Highlights of 2013 – a Christmas card from Western Australia

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Friday, 13 December 2013 12:11pm

Western Australia, with its strong community groups and thriving accessibility scene, contributes a huge amount to Australia’s progress towards access. Here, Media Access Australia’s Western Australia manager Dr Scott Hollier provides an update on the key accessibility events that have taken place over 2013.

In March the largest web accessibility-specific event ever held in Western Australia took place with with the Perth Web Accessibility BarCamp. Run as a more casual ‘unconference’ with approximately 100 people in attendance, there were great presentations across all areas of accessibility, including a humorous debate on whether web accessibility is being taken seriously. The event was very well organised with Gary Barber at the helm and it demonstrated just how much work is being done across all local sectors.

Staying on the web accessibility theme, the Perth Web Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup continued but changed form during 2013, moving from just a monthly breakfast meeting to alternating breakfast and evening events. The meetups continue to be well attended and provide a great opportunity for the WA accessibility community to get together and talk about web accessibility issues, share concerns and swap advice for how to solve common challenges.

In addition to these smaller events, Perth has placed a bid to host the World Wide Web Conference in 2017. The annual event brings leading professionals together to explore the future directions of the web, including accessibility. Perth being in the running for 2017 is recognition of the strength of Perth’s status as a hub for web design and development.

But Perth also has a thriving arts scene and accessibility is being included in more and more events, including an audio described outdoor theatre event run by Shakespeare WA. Held in the Botanic Gardens of Kings Park, an entertaining adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing provided a great experience, especially for the people that were blind or vision impaired who received descriptions of the play through wireless headphones. This was the second audio described event held by Shakespeare WA and hopefully another one will be held in 2014.

Dr Scott Hollier manages major projects at Media Access Australia and co-lectures the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility.

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