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Simple (Web) Accessibility: A Talk from BlendConf

I gave my first-ever conference talk at BlendConf on web accessibility, titled "Simple Accessibility: The Bare Minimum for Compassionate Development". The slides are over on Speaker Deck, and embedded after the jump.

It's a technical talk on web accessibility, but the guiding principle is one of compassion that applies to my approach to games as well. If compassion is, "Deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve it," then we as the creators and writers of games, apps, articles, talks, and websites are empowered to help relieve the suffering of others, both through the content and through the media themselves. The four tools in this talk are ones that developers should be able to implement without a need for increased estimates that can draw business disapproval, and that won't require design changes that could also be contested.

BlendConf had an amazing closing talk by Mike Monteiro on the ethics of design, and how creators do bear responsibility for the consequences of their creations. Monteiro highlighted the case of Bobbi Duncan, a lesbian who was outed to her family due to a design flaw in Facebook's security interface. Some designer/developer/creator (or team of) implemented that design. Maybe the order came from on high, but Monteiro correctly emphasized that if we refuse to design it, if we refuse to implement it, it won't exist.

Hopefully this talk contributes to development environments that are a little more in line with what Monteiro spoke of. We can stop giving excuses like, "They'll have someone to help them," regarding folks who have difficulty with the tools we create, and start taking action to be truly compassionate.

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