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August 2020

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Good morning <<First Name>>,

Wherever you are in the world right now, we hope you are keeping safe and healthy. This is a time of constant change and being grateful for what we have, isn't it?

This month you'll be hearing from our lovely Melanie who will discuss her assistive technology and what helps and hinders her in her day-to-day life. Enjoy!

- Emma Murray


Don't Limit Me!

10th August, 2020 by Melanie Hawkes
Hi, I am Melanie and I joined the Web Key team in May 2019 as  Usability Analyst. I have a physical disability as a result of a childhood virus. I use a power wheelchair and a range of assistive technology to go about my day. 

I only have limited hand function and using my mobile phone while in bed was impossible, until I found out about a HouseMate device, which I named Tom. It looks a bit like a mouse with a button switch plugged in the back. It connects to my phone via Bluetooth, and gives me complete hands-free control. I have my phone mounted on a post beside my bed and I just tap on Tom's switch and it scans the options and I tap again to select what I need. I predominately use the keyboard interface, but it also gives me a mouse option which is handy for clicking links or selecting parts of the screen that keyboard arrows won't allow me to access. 

My biggest issue when it comes to accessibility is keyboard access. There's nothing worse than typing, and having to click inside each box when completing a form or the like on a website. I don't use a mouse at all on my desktop, but have a trackball built-in to my keyboard instead. I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts. It is surprising how much you can do without using a mouse. Why don't you try it? See how long you can go without using the mouse? 

I have done various jobs for WKIT so far, and the majority of them I test on my phone using Tom. I had a Samsung S5, which really struggled to scroll up and down on websites. If the keyboard arrows didn't work, I would use the mouse swipe option. However, it would often select the text instead. Since upgrading to the S10 earlier this year, I haven't had as many issues, thankfully. It's still annoying when keyboard arrows don't work to scroll on web pages I'm reading. And I enjoy reading in bed! 

Working for Web Key has taught me a lot about digital access. The main thing I've learnt is every little change helps. It might be something as simple as changing the colour of text to make the contrast better, or adding captions to videos. A few small changes can mean the difference between someone understanding information or accessing the services of a business, or not. Despite having a disability, we deserve to have equal access, and businesses are missing out on customers if they don't provide websites with adequate access measures.
Melanie with her golden labrador, Upton, and her assistive technology "Tom".

*NEW* From the General


It has been a very busy couple months, one announcement which we are incredibly excited about is the new W3C Australian Chapter - Western Region office, which will be hosted by Web Key IT. The ACT and Eastern Region (Victoria and NSW) will also have new Chapter offices and we are excited to work with these offices to become even stronger W3C community here in Australia. The goal for all the Aussie offices is to connect W3C members with each other as well as provide a strong link to the W3C head office. Of course, I’m also really keen to grow the W3C community to enable the furthest reach of W3C goals and standards beyond current membership.

We are planning a launch of the Western Region Chapter in about a month’s time, the theme of which will be ‘Privacy, Identity and Security’ with guest speakers from around the world, W3C members and other experts. Information will be available soon so keep your eyes peeled on our Social Media Channels or send us an email to say you’d like to be on the event mailing list for the Chapter office. We will be offering this launch event both in person and virtually to allow for broader participation across the country.
In other W3C related news, the WCAG 2.2 Working Draft is now ready for review. There are 9 new success criteria. Be sure to review and comment by 18 Sept. More info is available at
Web Key IT is proud of our connection to W3C and honoured to be Chapter host. If you have ideas or thoughts on what relevant W3C topics future sessions you’d like to see, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.
See you next month!

Amanda Mace
General Manager

Upcoming Events  Calendar icon


Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetups
18th August 2020
Dome Cafe, Northbridge, WA
Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group

UX Australia
25th-28th August 2020
More information here

Web Directions (Code)
4th-25th September 2020 (every Friday)
More information here

Toronto Accessibility Conference (#aLLyTO)
21st-24th October 2020
More information here

Web Directions (Product)
6th-27th November 2020 (every Friday)
More information here
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