Recap: Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2016

Refresh Detroit members RJ and Randy Walker using he VoiceOver screen reader

Last Thursday, over 45 people attended our third annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), Detroit event, including a few walk-ins. Our Refresh Detroit members traveled from East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and throughout metro Detroit to hear Al Puzzuoli talk about screen readers and get hands on with screen readers on their own laptops.

We saw familiar faces as well as many new members! We hope you enjoyed Al’s presentation and hands-on screen reader session as much as we did! Continue reading

Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Detroit on May 19

GAAD Detroit

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is right around the corner and with that comes fun presentations, talks, and workshops by people in the industry, where all they do is eat, sleep, and breathe accessibility.

GAAD kicks off in Detroit on May 19th at Grand Circus in downtown Detroit. It is going to be a fun night with groups of people learning hands-on how to navigate the Web using a screen reader.

Our meetup will be led by Al Puzzuoli, resident information technologist at Michigan State University’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.

How I Got Involved

I am very stoked to be one of three event hosts for GAAD and know that I am taking part in a global event all across the world. It is going to be a fun and exciting night; I hope to gain better knowledge of screen readers as well.

Thanks to Deborah Edwards-Onoro, one of three event hosts for GAAD, I learned about the event and how it was an actual “thing.” She reached out to me and asked if I would join her and Nick DeNardis as an event host. Without hesitation, I agreed.

For this event, I went on the hunt for volunteers to help with groups and using screen readers. My friend Marcy Sutton from Deque reached out to her peers and I have a few people from the Ann Arbor Deque office coming out to help with the event.

They will be bringing swag to give out to the attendees. I also designed and purchased custom stickers printed for the event to hand out as well.

Accessibility Matters

A11Y, or accessibility, is gaining wide popularity and visibility in the industry thanks to people like Marcy Sutton, Steve Faulkner, all the people working on The A11Y Project, and the many other people that hold a11y dear to their heart.

Also, with events like GAAD, it helps to spread the word that accessibility is important and should be taken very seriously.

I always say,

Accessibility is not an option, it’s a must.

Come out and join us on May 19th for a good night and gain some knowledge on a11y by people in the industry. The event is from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, cost to register is $5.00. Cheers!

What’s the Latest with Refresh Detroit?

We noticed we haven’t posted on the site for a while, gosh, it’s been over 1 1/2 years! Yikes!

So, here’s the latest news.

Nick DeNardis and I took time off last year with Refresh Detroit. Our last 2015 event was the annual Accessibility Summit we held at the University of Michigan.

We relaunched Refresh Detroit in 2015 with a remote talk in February by David Brooks, Designing Against Yourself.

In March, Chris DeMars returned to present Block Element Module (BEM). We had a great turnout, with many new members joining the discussion after the talk, with demos of how they’re using BEM in their work.

Do You Even BEM? laptop sticker

Last night, we held our first Geek Dinner, a casual get-together at Broderick Grille, to chat about our work, design, and catch up with other.

Next month, we’re partnering with Metro Detroit WordPress to host the third annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Detroit to raise awareness of digital accessibility in the products and services we design. We hope you’ll join us!

Plans for 2016

We want to hear from you! What are you interested in? What web and design topics, discussions, or presentations do you want to see happening at Refresh Detroit?

Do you have an interesting case study to share?

Or design problem you overcame in your work that you want to talk about? We’d love to have you speak to the group!

Nick and I are planning to send out a member survey to find out what will bring you to our next Refresh Detroit meetup. Expect to see it in the next couple weeks.