After last years successful Accessibility Camp DC event I wanted to keep the momentum going and decided to have a monthly accessibility meet-up. I first talked with Patrick and a few others about having a monthly meeting if we got enough interest while at the big event in October.
The monthly accessibility meet-ups in Washington, DC, take place every third Tuesday of the month to try and further the knowledge in the area of accessibility. The events are held at the Martin Luther King Library at 901 G St. NW, beginning at 6:30 PM and ending at 8:30 PM. Further information can be found at the Accessibility DC website.
Ideas of what it should be
Everyone liked the idea and we have now had three meetings starting in November, 2009. The first meeting was mostly to see what the other people had in mind for what the meetings should be and what I had been thinking about for a good amount of time.
What I had in mind was a place for designers and developers to learn from each other, along with getting input, advice, and first hand information from those that might use adaptive technology to view websites on a regular basis. So the long and the short of it was to be a place for people to learn from each other and make new friends. That seemed to be what everyone for the most part thought it should be as well. The audience for the events seems to be about a third designer and developers, another third business professionals that use assistive technology to work, and the rest are those that use assistive technology for everyday life.
November 17, 2009
The first meeting went well with everyone introducing themselves so we all got an idea who was at the event and what they did. After that was done, we had Eric Wright (@ewaccess) do a short demo of Dragon Naturally speaking, which was on how to set it up, along with demoing a few of the basic commands, functions, and showing it’s abilities.
December 15, 2009
The next meeting is when I presented my “Is Your Website Accessible? If Not Practical Ways to Make Them So.” talk, which I have done a bunch of times at other events. The really cool thing that happened before this meeting got going was that about a dozen different students with visual and others disabilities stopped in to talk with us. We talked about what we did and what they wanted to do when they grew up. There were a few very interesting sets of mini talks and questions asked by the students and people who attended.
January 19, 2010
Just the other day Leslie Bobbitt (@Dreamweaver78) did a wonderful talk and demo on JAWS. She talked about what the product was, how you can use it to do many things on a computer from WORD, browse the internet, and a lot more. She talked about Freedom Scientific’s Surf’s Up tutorials, along with going over different pages examples that I created. There were two types of pages those that were less accessible and then pages that were much more accessible. Here is the link to the accessible test pages.
The next big obstacle is trying to get more people to come and learn from each other. We are currently getting about 15 – 20 people per meeting. I would like to add some more people to get us closer to about 35 – 40 or thereabouts. If we get anymore we will not have enough room in the space we are using now.
Now comes the fun part were we are looking for talk ideas, along with people to do those talks. So if you have ideas for talks or want to present an idea now is your time to speak up by adding your ideas to the comments below.