On November 2 at the Waterloo Region Museum, more than 100 representatives from public sector organizations came together to learn about what the public expects when it comes to digital accessibility.
OpenWeb is an accessibility conference designed to support public sector organizations as they work to meet the regulations of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
From understanding legislation and creating accessible PDF documents, to learning why accessibility matters from municipal and personal perspectives, this one-day conference will help you and your team meet the fast-approaching compliancy deadlines. Attendees will leave the conference with a better understanding of what their communities expect from their organizations when it comes to accessible, inclusive and barrier-free goods and services.
OpenWeb 2016 attendees learned about:
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OpenWeb 2016 Agenda
11:50 a.m. (attendees in same room as first session, presenters will switch)
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Did you know that in order to meet AODA regulations and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) organizations are required to make their websites and attachments, including PDF documents, accessible?
OpenWeb 2016 included two information sessions designed to address public expectations related to digital accessibility.
Web Accessibility Information Session: Led by accessibility expert Logan Trafford and design expert Kevin Gray, attendees learned about creating accessible and inclusive web environments, including responsive web design and mobile accessibility. Logan and Kevin also discussed expectations of the public when it comes to accessible online services, such as eCommerce and ePayments tools.
Documents Accessibility Information Session: eSolutions technical training expert, Heath Hutchings led attendees through some basic skills for creating basic accessible documents, including fillable forms, PDF documents and invoices, and discussed how to meet the expectations of your community when it comes to accessible documents.
The following accessibility and technical experts generously donated their time and expertise to help public sector organizations understand public expectations.
Edward Faruzel is the Executive Director of KW AccessAbility, a non-profit information and resource centre that provides services to people with physical disabilities. Before becoming Executive Director, Edward spent many years volunteering with the agency, as well as running a consulting company, advocating for the rights of people with disabilities across southern Ontario. He is a University of Waterloo graduate, where he received an Honours B.A. in Economics and Management. Edward uses a power wheelchair in his day-to-day life. His lived experiences provide him with unique insight into the challenges many people with physical disabilities face.
Ronald B. Fleming, B.A., B.Ed., M.A., F.R.S.A., is the Manager of the PHIRST LINK Accessible Computers & Information Technology Programme of KW AccessAbility, which provides the first link in an accessible chain of services for adults with physical disabilities. Ronald brings a strong academic and professional background to the organization, including graduate and post-graduate studies at the University of Waterloo and University of Western Ontario; work with diverse employers such as Conestoga College, the Ministry of Education, and the Ontario Lottery Corporation; and experience in the fields of Teaching, Computers, Critical Thinking, and Technical Writing. He was also received as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and is a member of numerous fraternal and philanthropic organizations.
Kevin Gray is a Web and Mobile Designer and Developer at eSolutionsGroup. Fluent in user experience design (UX), as well as visual design and front-end development, Kevin has been an integral part of a wide variety of public sector web projects. He continues to share his UX and mobile design expertise through speaking opportunities and one-on-one client consultations.
Rob Harvie is founding director of Inclusive Media and Design, a Toronto-based company that provides web accessibility audit and remediation, and AODA Information and Communication consulting and training. With a background in cognitive science and interface design, Rob brings a rich background to various digital accessibility initiatives and advisory groups. While at the University of Toronto for more than 10 years, he directed IT for the Faculty of Information, and has lectured on digital inclusion, human-computer interaction and emerging technologies, including augmented and virtual reality and multi-sensory interfaces.
Heathcliffe Hutchings is eSolutionsGroup's primary Technical Trainer and Training Developer. Having personally dealt with the challenges of having a learning disability, Heath brings a unique perspective to his training sessions on website and document accessibility. In addition to training public sector clients across the country, Heath has also presented at a number of conferences and professional events organized by industry associations, such as MISA, AMCTO and OSUM. He's also a member of the MISA AODA Subcommittee.
Charles Silverman is an adjunct professor at Ryerson University's School of Disability Studies and Academic Coordinator for the Accessibility Practices Certificate. In the 1990s, Charles worked with the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) in Boston, known for creating the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework that has been widely embraced by educational organizations. As an inclusive designer, teacher, and user with a severe to profound hearing loss, Charles is a strong advocate of accessible media, smart devices, and making the world a fully inclusive place. He shares his knowledge and experience by presenting on accessibility issues at a number of international and local conferences, including CSUN, Closing the Gap, Computers Helping People With Special Needs, the SMC/IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, University of Guelph Accessibility Conference, and Innoversity.
Michelle Teichman is Web Content Strategist at eSolutionsGroup. She plans, drafts and edits content for website projects and facilitates discussions to produce effective website navigation plans (sitemaps). Specializing in effective web writing and intuitive sitemapping, Michelle travels across the country conducting Writing for the Web training sessions and Sitemapping focus groups, providing clients with the tools they need to produce content that is both accessible and engaging. Michelle holds an Honours Double Major degree in English and Creative Writing from the most coveted creative writing program in Canada, and has fifteen years of technical, professional and creative writing experience.
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