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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media


Strong Show of Accessibility Hands: AMI's Fourth Year at the CSUN Conference

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The 30th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) in San Diego, California that took place March 2-7, has now concluded. Congratulations should be extended to Sandy Plotin and her team at the Centre for Disabilities at California State University Northridge (@CSUNCOD) for executing a highly successful and vibrant conference this year. 

The Exhibit Hall

Image: The exhibit hall at CSUN 2015, San Diego, California. Photo by author. 

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) (@a11ymedia) returned to the conference this year for our fourth consecutive year, speaking on three topics and hosting our annual reception. Our topics this year included Live Description Best Practices, the accessibility of On-Air TV Graphics Best Practices and the AMI-player, our accessible media player. At our reception, we hosted our largest group ever of attendees and had the opportunity to connect with fellow Canadian delegates, as well as others, to discuss our focus on media accessibility and to catch up with everyone on the activities of the previous year.

With pre-conference workshops on Monday and Tuesday, including one on  #End2Enda11y hosted by the Paciello Group (@paciellogroup) and document accessibility by Karen McCall (@KarlenInfo) the conference began with a vibrant keynote delivered by (@mickteg) from (@notimposs) on Tuesday evening. Then as the conference began on Wednesday morning and continued through until Friday, several important events were the highlight of conference. These included CSUN marking the 30th anniversary with a special comedy and music evening; popular sessions on Cognitive Accessibility (@JamieKnight), the 2015 legal update (@LFLegal), the US Access Board hearings, and the usual number of technical sessions focused on topics such as ARIA and a variety of assistive technologies. Some other tracks highlighted the Knowbility Awards (@Knowbility), Deque (@dequesystems) awarding the Amaze Grant to NVDA (@NVAccess) and the IAAP entering its second year (@IAAPorg).

David Errington, President of AMI

Image: David Errington, President of AMI at the company's reception at CSUN 2015. 

Two prevalent themes arose during the conference, as captured on Twitter.

(@feather): Your accountability for accessibility has to be centred on people/users first rather than to the "web accessibility representative".

(@dennisl): Emerging theme of #CSUN15 - build accessibility into the process

Debates and practices around accessibility has come a long way and there's an understanding that accessibility is not something out of the ordinary or something that can be considered as a one-off or a separate project onto itself. It simply must become the process and the process in turn must accommodate for and meet the needs of the widest possible audience

People and processes are primary areas where accessibility will gain traction. This will also lead to a business advantage, simply because companies and professionals working within the accessibility departments of these companies will be a cut above their competition who may not have come to the same realization about the business case for accessibility.

Another thing I noticed at the conference was the noticeably increased discussion of accessible media players. As an effective summary presentation, Henny Swan (@iheni) gave an excellent overview of media players in Secret Life of an Accessible Media Player. In addition to AMI’s accessible media player, there was discussion on other digital players, and in addition, we demonstrated the new Comcast accessible set-top box features in the Exhibit Hall. As mentioned in my post from earlier this year, Predictions for Media Accessibility in 2015, one of our focus areas in the coming year is going to be on the accessibility of the user interface with reference to television programming. This includes the box as well as the remote, one of which Comcast is about to introduce with a built-in microphone for voice navigation. 

While there were many overlapping sessions and concerns over the size and availability of rooms at the conference, the event remains the pre-eminent gathering focused on technology and accessibility anywhere in the world. Along with sessions, a lot of business networking also takes place, including for the first time this year, an #a11ywedding!


Related Resources

Blog: The Disability Economy - The Contributions of Persons with Disabilities to the Workforce | Read Robert Pearson's Post.

Publication: Developing e-Accessibility as a Professional Skill | Download Report.