Games and Accessibility

I did two things in the last few days.

  1. Participated in John Slatin AccessU in Austin, TX both as a presenter and as a participant in the some of the excellent classes and sessions offered on accessibility. If you’re self-taught on the topic of accessibility, this event is like getting your Ph.D. in accessibility. I urge you to make an effort to attend some time.
  2. Finished reading Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World. This fascinating book opened my eyes to so many new concepts I could wax on about it for a long time. It has changed the way I look at many things – not just games. Anyone who is interested in modern technology and social change should read this book.

During AccessU, there was no discussion of games. That does not mean that people with disabilities don’t enjoy playing games. Today I opened my Google Reader and saw this article from ATMac: Time-Independent Games. If Jane McGonigal is right about what game design is going to mean to the future of the entire world, then we need to start thinking and talking about how games can be made accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.0. Particularly if a game is meant to have a real effect in the real world, we don’t want to bar the creative thinking that might come from the disabled who might play.

Dreamweaver Accessibility

Matt May & Dennis Lembree in Dreamweaver session at #AccessU

I went to Glenda Sims session at AccessU and ended up sitting by Matt May from Adobe and Dennis Lembree. You’d think with them right next to me, the iPhone camera would have done better, alas.

Glenda gave some great tips for making the most of Dreamweaver’s accessibility features. She also mentioned that WCAG 2.0 doesn’t require <th> cells to have scope=”row” or scope=”col” any longer. Instead, if the table is complex, use ids and headers.

Glenda also said that installing the WebAIM toolbar and the Worldspace plugin into Dreamweaver are two great tools to test for accessibility from within Dreamweaver.

Accessibility and the Law

Lainey Feingold discussing the civil rights aspects of accessibility at #AccessU

Attorney Lainey Feingold was the first speaker of the day at John Slatin AccessU. She talked about how to work cooperatively with companies to bring them into accessibility. In 15 years of helping companies implement accessibility – which she calls a civil right – she’s only had to go to litigation once.

AccessU, Here I Come

I’m trying to get myself organized to participate in AccessU where I’m slated to lead a 3 hour workshop in HTML5 and Accessibility. I’ll be out of pocket a bit, but hope to be able to post a few photos from the event here next week.

You could almost say that everything I’ve learned about accessibility, I owe to Knowbility. I’m happy to be giving back some of that knowledge at events like this.

Get your accessibility on: John Slatin AccessU open for registration

Get on the cutting edge of compliant, universal design and learn accessibility from top experts!

Attendees at AccessU will engage with world renowned accessibility experts to improve design skills and to understand the both the need and the techniques for inclusive IT design. From the basics to the bleeding edge, AccessU will provide the resources you need.

Early bird registration for this Knowbility event is now open.

John Slatin AccessU
May 17, 2011 – May 19, 2011
St. Edward’s University
Austin, TX