Last month, AustinGO sent team member Jaycie Wiechman to the John Slatin AccessU, a conference revolving around making online business communication efforts more accessible.
The team member attended a number of valuable sessions and significantly broadened her understanding of this important topic. Below are some notes and an overview of what the staffer learned.
If you’re interested in learning more about AustinGO’s commitment to accessibility, check out our last post on this blog.
Writing in Plain Language
In this session, I learned why writing for the web well not only increases the accessibility of a website for people with disabilities, but increases its readability to all website users overall. Writing excellent web content allows readers to find the information they need quicker and easier. The session went into detail about specific ways to improve content, down to the best justification of text, the optimum character width of text blocs and the optimum font size for readability.
Rebirth of Slick: Why Design is Cool and Why It Will Make People Love Your Company
The leader of this session demonstrated that good design - which improves site accessibility for all users - starts with why. If your design inherently explains why your company does what it does, you will have far more success than if you only show what your company does. In the session teacher’s words, “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”
Establishing a Corporate Accessibility Initiative
The leaders of this session detailed the steps they took to integrate a corporate accessibility initiative into their company’s website. Since their company is a very large organization, they provided detailed examples of the steps they took to integrate accessibility into all of their processes. Now, accessibility is considered throughout the design process for new projects.
Intro to Document Accessibility
On the second day of the conference, I attended a workshop on creating accessible documents. We practiced making accessible Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) as well as creating accessible PDF documents.
The Many Voices of Audio Description
In my final session, I learned how to create meaningful audio descriptions for videos. These descriptions help those with visual impairments and are applicable in a variety of scenarios. Audio descriptions are used to describe action between dialogue of plays and movies; to explain how a piece of art looks; or even to describe a website’s navigation.
Improving AustinTexas.Gov Accessibility
I am very glad I could attend this conference. I sincerely believe my sessions there gave me a lot of ideas about how we can improve the accessibility of AustinTexas.Gov. I hope to start implementing these ideas and sharing them with the department liaisons who create content on the website.