Sunday, March 22, 2009

CSUN's 2009 Accessibility Conference

Late last week I attended the 2009 Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, a conference which most of us accessibility folks call "c-sun" as it has been held at CSUN for over 20 years. What makes this an exceptionally important conference for accessibility is that it brings users, developers, educators, clinicians, visionaries, and policy makers together in one place. Thankfully a lot of them seem to love Firefox... and for good reason; more on that later.

I was particularly jazzed about getting time in the same room with other Firefox developers: Alexander Surkov, Marco Zehe, and Aaron Leventhal. We spent some mornings, afternoons, and evenings together discussing the past, present, and future of web accessibility, children, wives, and vodka. When people had faded into their rooms, Alexander and I used the later hours to hack together and discuss gecko accessibility code design. His patch reviews are even faster than usual when he's sitting next to me.

Marco, David, Mick, James, Aaron, and Alexander

Mozilla works hard "to ensure that the Internet is developed in a way that benefits everyone". It seems pretty clear Mozilla, especially with the work in WAI-ARIA for DHTML, has developed a reputation for pioneering accessibility. As UI issues arise on the web people are looking to Mozilla for answers, and we are keen to work with other communities to find the right solutions. To this end I made sure to get some face time with people at CSUN that I think will help, including Henny from Opera, and JP from Microsoft. In some cases attendees made sure to find me. Flattering. Anyways, I won't bather on much longer as I think Marco will be giving a much better report soon.

Smiling in the picture up above are: Marco Zehe, David Bolter (me), the NVDA developers Mick Curran and James Teh, Aaron Leventhal, and Alexander Surkov (Eitan was absent for this photo). I quite like how Marco's cane glows like a Jedi weapon in this shot.

May the force be with us.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Firefox Accessibility Goals

Ahhh Spring.

As we approach the ides of March, it is time for the Mozilla accessibility community to reflect, and to plan for the next quarter and beyond. Here are the high level goals we are thinking are priorities for next the few months:
  1. OS X
  2. DHTML (WAI-ARIA 1.0 compliance)
  3. Stability and test coverage
None of these are new high level goals, but each one has important new work waiting underneath. By the end of the month we hope to have this new work listed as concrete goals which we can use to organize our efforts. We'll report on that later. Other ongoing fluid goals, such as supporting community projects will continue to be high priority.

All this planning is based on user feedback so feel free to leave a comment on this blog or drop a note on Mozilla's accessibility list... we're listening. Oh! If you happen to be at CSUN next week, please come find one of us at the Mozilla booth!

Thanks for reading.