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.

Ada Lovelace Day 2010: Meet Kim

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

This year, I’ve decided to write about someone who is relatively unknown in the broader web community but is very knowledgeable in the accessibility field. She would never blow her own horn, which means that only those of us who have had the pleasure of working with her knows how good she is. She’s a shy and quiet type, and is truly one of the nicest and most generous person I know. She has been working in the tech and user experience field for a while. She’s smart, passionate and she knows her accessibility stuff.

I want you to meet my friend and colleague, Kim Chatterjee. What I love about Kim is her willingness to share her knowledge and time to help everyone, even if it means very little sleep for her! She has a detailed understanding of accessibility and has spent quite a few years doing some cool accessibility work in Government. She’s also really great at communicating complex concepts through interesting and lovely visuals. She’s really humble about her achievements so if you do get to meet her, she won’t tell you how good she is but if you get to chat to her, you’ll soon realise the depth and breadth of her accessibility knowledge.

While others are out and about talking the talk, Kim is busy with the actual doing. She’s helped to inspire a number of people about accessibility, who have now gone on into other organisations either carrying a passion for accessibility or having an increased awareness of accessibility. Now that’s inspirational.

BarCampCanberra #3 – it’s a wrap

Photo of Pascal looking at the BarCampCanberra #3 schedule

The highly anticipated BarCampCanberra event happened yesterday, with a large gathering of smart and passionate folks from around Canberra, Yass, Wollongong and Sydney discussing interesting topics such as Government 2.0, social innovation, collaboration, typography, hackerspaces and more.

For those unfamiliar with the BarCamp concept:

BarCampCanberra is a free-to-attend community-run conference where anyone can come and watch, participate or present on anything they are passionate about – either something interesting they’ve been working on, an idea they’d like to present or to brainstorm the solution to a problem with a bunch of like-minded smart people

We had over 150 people registered for the event, 46 pizzas consumed, 72 bottles of water drunk (plus the additional cups and water containers) and 39 sessions including a series of 5 minute lighting talks (I love the 5 minute lighting talk format).

The event was tweeted, flickred, livestreamed and Googled waved. We were even covered in the Canberra Times (page 8 of the Sunday 7th February newspaper).

Some of my favourite quotes about BarCampCanberra comes from @dekrazee1:

Brain is still abuzz from #bcc2010. BarCamp is the techy equivalent of a day spa. Energising and invigorating. #I<3BarCamp


@RazChorev Yep. Sound ROI. That $50 of fuel (and ~8hrs of travel time) got me about $500 worth of education today. #bcc2010

Continue reading →

Oz-IA 2009 conference wrap up

Eric Scheid (organiser of the OzIA 2009 conference) opens the conference.
Another Oz-IA conference has passed and it was great. There were a lot of familiar faces but also a large number of new faces. The twitter back channel were buzzing with activity for most of the conference, no doubt fuelled by the on-site barista and fruit cocktail maker.

Here’s a rundown of some of the presentations. Not every session is covered.

Continue reading →

Canberra Girl Geek Dinner #2

Canberra Girl Geek Dinner #2 was held on Saturday 4th of April 2009 at Indian Affair restaurant in Phillip. I was given the opportunity to chat about designing useful user experiences.

My presentation is titled From Apples to eye surgery: designing useful user experiences and you can catch it below:

PS: Apologies for not posting a bit more of an explanation about the presentation – I’m in a rush to pack for my Gold Coast holiday!

BarCamp Canberra #2 – it’s a wrap!

BarCamp Canberra #2 was yet another successful event! There was a great turnout with 71 registered users and other folks dropping in and out through out the day. We had representation from Canberra, Yass, Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne (did I miss out any other cities?). Two streams were running simultaneousness for most of the day with great presentations running in both rooms.

Who presented?

As I have yet to master the art of splitting my self into two, here’s a quick run down of the talks I heard:

  • David Page introduced us to the concept of the Yubikey – a usb key authentication system. It provides single or two factor authentication and is quite affordable. Catch The Yubikey presentation on slideshare.
  • Rohan Mitchell shared his adventures in online business. My favourite slide from his presentation? Slide 18 The Learning Curve, which involves:
    1. Make something cool
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    Catch the rest of his Adventures in Online Business on slideshare.

  • One of the highlights was Pamela Fox’s presentation on making the google map for the Victorian bushfires. It was fascinating hearing about the solutions they came up with in the challenging environment, with key issues being the short time frames and lack of open data. It really highlighted the problems we face when data (particularly emergency data) is not made available in formats that enable reuse. Read more on Pamela’s blog post BarCamp Canberra 2: Mapping the Fires.
  • Another highlight was Joseph Gentle‘s presentation on Artificial intelligence. He took a complex subject and made it really easy to understand. Loved it.
  • Craig Thomler took us through his experiences on blogging as a public servant – a very informative presentation.
  • Linda Gehard ran an interactive impromptu workshop on the good and bad of mobile phone design.
  • Darren Menachemson gave an interesting talk about designing out evil, complete with great graphs!
  • Caronne Carruthers-Taylor gave an interesting presentation on her experiences with UX and design. Catch her presentation Change the world with UX: user experience in federal government on slideshare.
  • Dean K held an interesting discussion about the No Clean Feed recent rally and opportunities to influence the decision makers. He also raised the idea that the solutions we propose need to provide a way for Stephen Conroy to save face.
  • Nathanael Boehm introduced us to Resilient Nation Australia.

My presentation

I did a light hearted presentation on The Uncanny Valley:

Find out what else happened

Didn’t make it to BarCamp Canberra #2? You can:


Thanks to the unorganisers (Andrew Boyd, Stephen Collins, Simon Pascal Klein, Nathanael Boehm, Craig Thomler, Rae Buerckner, Darren Menachemson) for putting together a great event and the sponsors (acidlabs, Five Senses Coffee, UX Australia,
Keith Lang, Australian Anthill, Electric Shadows Bookshop).

Can’t wait for BarCamp Canberra #3!

Ada Lovelace Day – Aussie females

It’s Ada Lovelace Day – an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

From the Ada Lovelace Day pledge site:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.

I have many female friends who are doing wonderful work in the technology industry – too many to name but here’s a few Aussie females that I’ll like to sing out about.

  • Donna – she is a great information architect, the Queen of Card Sorting and contributes much of her time to the web community. She’s always happy to share her knowledge and experience.
  • Caronne – I love her passion for the work we do. She’s an extremely supportive person and manages to balance work, life, web community stuff and life with two teens. She does amazing stuff with advocating great user experiences in Government agencies that many people don’t hear about!
  • Susan – one of the many challenging things of being a women is the ability to juggle multiple stressful components of our life. Susan is amazing – she loves the work she does and some how, manages to balance work, family, photography, blogging and web stuff!
  • Viv – a special person I used to work with who is passionate about accessibility and user experience. She’s a solid rock for any team that she’s on and is always quietly working away in the background getting stuff done. It’s people like Viv who work so hard and never seem to get recognition for the hard work they do – so here’s my shout out to you Viv!
  • Lisa – is amazing. She knows a lot of things about accessibility, usability and user experience. We have a very similiar approach to the work we do. She’s a very calming influence and I admire her passion for the work we do.

There are many other females out there who also doing great work (I’m looking at you Teresa, Amie, Suze, Lana!).

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

No Clean Feed Canberra rally

The No Clean Feed Canberra rally is finally happening! Unfortunately we won’t be around to take part in the Canberra rally as we will be in Sydney (and aiming to be at the Sydney rally) but if you’re in Canberra, please show your support for the No Clean Feed issue by attending the rally. If you can’t, please pass the message on so people are able to make an informed decision about the issues surrounding the mandatory internet filtering plan proposed by the Australian Federal Government.

The Canberra rally will occur this Saturday 13 December from 12pm in City Walk. The full details of the No Clean Feed Canberra rally is available at the Facebook event page. If you can’t access the Facebook page, check out this alternate page instead.

Need more info?

One of my favourite sites about the mandatory internet filtering issue is Think of the children!