The 28th CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference was held in San Diego at the end of February. We interviewed Takeshi Kurosawa who attended the summit.
What was your reason for attending the event?
At Mitsue-Links we provide custom-made solutions to our clients' requests concerning the maintenance and improvement of website accessibility. We offer a range of services including conducting accessibility analysis, production of corporate accessibility guidelines, and the development of highly accessible sites. In order for us to continue providing the best possible service for our clients, we must have knowledge of the latest developments and trends concerning technology and accessibility.
How was the event structured / who was in attendance?
The event was divided into key spheres; they were the pre-conference workshops, the special events and announcements, and over 300 individual information sessions on accessibility. There were also other activities and events on the sidelines.
Regarding attendance, as the summit is the leading conference on accessibility there were speakers from government, standards organizations, academia, and industry, as well as a variety of innovative vendors and solutions providers. On show were solutions such as braille printing and magnification equipment, however, we focused the majority of our attention on technologies including HTML5, WAI-ARIA and responsive web design.
The titles of some of the sessions I attended were; The Forgotten of Web Accessibility, Creating an Accessibility Community, WCAG Best Practices, What About The Users?, Create Accessible Infographics, A11yBuzz: A Crowd-Sourced Body of Knowledge, The Gamification of Accessibility, Closing Gaps: Mobile Standards Enablement, ARIA Gone Wild, and, Plain Language: Accessibility for Information.
What impressed you the most?
I was most impressed by the human element that the summit so greatly valued. The acknowledgement of human users really is the most positive side of web accessibility. Accessibility is much more than following guidelines and adhering to rules, accessibility is about placing the user at the center to ensure the creation of sites that provide maximum interaction. Furthermore, when ensuring that sites are accessible, we should think in terms of stories which determine the issue, denote who is affected, and detail appropriate resolutions. Additionally, in order to maximize barrier free installations for users, there must be high levels of cooperation and understanding between accessibility experts, web developers, managers and other stakeholders.
What do you think will happen in the web accessibility arena over the next five years?
I feel that device independence will become a considerable development within accessibility in the near future. Nowadays, touch screen technology is being employed successfully for smart devices; however users who rely on a keyboard for operation are experiencing accessibility issues. To remedy this, device independence technology such as speech interaction is a growing trend, while displayed in the exhibition hall was a touch screen that was operated through the tracking of eye movements. Moreover, with the recent discussions about wearable computing, device independence is most definitely an area to watch.
What do you want to do regarding web accessibility?
At CSUN 2013, I met a number of inspirational people from around the world that are working in the field of web accessibility. From the discussions I had with them about web accessibility in their countries, they have motivated me to do my upmost as an advocate of accessibility in Japan. Over the coming years, I would like to further improve our relationship by sharing information and case studies on the latest advances from Japan in the growing area of web accessibility.