Christian Heilmann

The passion accessibility presentations need

Monday, October 14th, 2013 at 12:51 am

I am lucky that in my job I manage to come across amazing people all the time. In some cases it takes a while for them to come out of their shell and show what they can do. One of those is my friend Luz Rello ( from Barcelona. Here she is next to me with my friends Javier Usobiaga and Marta Armada when we met in Barcelona (and she asked me a few things about presenting on stage, which I happily shared):

Luz, Javier, Marta and Chris

Why is Luz amazing? Well, many things. For starters, she is an accessibility researcher with dyslexia. And she just delivered an amazing talk about “New solutions for dyslexia” at TEDxMadrid:

Now, I don’t speak Spanish, but seeing how Luz delivers a talk full of passion, movement and speed makes me not doubt at all that this will be soon translated in subtitles by TED and accessibility enthusiasts. And this makes me happy and this makes me hopeful for accessibility to get out of its niche in technology, education and digital literacy and become what it should be: a litmus test for content. If what you publish is easy to understand, structured and clear you will reach many, many people. In far too many cases what the final product looks like dictates how it is built, and that needs to change.

This is the kind of passion I want to see from accessibility advocates, these are the voices we need. Not another library to add ARIA to badly thought-out HTML, not another course that teaches web accessibility as pleasing screenreaders or text-to-voice tools. We need people who stand up and be passionate and bring information that matters and is up-to-date. Not guidelines from long ago that forgot that technology moves on. People like Luz, and people like you, if you are up for the challenge.

I have no doubt at all that Luz will move a lot in this space, and guess what? She does like to move it (from her Madagascar trip).

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