Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2013

Global Accessibility Awareness Day9 May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD is a global community-driven effort whose goal is to dedicate one day to raising the profile of and introducing the topic of digital (web, software, mobile app/device etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities to the broadest audience possible.

The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first. Read the blog post by Joe Devon that inspired GAAD: CHALLENGE: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW.

I’m helping to run the Canberra GAAD event. So if you’re in Canberra on 9 May, please come along to this free event and meet people who are interested in accessibility. More details and registration at the Canberra GAAD event meetup page.

Not in Canberra? Don’t worry – there are lots of events happening around Australia and globally.

Get in touch with the global accessibility community on and around 9 May via the GAAD Facebook page and the Twitter hashtag #GAAD.

The Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallow stuck on to some spaghetti

Marshmallow Challenge from TEDxCanberra 2013 strategy day

Today was our annual TEDxCanberra 2013 strategy day, where we got to meet the team (all highly motivated volunteers from diverse backgrounds), understand the vision for the year and get to know each other better. One of the exercises that we did was the Marshmallow Challenge.

We were split into groups of about 5 people per group. Each group was given 20 spaghetti, some string, some sticky tape, scissors and one marshmallow. The goal? To build the tallest free standing structure that can support the support the marshmallow  in 18 minutes. Continue reading →

World IA Day and tools

9 February 2013 was World IA Day - a global event in 15 cities where folks got together to discuss various aspects of “information architecture” (IA). I attended the Canberra event, run by one of my best friends, Donna Spencer. It was a lovely intimate group, covering interesting topics such as a great presentation about project management and IA personas (The Professor, The Tool, The Dummy Spit, The Baby and The Professional), testing your IAs and more.

One of my favourite sections was covering the various tools that we all used. Here’s my raw notes from the ‘tools discussion’ so I can remember to come back and explore some of them. Continue reading → banner banner out the front of the Manning Clark Centre

What does a user experience designer have in common with hundreds of open source technical folk? One awesome conference and a renewed appreciation for the open source movement. Continue reading →

2012 reflections

Time for my annual ‘reflections’ post where I take a moment to review how 2012 has been…in pictures of course :)


Did a number of presentations this year, including UX Australia 2012 (I did two presentations, which I had lost my voice!), OZeWAI 2012 (accessibility conference) and a number of other interesting events. Work was busy busy busy, particularly around accessibility stuff in 2012.

Events and other social things

3D printed model of Yoda

Various 3D printed models, including one of Yoda's head

In January, we drove down to Melbourne for the first of its kind in Australia – the Mini Make Faire Melbourne. Hubby ran a MHVboard workshop, I learned to solder and I also discovered how awesome the Makedo system is (for kids of all ages!).

Continue reading →

Happy new year and 2013 resolutions

Canberra new year's eve 2012 fireworks

Canberra new year's eve 2012 fireworks, as seen from a friend's balcony

A very happy new year to all of you. We had a lovely new year’s eve with some friends which involved learning great photography processing techniques, good food and good company. We also had an amazing view of the fireworks from our friends’ balcony! The photo attached to this post is taken with my phone camera from their balcony, looking towards the lake.

My 2013 new year resolutions are simple: learn something new every day, make stuff, take a moment to just be, respect one another, be kind.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

After a leisurely start exploring the local hawker centre near the apartments we were staying, we decided to spend our first full day in Singapore visiting the famous Singapore Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens is a massive 74 hectare garden full of beautiful flowers and colours. Unknowingly, we picked the same day that Prince William and Princess Kate were visiting the gardens, but we didn’t spot them or their entourage (it’s a huge garden).

There are many gorgeous areas within the Botanic Gardens, including a large lake called Swan Lake, Ginger Garden, National Orchid Garden (there’s a small $5/person fee for this area), Evolution Garden and more. We also spotted lots of great sculptures.

Here’s a brief photographic journey of our day wandering around the gardens.

Main gate at the Singapore Botanic Gardens

Alastair taking a photo at the main gate at the Singapore Botanic Gardens with our new Lytro (that broke during the trip *sigh*)

Continue reading →

Singapore/Malaysia holiday

Arrival sign at Changi Airport, Singapore

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve gotten back from Singapore and Malaysia.

I’ve spent that time immersed back into work, coming up for air occasionally to reminiscence about our holiday. There was copious amount of eating, despite the bout of food poisoning and stomach bug that we picked up. We caught up with family, spent time out in the ‘suburbia’ watching how locals shop and eat, met the local hackerspace, saw how much Singapore has changed, spent significant time on their public transport system as I LOVE their MRT, admired the different styles of architecture, and had fun exploring the various areas of Singapore and parts of Malaysia.

Over the next coming weeks, I’ll be covering the different aspects of our explorations. Keep an eye out here for the links to the various write ups.

Singapore Botanic Gardens