Angel Harlins is a project management consultant for PEAT, supporting activities such as project management, website content creation and design, social media, and virtual and in-person event planning and implementation.
With Emerging Accessibility Leaders, the Future Looks Bright
The PEAT team was excited to return to this year’s ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium, a relatively new conference that has already expanded in leaps and bounds in its third year. This annual conference on ICT accessibility testing and standards draws accessibility technologists and leaders from government, academia, and industry. This year, the conference themes focused on the refreshed rules for Section 508 conformance, as well as the continual need for good, thorough, and practical test methods for mobile applications.
Keynote speaker Lainey Feingold is a well-known disability rights lawyer focusing on digital access. Feingold gave us some win-win stories about the landmark accessibility agreements she’s reached through “structured negotiations,” a collaborative advocacy and dispute resolution method. Attendees also had a chance to learn about Feingold's career in the legal field and ask questions during an intimate lunch setting.
The symposium was also noteworthy for its focus on giving emerging leaders in web accessibility a place to learn, network with others in the field, and present their own findings.
We were delighted to speak with Brittani S. Washington, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University. Brittani answered our questions below about her experiences at the conference and the study she presented: “Web Accessibility: Where is the Nonprofit Sector?”
Q: How do you feel about presenting at the ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium?
A: Two words: Nervous and excited! Presenting to a room full of those who are deemed experts in their community makes me nervous. However, I'm excited because the conversation needs to be had. The presentation outlines initial insights regarding the current web accessibility status of the nonprofit sector, with aspirations to help bridge the gap between accessibility and technology.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve noticed that nonprofits are facing when it comes to web accessibility?
A: My study exposes the lack of implementation as it relates to main accessibility features. With a better understanding of the order of the severity of the accessibility deficiencies in the nonprofit sector and the proper variables, nonprofit organizations can determine their next steps as it relates to initiating a website refresh or a website redesign.
Q: What’s the top advice you’d give to organizations facing this challenge?
A: Keep accessibility at the forefront before you lose your storefront!
You can read more about Brittani’s work on page 165 of the ICT Accessibility Testing Symposium 2018 program, and by following her on Twitter at @theBriStrategy.