples of sites that are both beautiful AND accessible, including Veerle's Blog (and a few others that don't seem to be live at the moment.)

My last session was Jayne Schurick's Remote Usability Testing. While I've done a bit of remote testing myself, I've yet to do so for persons with disabilities. Knowbility has a testing portal, AccessWorks, used with Loop11's remote testing platform to easily allow for recruitment of people with disabilities for remote studies.

While Knowbility's AccessU in 2012 seemed to be well-suited to beginning accessibility practitioners, even someone like me - a person with some experience under her belt - could gain enough knowledge and tips to make an immediate impact on her work. Thanks, Deque, for the opportunity to attend!


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