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YOUR MONTHLY WEB ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE

March 2021

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Good morning <<First Name>>,

We hope for all our Australian readers, that you are enjoying these last few months of sunshine before we get our brief winter-y reprieve!

This month's newsletter is JAM-PACKED full of interesting reads about small business accessibility, how we celebrated International Women's Day, PWAC, upcoming training and a review of Whistleblower at Perth Festival!

We hope you enjoy it, and keep safe and healthy wherever you may be.

- Emma Murray

 
This month's author is Stuart Shearing. Stuart has been working with Web Key for just over one year as one of our talented Website Analysts. He has a strong background in website development and also owns his own business helping other businesses with IT issues.

Accessibility for Small Business Websites

8th of March, 2021 by Stuart Shearing

I have been with Web Key IT as a website analyst for one year and have a background in WordPress development and web hosting.

Before I took on this role, I felt that accessibility for websites was critical for government and large corporate sites, but perhaps only a ‘nice to have’ feature for small business websites that generally have lower budgets and a smaller audience.

Yes, sometimes we need to stand back and look at how wrong we can be!

One of the great things about the team at Web Key is the passion they have for web accessibility, and this has encouraged me to do better when it comes to the work I produce.  It turns out accessibility for small business sites doesn’t have to be difficult.

Small business sites tend to be less complicated and less rigid than large projects, and looking at accessibility from the start helps you build a strong foundation.

Large corporate sites are often more restrictive with colours as they need to match their branding, however, a small business can easily tweak these and achieve AAA compliance for colour contrast. Sites with fewer pages often require simple menu functions that allow for easier navigation, and even building in eye-candy such as hero sliders can be not only effective but accessible as well.

WordPress is a popular Content Management System that powers almost 40% of websites on the Internet and has many accessible features built into it. There is also a theme repository where you can download accessible themes that have to meet a minimum standard.

Caring about accessibility when you build a website isn’t just the right thing to do, it is sensible as you are removing barriers for potential clients and customers.

Icon of an army general's badge
  General News

I’d like to start by giving a shout-out my fellow Perth Web Accessibility Camp (PWAC) planning committee members. The event was held on February 23rd, at the lovely VisAbility premises and was a resounding success. The guest speakers brought in from by W3C Australia - Western Region Chapter were a fantastic addition to an already fabulous event. If you missed out his year- don’t worry! There is always the next one and in between you can join in on the Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design monthly meet ups.

To start the month, we posted the second in our series of accessibility tips on our social media platforms. This one was titled “Is it Socially Accessible?” and broke down our top 5 accessible social media tips. On our A11y Tips page you'll find the plain-text version as well as a downloadable tagged PDF.  We’d LOVE to hear your idea for 60 second accessibility tips, so if you have any requests for future tips let us know.

On Monday, March 8th in honour of International Womens Day, Web Key IT donated to Zonta House Refuge on behalf of our staff. It makes me incredibly proud to be part of a company that gives back to the community.

I have worked, and continue to work, with amazing women. Women who inspire, guide and lead me. Today, 100% of Web Key’s senior management and more than 66% of our staff are women. This is an incredible achievement, particularly in the IT industry where women make up on less than 28% of the workforce. The charity we chose to support this year is Zonta House Refuge. Zonta House provides much needed refuge and transitional accommodation, holistic support services and education to women over the age of 18. If you’d also like to donate, please visit: http://zontahouse.org.au/donations/

Finally, my last bit of news this month is about some upcoming training opportunities. We are currently seeking expressions of interest for our very popular 5 Day Certificate in Digital Accessibility course!  This is an in-depth course, occurring once a day over 5 weeks for an entire day (each Monday in May). In addition to web accessibility standards, testing methods and principles, it provides guidance in creating and testing digital documents like PDF and Word documents, specific screen reader training and mobile accessibility testing, as well as the development of an Accessibility Action Plan for your organisation. If you are interested in signing up for this course or would like more information, please get in touch with us.

See you next month!

Amanda Mace
General Manager

Icon of a cup of tea Perth Festival: Whistleblower Review

9th of March, 2021 by Melanie Hawkes
Image of a film set with a middle-aged woman at a desk with a name plate and lamp in an office, with lights, camera and crew members around her
I love summer. The best part for me is the Perth and Fringe Festivals. There is nothing better than seeing live theatre, circus, movies or concerts on a balmy summer's night. 
 
I was thrilled to be invited to join the Access Inclusion Advisory Committee (AIAC) for the Perth Festival in 2019. A recent meeting involved lengthy discussions about a Festival show called Whistleblower, which just finished its season at the State Theatre Centre in Perth. It's an interactive theatre performance, where the audience can choose to participate on stage! 
 
I was very keen to get an interactive ticket. But the Festival wanted feedback on the types of considerations required to make it work for people with disabilities. The production company were made aware of our access needs and designed roles that would allow anyone to participate, regardless of ability. This included wheelchair access on to the stage, the use of Auslan interpreters and audio description. 
 
I couldn't play the main character (nor would I have wanted to!), but I could easily read and speak, so was given the role of a newsreader. At the required time during show, a representative of the theatre company (who introduced herself before the show) came and guided me out of the auditorium and backstage. I was able to take my position on stage, then waited for my cue, did my news-reading then was escorted off again. It all happened very quickly. But was enjoyable, as was the rest of the show.
 
What I love about equal access to things like this is how normal it now feels! I love being treated normally, not with special treatment. I can't help that I need a wheelchair, or my love of theatre, and when they come together it's a really special feeling. 

Perth Festival runs until the 14th of March, more information can be found here.

 

Icon of a calender Upcoming Events 

 

CSUN Assistive Technology Conference

8th-14th March , 2021

Online

Pre-Conference Workshops are available here

Register Here for CSUN before March 2nd. 


Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup

16th March, 2021

Dome Cafe, Northbridge, WA

7:30-9:00am

Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group


The Web Conference

19th-23rd April, 2021

Ljubljana, Slovenia (and Online)

More information here


W4A 2021

19th-20th April, 2021

Online

Call for Papers for W4A 2021 Open Here


The Accessibility Conference

26th-27th May, 2021

University of Guelph, Canada (and online)

More information here

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