Why a conference about accessibility?
With the growing need for accessible digital content, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were lacking a systematic approach on how to deal with the upcoming accessibility needs coming with the new European legislation. That´s why the team from the Teiresias center decided to organize a conference that would introduce the topic and offer theoretical and practical insights from experts as well as end users, and all of that in their native language.
Five sessions focusing on legislation, UX, multimedia accessibility, examples, and certification
The conference was organized into five sessions, each focusing on one current topic related to digital accessibility.
The first part dealt with existing and upcoming legislation on accessibility. Monika Miazdrová from Slovakia and Radek Horáček from the Czech Republic presented the results of the monitoring of websites and mobile applications covered by the current accessibility legislation. The upcoming European Accessibility Act was then presented by one of our foreign guests – Susanna Laurin, chair of the ETSI/CEN/CENELEC e-Accessibility Joint Working Group.
The second session was a panel discussion focused on user experience. Radka Nováková from the Institute of Languages and Communication of the Deaf at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Peter Halada from the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovakia, and Ladislav Kratochvíl from Orbi Pontes brought their views to the discussion.
Also, in the third session, participants could enjoy three presentations, this time focused on accessibility of multimedia content. Petr Herian presented the Beey application which helps to make audio and video content accessible through subtitles, Marek Salaba talked about audio description, and Petr Vysuček and Kateřina Pešková presented how to make media content accessible to (Czech) sign language users.
Theory can provide a basic insight and a lot of useful information, but nothing compares to practical experience. In the Good Practice Examples section, participants had the opportunity to learn from Tomáš Jelínek about the challenges associated with the development of an application (Cash Reader, iOS and Android) designed specifically for the blind. The experience of making a Library accessible was offered by Běla Svobodová, and Michaela Vranková introduced us to the art of creating and designing an accessible website.
The last session of the conference programme was dedicated to what training and certification opportunities are available for those who are really serious about accessibility. In the Expertise and Certification block, Helena Hubatková Selucká presented the Handicap Friendly certificate for libraries, and Tereza Venerová Kosnarová presented the new online study programme of Masaryk University called Design of Information Services.
The conference concluded with an introduction of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). Alberto Hylander presented the possible levels of membership, professional certification and benefits that IAAP members can enjoy. Ondřej Pohl, a CPWA certificate holder and one of the two most highly certified web accessibility experts in the Czech Republic, then shared with the attendees what his journey to certification was like.
Conclusion and feedback
Based on the feedback quoted below and the number of views of the live stream and recording, which surpassed 1000 views two days after the conference, we dare say that the 1st Annual Online Conference on Digital Accessibility was a success. Below we offer a few examples of the feedback we received.
- Thank you for a well themed conference with useful information and speakers.
- You managed, in my opinion, to combine the topics well, from a clear overview of the legislative frameworks for accessibility, to specific cases of implementation, to the impact of barriers in different areas on real users, to opportunities for education in the field that I was not aware of.
- The conference was very useful, and I was glad to attend.
- Thank you again so much, it was absolutely great from every possible perspective.
As the busy conference schedule did not allow us to answer questions during the live broadcast, we have scheduled a follow-up webinar With Théseus Over Obstacles 2022: Questions & Answers for Friday, 9 December, at 13.00, which will answer your questions and allow you to ask anything you are interested in regarding accessibility.
We look forward to seeing you there 🙂
The With Théseus Over Obstacles 2022 Conference was organised by the Teiresias Centre of Masaryk University as one of the outcomes of the Théseus – Dispatching Accessibility in the Digital Environment project, supported by the Czech Radio Endowment Fund from the Světluška fund-raising campaign, and the conference partner ACTUM Digital.