Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day in Asia

May 7, 2012

Finally, a day dedicated to accessibility!

On May 9, we are going to celebrate the very first Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This awesome idea started from a blog post by Joe Devon, a developer based in Los Angeles, California.

The following information is taken from the website of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a community-driven effort whose goal is to dedicate one day to raising the profile of and introducing the topic of digital (web, software, mobile app/device etc.) accessibility and people with different disabilities to the broadest audience possible.

Everyone who supports accessibility is encouraged to provide a talk, conduct a hands-on demo, or do any activity that would make other people realize the importance of digital accessibility.

The website contains information about the events which organizations and companies will hold on May 9 in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. There I’ve read about upcoming sessions, meetups, and other similar events in America and Canada.

Seeing all these great events, I quickly thought about Asia, our own little corner of the world. Opportunely, there is a particular group in Asia which I’m happy to be part of. This dynamic group consists of former and present trainees of the Teruko Ikeda ICT Training Program conducted annually by the Japan Braille Library at St. Nicholas Home in Penang, Malaysia. Participants come from countries such as Bhutan, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam. To keep in touch with each other, we have the Teruko Ikeda ICT blog and a very active Google group where we exchange information and help each other with regard to ICT-related concerns.

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Lessons in Accessibility: What I’ve Learned from My New Job

April 25, 2012

I am currently working as an accessibility specialist for Catalyst IT Ltd. Catalyst is the leading open source company in New Zealand. We provide services such as software and web development, open source support and consulting, and hosting services.

As an accessibility specialist, I test and audit websites developed by Catalyst for its clients. I identify the accessibility issues in the websites and provide recommendations for each issue. I also promote open source assistive technologies and deal with any activity related to accessibility.

I’ve been with Catalyst for one month now, and I feel fortunate that through my new work, I’ve already learned a number of important lessons as an accessibility advocate.

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Discovering Drupal, Admiring Its Accessibility

January 25, 2012

Something I wanted to do on the first month of 2012 was to learn new stuff. I’ve been hearing about this thing called Drupal from many people, so I thought of learning it just to see what all the happiness is about.

Below I’ll talk about my experiences in learning Drupal and a few interesting things I discovered as an advocate of accessibility.

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Designing for Social Change: A World Usability Day Celebration

December 2, 2011

Usability Philippines and De La Salle University – Manila celebrated World Usability Day by holding a symposium aptly entitled “Designing for Social Change”. This event was held today, December 2, 2011 at the Waldo Perfecto Seminar Room of DLSU – Manila.

The goal of the event was to bring together a number of professionals to discuss aspects of usability that focus on advocating social change. Around a hundred individuals attended the symposium. The audience consisted of students from DLSU – Manila and other universities and colleges as well as professionals from several IT companies and organizations. I was very fortunate to be invited as one of the speakers in this event.

audience during the Designing for Social Change usability symposium

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A Huge Step for Web Accessibility in the Philippines

November 30, 2011

The Philippine government moves forward to a more accessible Internet as it conducted a national web accessibility workshop for web masters and web developers. This event was organized by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the National Computer Institute (NCI), two of the country’s leading advocates of persons with disabilities. The workshop was held at the National Computer Institute from November 28 to 29, 2011.

A total of 25 participants attended the event, all of whom are web masters and web content managers working for the various government agencies of the country. I had the privilege of being one of the speakers in the workshop. Joining me was Mr. Jojo Esposa, president of the Philippine Web Accessibility Group.

Julius discussing web accessibility with web masters of government agencies

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The Tenth Computer-Eyes Training for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

November 12, 2011

Resources for the Blind Incorporated and IBM Philippines celebrated a decade of excellent partnership by organizing the tenth annual Computer-Eyes Training. This event was held from October 31 to November 11, 2011 at the Learning Services Center of IBM Plaza in Eastwood, Quezon City. This project was made possible through the support of the Overbrook Nippon Network on Educational Technology, Freedom Scientific, and the Department of Education.

The main goal of the training is to teach blind and visually impaired high school students the fundamentals of using the computer. A total of 24 blind and visually impaired high school students attended the training. The students came from the country’s three main areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Some of the students had basic knowledge about computers while most of them were only able to work on a computer for the first time during this event. I had the privilege of being the trainer in this two-week national training.

Julius discussing with the students during the Computer-Eyes Training

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Razorback Celebrates 21 Rocking Years with an Awesome Gig and “Three Minutes of Glory”

October 29, 2011

Filipino rock legends Razorback celebrated their 21st year anniversary yesterday, October 28, at the Music Museum. And the celebration became even more memorable as Razorback released their long-awaited fifth studio album “Three Minutes of Glory” on the same night.

Razorback consists of Kevin Roy on vocals, Tirso Ripoll on guitar, Manuel Legarda on guitar, Louie Talan on bass, and Brian Velasco on drums. On that heavy night, the band played several songs from all of their albums. These included classics such as “Giyang”, “Payaso”, “Munting Paraiso”, “Beggar’s Moon-Tie Dye Sky”, and “Pepe da Hepe”. They also performed live for the first time a handful of songs from their new album. These new beasts include “Daan Daang Dahilan”, “Ayon Sa Kanya”, “Amused”, the title track “Three Minutes Of Glory” and the spine-chilling “You And Your Sins”.

Razorback performing on stage during Three Minutes of Glory album launch

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How to Prevent a Crazy Blind Man from Making Weird Requests

October 22, 2011

It happened at around 4:00 am in a hotel in the city of Kuching. All was quiet when the phone at the front desk rang suddenly. The lady at the front desk picked up the phone and received a call from one of the people staying in the hotel.

The person on the other end of the line apparently made a request. And upon hearing the request, the lady had a bewildered look on her face.

What in the World Happened?

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Malaysia’s Monumental Gathering of Accessibility Advocates

October 14, 2011

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.

some of the audience in the October 12 accessibility seminar in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

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.

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Information for All: the First Web Accessibility Seminar at the University of Santo Tomas

August 27, 2011

TomasinoWeb, an online-based student publication and a premier university organization, in partnership with the Advantage Management Group, held today the first-ever web accessibility seminar at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

Aptly entitled “Information for All”, the event aimed to explain the importance of web accessibility and the guidelines in making online content accessible. More than a hundred participants attended the seminar. The participants consisted of UST students taking up web development and IT-related subjects and a number of their professors. I had the honor of being invited as the speaker in the event.

Julius talking to the audience during the Information for All seminar

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