Wendy Chisholm

Stairs make the building inaccessible, not the wheelchair. Co-author of Universal Design for Web Applications. Strategist for Microsoft. @wendyabc at twitter.

Archive for the ‘presentations’ Category

CSUN 2012 preview: Accessibility is the New Black: Digital Inclusion as the Next Big Thing

without comments

In a world of 30-second super bowl ads and 140-character tweets, how do you catch someone’s attention? When you get it, how do you communicate about something as complex as web accessibility? In this session we’ll talk about the issues we face helping large corporations make their web properties accessible. We’ll talk about tactics that have worked well and strategies that haven’t. This will be an insider’s perspective into corporate culture from two newbies to that culture.

This will not be a discussion of the color black (since we wouldn’t want to convey information in color alone!). This is about messaging web accessibility within a large organization, catching someone’s attention and maintaining it in order to create organizational change.

The title of the session refers to a phrase in the fashion world, “x is the new black,” which Wikipedia describes as “an expression used to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea.” We used this phrase because we wanted to talk about how we can make accessibility more accessible, just as companies like Ikea have made design more affordable. Accessibility  clearly changes the world: smart phones exist because of universal design, yet most people don’t realize smart phones are built on assistive technologies like onscreen keyboards and screen magnification. Our job is to help our organizations embrace innovation and accessibility; to embrace not just a “fad” but a better way to design and build that we believe is timeless…kind of like the color black. We’ll talk about how we’re trying to do it.

Join Elle Waters and me on Friday, 2 March at the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference to join in the discussion.

Written by wendy

February 7th, 2012 at 2:26 pm


without comments

On 12 April 2010 I had the pleasure of presenting the afternoon keynote at MinneWebCon. I was impressed with the community–so vibrant and aware of standards! It was a fun day full of wonderful presentations and conversations. It’s a very special conference, well-organized with high caliber presentations. I highly recommend attending next year!

Here are the artifacts:

Enjoy! I’ve provided the slides in several formats hoping that everyone will be able to use at least one of these. If you run into any issues please let me know.

FYI: the Slides via Easy Slideshare only pull the text from the slides and not all of the alt-text associated with each image.

Written by wendy

May 20th, 2010 at 12:56 am

An Ode to Twitter

with one comment

(I performed this 24 March 2010 at the CSUN tweetup. Captioned video should be available in the future.)

An Ode to Twitter

A non-structured, non-lyrical ode to twitter…

140 characters







1,000s of people (or more?) talking about #accessibility.

# a 1 1 y

Do you say, “ally?”

We’re talking about access.

We’re building inclusion.

We’re connecting.


To express our views.


To change the world.


To connect with others who are


To connect with others who are


To connect with us who are


To be here tonight who are


To hear, see, feel…

PERCEIVE a world where we are all


To be.

To express.

To connect.

What of those who are not on twitter?

Don’t have internet access?

Don’t have access to a computer?

Some are given a voice on twitter, e.g. @invisiblepeople

…but many are not.

So many voices…

How do we harness the power of these 1,000s (more?) of voices into one large trumpet call for change?


Where’s our Ashton Kutcher with millions of followers?

What’s the loudest way for us to challenge assumptions?

The most effective?

Should we stage twitter protests?

How do we become cohesive?

Can we reclaim or repurpose “disability” into an empowering word?

Can we think of twitter like a parade of thoughts that we inject with inclusion?

I want to recruit you.

What if we were “out” about our abilities?

Would it convince designers that people are more able, more varied than they assume?

Would they realize that they have more connections to a variety of abilities?

Our tribe created the innovations that iPhones and Androids rely on:

Onscreen keyboards,

Word prediction,

Screen magnification,

Speech recognition.

What our tribe does today will make tomorrow’s tools more flexible.

Make tomorrow’s tools…possible?

We rock!

Are we moving towards inclusion, one tweet at a time??

Will tweeting make more restaurants accessible to people who use wheelchairs?

Will tweeting encourage more people to add alt-text to images?

Will tweeting cause future technologies to include accessibility features in the alpha release?

Does tweeting raise awareness of accessibility issues with non-aware twitterers?

If not, why not?

This is my ode to twitter.

My ode to the tribe.

My ode to our connections and our innovations.


Written by wendy

March 25th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Inclusive Universe at Ignite Seattle

with 2 comments

The video from my IgniteSeattle presentation is live. Unfortunately, it is not yet captioned or transcribed. I’ll make sure both of these are available soon. Thanks to Randy for the quick turn-around on the captions and to castingwords.com for the transcript!

Written by wendy

February 10th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Posted in presentations

Tagged with , , ,

Minnesota Public Radio

without comments

On 23 September, I spoke with John Moe and Darren Burton about technology and disability on Minnesota Public Radio (transcript not yet available). I really enjoyed our discussion and was happy that we talked about challenging people’s assumptions. If you can, give it a listen. Otherwise, watch my blog for a transcript or link to one.

Written by wendy

October 7th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Book Reading at SXSW

without comments

Matt and I will be reading from Universal Design for Web Applications at SXSW as part of the SXSW Interactive Book Reading Program.

Written by wendy

December 11th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Posted in presentations

Tagged with , , ,

Web 2.0 Expo, SXSW, Scripting Enabled-Seattle

with one comment

Matt and I are speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City on 17 September.  This will be my first work-related travel since June 2005 when the WCAG WG met in Brussels!  It’s hard to believe time has flown by so quickly.  I look forward to seeing familiar faces!

We also submitted a panel to SXSW called, “Inclusive Universe 1.0.”  I would love to get back to Austin and involved in the cutting-edge dialogs that happen there, so please support our session.  Only 4 more days to vote, so do it now! 🙂

I *really* wanted to attend Scripting Enabled in London next month, but won’t be able to. So, I asked Christian if we could continue the work in November here in Seattle.  He agreed, so Adobe (Thanks to Matt), will be hosting Scripting Enabled – Seattle, 1 and 2 November.  We’re looking for sponsors, volunteers, and attendees, so drop me a line if you’re interested.  We’re wrapping up the book in the next few weeks, but should have registration and other relevant bits of information available soon.  In the meantime, book your travel and prepare to have a blast hacking!

Written by wendy

August 25th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Posted in presentations


with one comment

I’ve posted my slides from Tuesday’s presentation on slideshare (inclusive universe). However, the flash that is embedded on the slideshare page is not accessible: the buttons are not labeled and the alt-text has been stripped from the PDF. I’ve sent a comment via their web site. Anyone know someone who works there? I’d love to talk to someone in person.

Therefore, here’s a tagged PDF version (inclusive universe). Is anyone out there screaming at their monitor/speakers/braille display? I tested the PDF with Jaws and everything except page 9 seems to come through all right (see notes below). This is definitely an experiment – my first non-html slide set – so please let me know if you have any trouble accessing the slides. I’m more than happy to provide HTML, but do want to give this one a try.

Here’s the text for slide 9:

This page intentionally left blank to illustrate the view of gmail to someone who is blind or not viewing the screen for some reason. At this point in my presentation, I did a quick demo of mobile speak on an htc shadow reading gmail…trying to further emphasize the importance of challenging your assumptions about your users.

Written by wendy

July 11th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Posted in presentations

Tagged with ,