May Meeting: Accessibility is the New Black by Wendy Chisholm

  • 21 May 2013
  • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Aquent 1109 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103

May Meeting: Accessibility is the New Black by Wendy Chisholm

In a world of 30-second super bowl ads and 140-character tweets, how do you catch someone’s attention? When you get it, how do you communicate about something as complex as web accessibility? In this session we’ll talk about the issues we face helping large corporations make their web properties accessible. We’ll talk about tactics that have worked well and strategies that haven’t. This will be an insider’s perspective into corporate culture from two newbies to that culture.

This will not be a discussion of the color black (since we wouldn’t want to convey information in color alone!). This is about messaging web accessibility within a large organization, catching someone’s attention and maintaining it in order to create organizational change.
The title of the session refers to a phrase in the fashion world, “x is the new black,” which Wikipedia describes as "an expression used to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea.” We used this phrase because we wanted to talk about how we can make accessibility more accessible, just as companies like Ikea have made design more affordable. Accessibility clearly changes the world: smart phones exist because of universal design, yet most people don’t realize smart phones are built on assistive technologies like onscreen keyboards and screen magnification. Our job is to help our organizations embrace innovation and accessibility; to embrace not just a “fad” but a better way to design and build that we believe is timeless… kind of like the color black. We’ll talk about how we’re trying to do it.


Wendy is an author, activist and developer. She co-authored “Universal Design for Web Applications” with Matt May (O’Reilly, 2008). Before that, she co-edited Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and 2.0–the basis of  most web accessibility policies. As a Senior Strategist at Microsoft, she is working to make all web-related applications throughout the company accessible. Her personal mission is to find elegant solutions that remove  barriers that prevent everyone from participating fully in society. To learn more about her and her work visit


Aquent 1109 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103


6:30pm Light dinner and networking
7:00pm Introductions
7:10-8pm Speaker presentation
8-8:30pm Q&A

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