More than 120 people came together over two days earlier this month to attend the third A11y Camp, held by the A11y Bytes team in Sydney.
Kicking off the day (and making baked goods a thing for all of us) was Cordelia McGee-Tubb with The Great Accessibility Bake Off. Even people like yours truly, who manages to set off smoke alarms when cooking bacon and eggs on toast (what can I say, it’s a gift) enjoyed this culinary take on accessibility and inclusive design. Whisk in hand and tech jokes a plenty, Cordelia took us through the ingredients you need to make the perfect accessibility cake (HTML, alt attributes, mouse-keyboard parity, and a hint of ARIA for some added spice). There will be video of Cordelia’s keynote to come, but in the meantime her Great Accessibility Bake off slides are available online.
The other morning keynote was David Masters from Microsoft, who spoke on artificial intelligence. Demonstrating tools such as Microsoft Translate (with its potential for auto-captioning), David took attendees through Microsoft’s accessibility journey and the need to go above and beyond accessibility compliance. David also won best shirt of the day with this effort!
We then went into the concurrent session part of the day, where we had 18 presentations in four hours. With a split tech/non-tech stream for the first time, attendees were able to choose the sessions that were most relevant to them (and they were able to get the best out of). Highlights from the sessions included Ben Buchanan on how to sneak accessibility into your development (or better yet, have it in there from the start), Lily Ainsworth providing some much needed food for thought on making sure processes are as inclusive and as accessible as possible (from refugees through to transgender people), and our own Sarah Pulis and Adem Cifcioglu who gave a bit of insight as to what it’s like to work at Intopia with an ARIA and custom component showdown (hint: there’s popcorn aplenty).
Other concurrent presentations that proved to be crowd favourites were Media Access Australia’s Sarah Christopher who took attendees through the Social Model of Disability and the need to design with passion, and Andrew Arch who gave an update on the progress of WCAG 2.1 (an impressive turnaround given changes had been publicly released just hours before!).
The final session kicked off with a brilliant talk from Jessica Irwin from Psykinetic, who shared her personal story and many fantastic tales such as playing an instrument with an orchestra with just her eyes. I strongly urge you to check out this video of Jess with the Australia Piano Quartet (APQ), it is certainly worth seeing. The day wrapped up with a panel which included Cordelia McGee-Tubb, Tim Noonan and Stewart Hay, who provided unique insights from their own industries and learnings.
We also had two outstanding workshops delivered the day following camp, with Cordelia McGee-Tubb taking attendees through universal design for the web, and Russ Weakley providing an introduction to ARIA and Accessibility.
If you missed out on coming along to A11y Camp, or want to relive the day, check out the #a11ycampsyd tweet stream. Sessions from the day were also filmed – if you subscribe to the A11y Bytes newsletter, you’ll be notified when they’re available.
We’re proud to be a patron sponsor of A11y Camp, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event. See you in 2018, A11y Camp!