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The personal site of Jamie Knight, a slightly autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

Standards.Next - Cognitive Accessibility:

Wow, some days are hard to sum up in words, images, or, well anything which you can put on the internet. This makes writing a blog post on the train home from an awesome event a little more difficult! I will start at the beginning and see where that leads.

A few months back the wonderful @iheni (henny swan) contacted me wondering if i would be interested in doing something for the next Standards.Next . For those who do not know, standards next is a semi formal un-confrence which is focused around the future of the internet. Or maybe it is, its mostly a gaggle of geeks geeking up for an afternoon of interestingness! Of course, its also followed by going to the pub….. or at least it is chronologically followed with a trip to the pub, a great example of how chronological order many not always be the order of incentives!

Anyway, i digress, so in responding to henny with a resounding yes i was set to go and speak at this event, the topic gave me time to ponder. What on earth is cognitive accessibility. (what you cannot see is that i need to use the spell check to to spell it!), cognitive accessibility is (i think) making websites easier to use by thinking about the thinking of the perspective user. Its a win win way of looking at accessibility, the ultimate aim is to make things easier to use for people who may have a cognitive issues, however the result is that it is easier to use for everyone.

I spoke after the interesting antonia hyde quickly running through some slides to give a quick base on what autism is (i think, maybe) and then did a Q&A with Henny around the use of screen reader by visual users and adaptions you can make to get your experience of the web better for you. The Lion was very nice and did some slides for me which i have uploaded as a PDF!

It was fascinating to learn about how active the area of research around usability is being taken, Watching how it works in the real life for others from David and Antonias perspective was fascinating. There trundle though their experiences really opened my eyes to how users process and interpret what the browser is showing them, was very interesting to see site like ebay and amazon taken apart to find the interaction friction.

David’s talk was more based in the running side of using iterative design and user testing to influence decisions, it was very interesting to hear how he approaches the conflict between what us web developers and designers think and what the user is thinking. His explanation on how they worked with the shure trust was very enlightening. He also wins top hounders for dedication having traveled from berlin just to present!

The final talk of the day was from Ian Pouncy, he recounted some great advice and considerations based on his work with yahoo and ensuring that as many people as possible can be empowered thoughthe use of the web.

With the days talks and discussion over it was time to head to the pub, it was amazing to discuss the intricacies of the user’s experience with so many people and to share a few photos and drinks. I would love to thank everyone who gave me feedback on my presentation, the feedback has been wonderful and as i sit here on the train home i am beside myself that it went down so well!

I would also like to thank henny and bruce for the opportunity to speak at such an awesome small event! In thanking them i must also thank Opera who supported the event!

So with all that said, well typed, i am going to go back to the train, and steal one of lions smarties!

Published: 20 September 2009 Permalink

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