This week in Kuching, Sarawak, one of the largest accessibility events was conducted and organized by a dynamic group dedicated to supporting accessible online information. A massive crowd of more than 400 people gathered to learn about and subsequently support web accessibility in the country’s biggest web accessibility seminar.
Attendees of this event consisted of high-ranking government officials of Sarawak and other Malaysian states, developers and designers of websites, IT students–basically people from all walks of life that are interested in web accessibility. The seminar was held on October 12, 2011 at the Grand Margherita Hotel in Kuching.
Talking About the Public’s Role in Web Accessibility
I had the privilege of being one of the speakers in this momentous event. I explained about everyone’s role in making the Internet a more accessible place. The 400-strong group and I looked at the basic ways on how to ensure that online contents are accessible. Generally, these consist of text descriptions for images, proper use of HTML codes, and keyboard-driven web elements. During the discussion, I pointed out the fact that all of us, whether we make websites or are simply Internet users, can all play a role in making online information accessible to people with disabilities.
Other speakers provided enlightening and witty presentations that talked about blindness and visual impairment and the equipment blind persons use in accessing information. At the end of the seminar, we answered a number of questions raised by the audience.
The Accessibility Workshop That Followed
To explain the more technical side of web accessibility, I and the other speakers conducted a workshop from October 13 to 14 at the Inti College in Kuching. Attendees of the seminar also participated in this workshop. Since this event included more intricate discussions and topics, almost all the participants were web developers and programmers.
I discussed the principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0), a document used by web developers to ensure that their online contents are accessible. To apply our knowledge about WCAG 2.0, the group and I evaluated the accessibility of local and foreign websites.
My fellow presenters demonstrated a number of accessibility tools to help the participants evaluate their online content. They also evaluated the accessibility of Malaysian websites.
The Accessibility Alliance Behind This Massive Event
We sincerely thank the Sarawak State Government, the National Council for the Blind, Malaysia, Sarawak Society for the Blind, and Sarawak Information Systems for organizing the accessibility seminar and workshop. I would like to personally thank the organizers for inviting me to this series of events, and I’m encouraging each participant to continue being one with us as we support accessible online information for everyone.