By Yvonne Tevis.
Just a few blocks from Disneyland, the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference – the largest annual accessibility conference in the country – concluded its 34th year last week. Hosted by Cal State Northridge, the conference attracts a global audience of accessibility professionals, vendors, and people with disabilities.
Yes, some people went to Disneyland every night, but during the day, they learned about techniques, strategies, and cultural practices for making the online world accessible. Topics ranged from describing the real-world human needs behind web accessibility guidelines, to teaching user testing for accessibility, to exploring the potential and pitfalls for inclusivity that AI offers.
Attendees also had the chance to try out many, many new assistive devices – everything from a set of finger rings that turns your hand into a keyboard to use anywhere on any surface, to a pair of glasses through which trained agents speak to and help guide blind and low-vision people through the physical environment.
As usual, UC personnel were on the speakers list:
Lucy Greco, web evangelist at UC Berkeley, gave a talk on pragmatic approaches for captioning the legion of videos now being produced and posted to campus websites. She also served on a panel with colleagues from Siteimprove and Microassist about creating e- courses that are accessible and engaging for everyone.
Travis Lee, Disabilities and Computing Program coordinator at UC Los Angeles, gave a presentation about universal design for online education, describing how online learning environments can be designed for people with a wide range of disabilities, as well as people with different learning preferences, from different cultures, and ELL students.
Yvonne Tevis is editor of the UC IT Blog and chief of staff, Information Technology Services, at the UC Office of the President.