Lessons We’ve Learned From Past ACCESS Speakers

August 3, 2018 BY SOFIA ENAMORADO
Updated: August 6, 2018

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We are headed to Washington DC on October 2nd for ACCESS DC.

At ACCESS, we dive deep into everything you need to know about video accessibility.

Every year, we visit a new city and bring together accessibility professionals and advocates to discuss how they are tackling video accessibility.

In the past, we’ve hosted in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and now Washington DC (grab your ticket now)!

Today, we are taking a look back at key accessibility lessons we’ve learned from our past speakers.

Jared Smith, Associate Director at WebAIM

A product is never 100% accessible. Accessibility is a continuum.

See, technology is ever evolving, which means that accessibility is also ever evolving.

In his presentation, Jared shared an example about bus ramps. Before bus ramps were created, people thought that it was unnecessary because people in wheelchairs didn’t use the bus. Well, this was because they couldn’t. Once bus ramps were added, the bus became more accessible for people in wheelchairs.

Jared Smith spoke at ACCESS Boston, our first ACCESS event – back when it was called 3Play on Campus! Watch his full presentation, WebAIM: Implementing and Evaluating Web Accessibility.

ACCESS Los Angeles: Brian Macken, Manager of Title Operations at Netflix

Getting buy-in for accessibility initiatives is often a big struggle for organizations. In fact, the number one barrier to captioning is cost and budget.

At Netflix, getting buy-in came first from building awareness about accessibility.

Brian Macken spoke at ACCESS Los Angeles on a panel. Watch the full panel, Creating Accessible Content, for more tips on implementing accessibility.

ACCESS Los Angeles: CJ Jones, Actor

When it comes to deafness, we need to break the stigmas and misconceptions that people have. Often, people don’t know how to react when they meet a deaf person. Some people even think deaf people can’t drive!

Spoiler: they can, and they can also act, produce, direct, and run a film production company.

CJ Jones is a man of many hats, and he can do all these things, plus so much more. CJ has been a highly influential force in Hollywood as a deaf actor. He’s used his influence to help build greater awareness for the deaf community.

Here’s what he had to say about the biggest mistake people make when they interact with someone who’s deaf.

CJ Jones spoke at ACCESS Los Angeles on being a deaf actor in Hollywood. Make sure to check out his fireside chat!

ACCESS San Francisco: Mike Shebanek, Senior Director of Accessibility at Oath (Formally Yahoo!)

How do you build a culture of accessibility at an organization?

Accessibility requirements are different depending on what job you do. For example in marketing, I should add alt text to images, captions to videos, and use HTML to optimize my blogs for screen readers.

As a teacher, manager, developer, or designer, this all looks different.

At Oath, they bring together all designers from all over the company for a training on accessibility. They see what designers already know, and where they, as the company, need to fill in gaps with training. Having this training and creating a safe space for designers and other teams helps to create a culture of accessibility.

Mike spoke at ACCESS San Francisco and Los Angeles. Watch his full presentation, Yahoo’s Award-Winning Captioning Initiatives.

ACCESS New York: Derek Featherstone, Chief Experience Officer at Level Access

Did you know that curb cuts were originally intended for wheelchairs? Today, many people – not just wheelchair users – benefit from curb cuts. Whether it’s a biker, skater, or mum pushing a stroller, curb cuts are an accessibility accommodation that ended up benefiting everyone.

In his presentation, Derek discussed how web accessibility is the same. Features like adding closed captions, creating keyboard accessible websites, and optimizing webpages for phones are accessibility accommodations that benefit both users with disabilities and users without.

Derek spoke at ACCESS New York. Watch his full presentation, How Accessibility Improves the User Experience.


ACCESS DC is Oct. 2nd at the National Union Building. Tickets are on sale now! Click below to save your spot.

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