Environments for Humans
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Accessibility Summit 2014 logo

The 5th annual online, live accessibility conference

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Environments for Humans brings together some of the Web's most notable experts in and for an all-new, two-day online conference, the Accessibility Summit 2014! Bring the experts to your desktop September 9-10, 2014 from 9AM to 4PM (CT).

Don't miss this great event and purchase your tickets now!

Day 1 Track \\ Sep 9, 2014 \\ 9AM to 4PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Elle Waters headshot

Accessibility for UX 9am CT

by Elle Waters, Web Accessibility Evangelist at Simply Accessible

Create an easy-to-use experience that delights your user and reinforces the value of your business? Got it. Make all your designs adaptive to prepare for any and all devices that may be thrown your way? Check! Get leaner, more personalized, localized, and don’t forget to account for seniors, and low-literacy users? Well, okay. Oh, also, have you considered people with disabilities? Wait… what?

When we think about all that goes into mastering good design principles, it’s no wonder that tackling accessibility can appear like a daunting, unrealistic burden. How can we consider all of these highly technical needs when we don’t even know how people with disabilities even use the web? And, what about mobile? Or the Internet of Things? Time to give up?!

In this session, Elle will lead you on a somewhat tremulous journey through the wilderness of WCAG, deep into the mire of assistive technologies. But, stay the course! Before you know it, you’ll feel the firm ground of a grid layout beneath you once again. And, after this experience, you’ll be equipped to incorporate accessibility into each step of the design process with four simple but powerful techniques. Ready? Let’s go!

About Elle Waters

In the daylight hours, Elle Waters works as a web accessibility evangelist at Humana, a Fortune 100 company and leader in the health and wellness industry.

She focuses on accessibility implementation strategies in design, development, and process teams across the enterprise.

When the sun sets, she participates as a member of the Accessibility Camp movement. Deeply committed to providing a universally accessible experience for all users wherever she can have the most impact, she believes that there is no greater reward than if a website acts as a doorway where there was once a wall.

She has worked within the fields of social justice and web content for over 15 years to promote equality on the web. When not looking to start a revolution, Elle enjoys virtual worlds, zombie lore, and video games.

Becky Gibson headshot

HTML5 Accessibility 10am CT

by Becky Gibson, Sr. Technical Staff Member in IBM's Emerging Internet Technologies Group

Learn about the new features in HTML5 that support accessibility. We will use the new semantic elements and ARIA landmarks in HTML5 to update a simple newsletter for better accessibility. We will also look at the new form elements that improve usability and accessibility. There will be code and demos!

About Becky Gibson

Becky Gibson is a Senior Technical Staff Member in IBM's Emerging Internet Technologies Group with over twenty years of development experience in languages ranging from PC assembly, C, C++, Java, Objective-C and Web technologies. She is currently working with Readium.org helping to build accessible, open source EPUB readers. In addition she helps to evaluate accessibility for IBM acquisitions. Becky has worked on other open source projects including Apache Cordova/PhoneGap and the Dojo Javascript Toolkit. As the Accessibility Lead for the Dojo toolkit, Becky was responsible for leading the effort to implement full accessibility in the core UI widget set. She participated in the development of the W3C WAI-ARIA (Accessibile Rich Internet Applications) specification and was an contributor in the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group for several years.

Becky lives in Massachusetts with her two "Abby Normal" cats and enjoys photography and figure skating. She notes that figure skating is probably not the smartest hobby to take up in your forties!

Denis Boudreau headshot

PDF Accessibility 11am CT

by Denis Boudreau, Sr. Web Accessibility Consultant at Deque

We've all been there! Faced with hundreds, thousands or sometimes even millions of PDF documents in our organization, how can we efficiently measure how these documents fare in terms of WCAG 2.0 compliance? How can we tell if they meet accessibility requirements or not, and if they are really accessible to screen reader users?

When the accessibility of PDF documents is so bad, and crying out loud that they suck just won't cut it, being able to measure basic PDF accessibility features might be exactly what people need to figure out the full extent of the problem.

In this presentation, we will see how much ground can be covered by combining the powers of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, a customized checklist, and some automated checking tools to determine the basic levels of accessibility of most PDF documents:

  • The ability to test basic accessibility features in PDF content
  • The ability to build a personal checklist for PDF testing
  • The knowledge to rely on a series of tools to help you do the work

About Denis Boudreau

Denis is a senior Web Accessibility consultant working for Deque Systems and an invited expert of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in various working groups, including Education and Outreach (EOWG) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). He has been advocating social inclusion on the Web since 2001 and has been running the annual a11yMTL conference in Montreal, Canada since 2010. He actively tweets about Web accessibility and digital inclusion at @dboudreau.

Sharron Rush headshot

Using Free & Low Cost Accessibility Tools 1pm CT

by Sharron Rush, Executive Director of Knowbility

Let’s take a closer look at some of the free tools available from the W3C and other communities of practice.

Learn to use Easy Checks, the Before and After Demo (BAD), and the new Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) online tutorials to develop your inner accessibility guru.

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • What Easy Checks can (and can’t do)
  • Using BAD for teaching and learning
  • WAI Tutorials
  • Remote usability testing

About Sharron Rush

Sharron Rush is the co-founder and Executive Director of Knowbility, a leading authority on web accessibility since 1998. Ms. Rush developed Knowbility programs to raise web accessibility awareness and skills and has led the organization to national prominence.

Since 2007, she has served as an invited expert to the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the W3C. In 2009, she began as liaison from WAI to the e-Government Interest Group developing standards and best practices for using the Web to improve government accountability and transparency.

Ms. Rush has led Knowbility to recognition by the Clinton White House and the US Department of Labor for excellence in employment practices for people with disabilities. She has been invited twice to the West Wing to confer with Kareem Dale, President Obama?s Special Advisor on Disability Issues.

In 2000 she was named Community Tech Champion by the Congressional Black Caucus. Under her leadership Knowbility received a Peter F. Drucker Foundation award for Innovation in the service of people with disabilities. Ms. Rush is a ComputerWorld Laureate and an advisor to the SXSW Interactive Media Conference. In 2001, she was named one of the Top 25 Women of the Web.

In addition, Ms. Rush was instrumental in developing the ATSTAR online teachers? resource project in collaboration with the Austin Independent School District Special Education Department. In 2002, she received the Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service through Interactive Media. Ms. Rush has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is co-author, with Dr. John Slatin, of Maximum Accessibility a definitive web accessibility resource.

Patrick Fox headshot

Modern Accessibility for Modern Web Apps 2pm CT

by Patrick Fox, Front-end web architect at Razorfish

Building modern, accessible web applications is difficult. This talk goes beyond the foundational aspects of accessibility to discuss higher-level concepts of modern accessibility (focus management, speaking for the content and UI), and then dives into the implementation details of crafting accessible modern web features, including:

  • Modals and tooltips
  • Form validation
  • Tabpanels
  • Single-page/JS-MVC architectures

About Patrick Fox

Patrick Fox is a an Austin-based creative technologist and front-end technology director at Razorfish. With over 16 years of design and development experience in the web industry, he has worked with and architected web solutions for dozens of Fortune 500 and government clients.

Universal design and web accessibility are a passion for Patrick, and he strives to make the web a better, more inclusive place through his work and leadership.

Shawn Lauriat headshot

Accessibility Challenges in Complex Web Applications 3pm CT

by Shawn Lauriat, Software Engineer at Google

Dive into the cloud! Join Googler Shawn Lauriat for a in-depth run through of what you need to know in order to make and keep complex web applications accessible.

You'll learn valuable skills, ranging from simple techniques like "that needs alt text" to more advanced concepts focusing on standards and new technologies.

Leveraging JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and other client-side tools, Shawn draws on his experiences from the continuing journey in making Google Docs accessible. Master how to apply coding best practices and usability principles to the Rich Internet Application world, and your apps will never be the same.

About Shawn Lauriat

Shawn works as a software engineer focusing on accessibility of Google Docs. He joined Google in 2011 as an engineer on the Documents team. In 1999 he dropped out of high school, in 2000 started working in the web development world, and in 2002 started working in the web accessibility world. He published a book in 2008 called Advanced Ajax: Architectures and Best Practices, based on his experience in creating rich Internet applications.


Day 2 Track \\ Sep 10, 2014 \\ 9AM to 5PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)


iOS vs. Android Accessibility 9am CT

by Paul Adam, Accessibility Evangelist at Deque

While Google has done a great job improving Android's Accessibility API, it's still not nearly as robust as Apple's iOS Accessibility API.

See a comparison of Web Accessibility and WAI-ARIA support in Android and iOS. Learn what ARIA features work in one, both, or neither of these mobile platforms.

Learn what's possible with accessibility development for Native Android & iOS Apps. It’s iOS 7 vs. Android 4.4 KitKat in their never ending race towards ultimate accessibility champion!

About Paul Adam

Paul J. Adam is an Accessibility Evangelist at Deque Systems, Inc. by day and spends his spare time creating websites or learning iOS development.

He's worked as an Accessibility Specialist at the Texas Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services (DARS), a web designer for UT-Permian Basin and A&M-Central Texas, and has trained students, faculty, and staff in a wide variety of IT & Accessibility subjects.

Paul is also an Apple Nerd who got hooked after using the first accessible iPhone.


iOS Accessibility: More than Just VoiceOver for the Blind 10am CT

by Luis Perez, Inclusive Learning Evangelist

Devices running Apple's iOS software, such as the iPhone and the iPad, include a a powerful screen reader for the blind called VoiceOver. VoiceOver was the first gesture-based screen reader available on mobile devices and it made iOS devices popular in the blind community.

However, VoiceOver is only one of the many accessibility features built into iOS, which also includes supports for those with hearing, motor and learning challenges. These built-in features facilitate access to information and independence for individuals of all ages and levels of ability, and include screen magnification (Zoom) for those with low vision, switch access (Switch Control) for those with motor difficulties and support for closed captions for those with hearing loss, and text to speech (Speak Selection) for those with learning difficulties.

This session will begin with an overview of the accessibility toolkit available in iOS, to be followed by advanced tips for configuring and using these features for optimal access and ease of use. A number of apps for extending the capabilities of the built-in accessibility features will also be discussed.

Finally, the presenter will demonstrate how he uses the accessibility features to enable his photography.

Take Aways:

  • After attending this session, participants will be able to:
  • Locate the Accessibility preferences on their iOS devices.
  • Set up the Accessibility Shortcut for quick access to accessibility features
  • Customize VoiceOver, Switch Control, Speak Selection and Subtitles and Captions for different users
  • Identify a number of apps that extend the capabilities of the built-in accessibility features of iOS
  • Access a number of online resources for continuing their learning about iOS accessibility

About Luis Perez

Information coming soon. ×

ARIA Gone Even Wilder 11am CT

by Jared Smith, Accessibility Trainer for WebAIM

This session will explore the current state of ARIA adoption with a focus on the common misuse, abuse, and overuse of ARIA. Wild real-world examples will demonstrate how easily ARIA can improve web application accessibility if done correctly, and how quickly it can ruin accessibility if done incorrectly.

About Jared Smith

Jared Smith, M.S., is Director of Education Initiatives and an instructional designer, Web developer, and accessibility trainer for WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind), a project at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. He specializes in training Web developers, IT professionals, and educators in Web accessibility principles and techniques. He has developed accessible course content, Web multimedia, distance education tools, and database-driven Web sites.

Besides providing accessibility training as part of the WebAIM team, he also teaches courses in Macromedia Flash and multimedia development in the Instructional Technology Dept. at Utah State University. He has written a broad range of documents, tutorials, articles, and other materials, many of which are featured on the WebAIM site.


Developing a Web Accessible Modal Dialog 12pm CT

by Dennis Lembree, Sr. Web Developer of Accessibility at PayPal

Modal dialogs are as popular as ever on the Web, but implementing an accessible modal dialog continues to be challenging for all, especially for developers.

In this session, methods to create an accessible modal dialog are covered including nuances in code and behavior of assistive technology.

Keyboard interaction patterns and coding techniques are discussed in detail.

A glimpse of the future in modal development, the modal element, is also presented.

About Dennis Lembree

Dennis Lembree is a web site professional and code expert who specializes in web standards, accessibility, and usability.


Writing Great Alt Text 2pm CT

by Whitney Quesenbery, User Research Expert

One of the simplest ways to make information more accessible is to add alternative text (alt text for short). It's brief descriptions of images for users who can't see them.

But what to write?

This is a deep dive into writing alt text that is usable and useful.

You'll learn:

  • How to decide what information to put in the alt text
  • Patterns for common problems
  • What to do when there's a lot of text in an image
  • When an image doesn't need alt text at all
  • And a few things you should never put in alt text.

About Whitney Quesenbery

Whitney Quesenbery is a user experience researcher and usability expert with a passion for clear communication. Her projects include work for the National Cancer Institute (US), The Open University (UK) and IEEE (worldwide).

She enjoys learning about people and using those insights to products where people matter.

She's served on two federal advisory committees, writing standards for accessibility (Section 508) and voting systems. Having taken the bite, she's involved in projects across the country to improve elections and civic design.

Whitney is the author of two books: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting stories for better design (with Kevin Brooks, Rosenfeld Media, 2010) and Global UX: Design and research in a connected world (with Daniel Szuc, Morgan-Kauffman, 2011).

She?s also proud that her chapter ?Dimensions of Usability? in Content and Complexity turns up on so many course reading lists. Her current project is a book on designing for accessibility and universal design with Sarah Horton (for Rosenfeld Media).


Falling in Love with Forms 3pm CT

by Aaron Gustafson, Web Design Author, Evangelist, Practitioner, and Teacher

Forms. Without them, the web would not be what it is today, but they are challenging from a markup and styling standpoint.

In this session, we will explore forms from top to bottom, examining how they work and how their components can be incorporated with other elements to maximize accessibility, improve semantics, and allow for more flexible styling.

You'll get to see the complete picture with forms, including:

  • new HTML5 field types;
  • validation, error messages & formatting hints;
  • how to mark up and style forms for the greatest flexibility in responsive designs; and
  • best practices for enhancing forms with JavaScript.

About Aaron Gustafson

I am the founder and technical lead of Easy Designs, a web development consultancy focused on helping businesses elegantly tackle the challenges of presented by all these crazy screens you see everywhere.

I am an Invited Expert to the World Wide Web Consortium?s Responsive Images Community Group, a Rosenfeld Media Expert specializing in front-end web design technologies and techniques, the Founder and Publisher of Web Standards Sherpa, and the Founder of the Chattanooga Open Device Lab. I also co-founded the event series Code & Creativity and Retreats 4 Geeks. I?m also a former Manager of the Web Standards Project (WaSP).

I wrote the web design book Jeffrey Zeldman calls a ?modern classic?: Adaptive Web Design. I?ve contributed to a few other books, have written a ton of articles, and helped shape dozens more during my tenure as Tech Editor for the esteemed magazine A List Apart.

I live and work in beautiful Chattanooga, TN with my lovely and talented partner Kelly McCarthy.


Consistency in Expert Manual Accessibility Testing 4pm CT

by Glenda Sims, Senior Accessibility Consultant at Deque

If 10 accessibility expert tested the same web page for WCAG 2.0 AA compliance, would they find and report the same issues?

Would any 2 of the 10 experts have results similar to each other?

Let's admit it, accessibility testing is a lot like being a detective and reaching agreement on interpretation of WCAG among experts can be a challenge.

Learn how Deque's team of accessibility experts has created a methodology that increases the consistency of our testing results while simultaneously acknowledging that our craft is analytical and deies simple decision trees.

About Glenda Sims

Glenda Sims is senior accessibility consultant at Deque sharing her expertise and passion for the open web with government, education and companies that range from small business to Fortune 500.

Glenda is an advisor and co-founder of AIR-University (Accessibility Internet Rally) and AccessU. She serves as an accessibility consultant, judge and trainer for Knowbility, whose mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessibility information technology ? barrier free IT.

She spent over a decade as a Web Analyst at the University of Texas at Austin. As a member of Team Web, Glenda helped support the central web site for the University. She was an accessibility expert and web standards evangelist at UT along with her mentor and hero Dr. John Slatin.

She recently co-authored the book InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to Web Design. She gives back to the web by volunteering on the Web Standards InterAct Project and the W3C Open Web Education Alliance.


speakers from:

many fine organizations and companies

About the Accessibility Summit 2014

Our popular Accessibility Summit expands to two days in its fifth year! With flexible content delivery and adaptable applications, the truly Accessible Web is available to everyone all the time, regardless of ability. Spend some time with the Accessibility experts and find the inspiration and practical knowledge you need to make your Web presence truly universal.

Why attend the online conference?
  • Attending a conference online means no travel hassle!
  • Bring the experts live to your desktop!
  • Time spent on the road is better spent instead in the office or with family, friends!
  • Sessions are developed to dive deeper into the material!
  • Ask questions directly to the speakers!
  • Can't make it the day of the conference? Watch the recordings whenever you want!
Testimonials from
This conference was a load of fun. I loved the instant feedback from the speakers and the atmosphere.

John-David Dalton
Web Application Developer
& Web Performance Summit Attendee

I love these online conferences. It's convenient and you can still learn a lot from the comfort of your home or at work.

Candi Ligutan
5by5.tv Producer

An absolutely fantastic event. Well done—will definitely be back for more!

Russ Weakley
Chair of Web Standards Group
& CSS Summit Attendee

I can honestly say I've learned more attending E4H's virtual summits than I've learned attending real life conferences.

Glenda Sims
Senior Accessibility Consultant at Deque Systems, Inc
& Accessibility Summit Attendee

Satisfaction Guaranteed 100%

Buy Tickets


Once you are registered, you will receive a follow-up email to confirm your reservation. Later on, as the event draws near, you will receive a more detailed message, with the full schedule and other helpful information to help you take full advantage of your conference-going experience and plan your day.

On the day of the conference, you will receive an email invitation about 45 minutes before everything starts. Click on the enclosed link to sign in and enter the virtual meeting space. Once you are signed in, you'll be able to see and hear the presentations as they happen, ask questions as needed and chat with the other attendees if you like!

Technical Specifications: to attend The Summit, you will need a modern web browser and a recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Follow this link to run our system diagnostic (opens in a new window). It will let you know right away which plug-ins, if any, you will need to update before the event.

Still have questions? Drop us a line or contact us at e4h@heatvision.com if there's anything else you'd like to know.