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YOUR MONTHLY WEB ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE

November 2020

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Good morning <<First Name>>,

How is it November already? Didn't we just have Easter recently?

As I try to clear my weary brain and prepare for the madness of Christmas, I hope you enjoy this month's e-newsletter written by our lovely Simonette Carter.

We have a very multicultural team here at Web Key IT, which is perfect as it means we can keep business running as usual over the Christmas and New Year period! This is an ideal time to book in your website for an audit or check-up as website traffic tends to slow down over this period, and we can get everything sorted for you while you relax with family and friends!

Send us an email today if you'd like to take advantage of the notorious "quiet time" for businesses and get your website ready for the new year, new clients and new beginnings that we all hope 2021 will bring.

- Emma Murray

 
This month's author is Simonette Carter. Sim has worked as a volunteer with SHQ IN Northbridge, Perth and with Riding for the Disabled in Brigadoon, WA. She also has recently attained a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Publishing). Her empathetic, kind and enthusiastic energy made for the perfect employee at Web Key IT as a Website Analyst, and we are grateful to have a part of our team.

Online Accessibility During COVID-19

15th November 2020, by Simonette Carter

The year of 2020 has seen the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the world as a whole. Governments around the world have been attempting to minimise the spread of COVID-19 using lockdowns. In these difficult and uncertain times, online and digital accessibility is as important as ever in ensuring members of the community are able to access the goods, services, and entertainment that they need.

Individuals with disabilities can often encounter difficulties accessing websites and digital products that have not been designed with accessibility in mind. Users will commonly abandon websites which they cannot access or use without difficulty. The result is that a large part of the population, depending on their particular disability or disabilities, will be unable to access essential services, or buy the products that they want, but are unable to because of the health risks of them leaving the home are too great.

There are a number of ways user interface and back-end designers can seamlessly integrate accessibility into a website or digital product. Some of these include:
  • Not embedding flashing or moving animations, which can be distracting and potentially dangerous for users with epilepsy, low vision, and anxiety disorders.
  • Minimising the use of idiomatic and abstract language in instructions and product descriptions. Unclear and colloquial language can be particularly problematic for users from a non-English speaking background, and those on the autism spectrum.
  • Minimising or eliminating the use of image-based text, which is unwieldy for designers (tagging each image with an appropriate and accurate alternative text description), and for screen-reader users
The good news is that accessibility is not difficult or expensive to integrate into the design of your website, online store, or digital service. It makes sense to maximise your client base by making your product or service available to as many customers and clients as possible.

Accessible design will leave a lasting impression on users (who are also customers), without whom businesses find it difficult to exist.


  General News

COVID-19 has changed many things in the year 2020 but here in WA we have been incredibly lucky (so far) to escape the worst of the pandemic and, as such, have had more freedom in gatherings, including the opportunity to attend Perth based events and conferences.

Since our last newsletter I have had the pleasure of attending the West Tech Assemblage. This year’s theme was “Unlocking Diverse Abilities” which involved speakers including the Hon. Stephen Noel Dawson MLC (Minister for Environment, Disability Services & Electoral Affairs), Julie Waylen (State Manager of NDS) and Nilesh Makwana, who chairs the Assemblage. All of the speakers were incredibly interesting and do wonderful things in their individual roles. However, the true highlight of the evening was the panel, who shared their thoughts and personal experiences of being people with disabilities and the various impacts of technology.

Our Senior Website Analyst, Christie Woods and I also recently attended the WA Healthcare Conference. The conference focussed on the NDIS, Aged Care, and Hospital Design & Build, and is also accompanied by an expo. We spent most of the day speaking to people in the Healthcare industry about the importance of being digitally accessible. Additionally, I was honoured to be one of the speakers at the conference where I challenged the attendees to change the way they think and to begin removing barriers by considering accessibility for all digital products.

Finally, last week I was a guest speaker at the Australian Web Industry Association’s November Lunch & Learn. I was able to speak to other leaders in the web industry about the White Paper written by Web Key IT Director, Vivienne Conway and I, about the gap between how well organisations think they are at being accessible and the reality of people with disability being able to access digital products and services. I’ll also be sharing these findings at the W3C Gulf Cooperation Council Chapter Office Conference on November 23rd which is very exciting.

At Web Key IT, we know we need to continually get the message out about what digital accessibility is, why it’s so important and how to unlock the web. So this is your friendly reminder that we are always happy to come in to your business or organisation and present an absolutely free Learn at Lunchtime session. This is a great way to engage an expert in the field to help you explain to colleagues and staff what accessibility is. If you are interested in one of our free Learn at Lunchtimes please email us today!

See you next month!

Amanda Mace
General Manager

Triathlete Chris Nikic

A huge congratulations to Chris on becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish an IRONMAN on the 7th of November 2020. Chris swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles.
 
Nikic, who had his first surgery at 5 months old to fix holes in his heart, joined a triathlon program through Special Olympics Florida in January 2018, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Nikic later finished a 1km swim in an Orlando lake and wrote his name on a wall, as was customary for successful first-time competitors, the newspaper reported.

“Chris, world champ,” Nikic wrote, ultimately sparking a conversation with his father, Nik Nikic, about his athletic aspirations.

“I realised, why not? Why can’t he do an Ironman?” Nik told the newspaper. “So I gave him a piece of paper … and I said, ‘Why don’t you write down your dreams? Tell me what you want out of your life.’”

In addition to completing an Ironman, Nikic said he wanted to own a home and a car, as well as to marry a “smokin’ hot blonde from Minnesota” like his mother, the newspaper reported.

With the lofty goals set, Nikic began training up to eight hours daily, spending a full day on the bike and another running during weekends, he told the “Today” show.

When asked his favourite part of the triathlon prior to the race, Nikic replied, “I would say the running, it makes my butt cute and the ladies love it. I am extremely excited. I am going to crush this Ironman.”

Organisers told NBC Nightly News he was the only person with Down syndrome to even attempt an Ironman.

“I am person with Down syndrome who will complete the Ironman,” Nikic told the show before Saturday’s race. “I am going to make history by crushing it.”

Nikic also became a Guinness World Record holder with Saturday’s monumental feat, according to a Special Olympics tweet he shared on his profile.

“A year ago I wrote ‘Chris, world champ,’” Nikic tweeted. “Anything is possible.”

The everyday lives of people with intellectual disabilities are often unecessarily (and annoyingly to those affected) called inspirational. This though, is truly inspirational for us all.

You can follow Chris on Twitter here and the full article can be found here.
Chris swimming at sunset
Chris riding his bike

Upcoming Events  Calendar icon

 

W3C GCC Forum
23 - 25 November 2020
Online
Register here

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

Australian Accessibility Conference (OZeWAI)
9th-11th December 2020
Online
Submissions now open- more information here

Perth Website Accessibility Camp (PWAC)

Dates & Details released shortly

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