Dataviz Fireside Chat

Later today, at 1pm ET, I’ll be joining some dataviz accessibility luminaries as a panelist on the Data Visualization Society’s fireside chat webinar, moderated by Amy Cesal. Join us for a chat about accessibility and data visualization on Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Sign up for the webinar

Doug Schepers – Director at Fizz Studio
Melanie Mazanec – Engineer at Bloom government digital services
Dr. John Gardner – Founder of ViewPlus
Sarah Higley – Software Developer at Microsoft


The communal notes are now available.

A11yDevs Meetup: Accessible Content Loading with SPAs

When: Monday, February 10, 2020 at 6pm
Where: Pendo, 150 Fayetteville St #1400, Raleigh, NC

Register now!

Topic: Content Loading That Isn’t Broken

How to create Accessible Single-Page Applications? Vue-Announcer announces useful information for screen reader users. Learn how to use this plugin to customize receive alerts and notifications as users navigate your application.

Presenter Bio

Maria Lamardo is a Front End Engineer at Pendo, who works with Vue.js and has a particular passion for web accessibility. She is a very active community organizer in the RTP area of North Carolina and beyond, serving as the founder of Devs@RTP, the Worldwide Event Manager and NC Chapter leader for Vue Vixens, and the Co-Founder of A11y Devs.

Follow us on Twitter at @A11yDevs!

A11yDevs Meetup: Accessible Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR)

Are you curious to learn how Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR) technologies can be made accessible? This presentation will cover the findings of the recent W3C Workshop on applying Inclusive Design to the development of XR standards for the Web. The presentation will be full of examples and lessons learned from the conference.

  • What are XR Accessibility User Needs
  • Key principles of making XR experiences accessible
  • Lessons from existing Accessible XR products & prototypes
  • Conclusions from the W3C XR workshop

Presenter Bio

Thomas Logan has spent the past seventeen years assisting organizations to create technology solutions that work for people with disabilities. Over his career, Thomas has delivered projects for numerous federal, state and local government agencies as well as private sector organizations from startups to Fortune 500s. He is the owner of Equal Entry, whose mission is: “contributing to a more accessible world.” He is also co-organizer of Accessibility New York – a monthly Meetup for people interested in topics related to accessibility and people with disabilities. Thomas lives in Tokyo, Japan.


When: Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 6pm
Where: Pendo, 150 Fayetteville, Raleigh

Register now!

And follow us on Twitter at @A11yDevs!

A11yDevs Meetup: Modern Web Holiday Party

We are super excited to be hosting our annual Triangle Modern Web holiday party and to be co-hosting with Devs@RTP, Code Craftmanship Saturdays, TriangleJS, Triangle Node.js, GDG Triangle, RTP Angular.js, Triangle Serverless, Triangle Elixir, Triangle ReactJS, & Triangle Ruby for this awesome event!

Come and help us celebrate the end of the year & the holidays with a special meetup featuring a cookie exchange, white elephant and plenty of exciting lightning talks! You won’t want to miss out!

When: December 17, 2019 from 6:30PM – 9:00PM
Where: Pendo (150 Fayetteville St #1400 Raleigh, NC)

Lightning talks by…

Rob Ocel
Senior Software Engineer, This Dot Labs
Talk: A quick introduction to state machines using XState

Wayne Hui
Software Backend Engineer, Pentair
Talk: Interacting with SQL Server

Lucas Spusta
Talk: Top 5 VS code extensions

… plus more to be announced!

Register now!

And follow us on Twitter at @A11yDevs!

A11yDevs Meetup: Focus on ARIA!

Join us for our next A11yDevs event, Monday, November 18, 2019 at 6pm in Durham!

Joel Crawford-Smith: Intro to ARIA

ARIA can be an intimidating and confusing topic. Even its name “Accessible Rich Internet Applications” is scary. But it does not need to be. There are some aspects of it that are safe for beginners, which can be beneficial to the people who rely on ARIA.

We need to rethink ARIA. ARIA is not writing code for a computer. ARIA is about improving human communication. Humans make content and interfaces for each other. The computer is just a translator. If we break ARIA down into nouns, verbs, and adjectives we can think about ARIA as short sentences. And most importantly, we will test what our sentences sound like on the other side of the screen reader.

Bio: Joel is a Duke Web Accessibility Administrator.

Maria Lamardo: Focus Management

Lets go over focus and how you can manage it in your application.

Bio: Maria Lamardo is a Front-End Engineer at Pendo


Register now!

And follow us on Twitter at @A11yDevs!

First A11y Meetup!

Join us for the first ever Triangle Accessibility event, Monday, August 26 at 6pm!

Curious about accessibility but aren’t sure where to start? Come learn the basics about web accessibility!

Sylvia Pellicore: Basic Accessibility Fundamentals

Bio: Sylvia speaks, writes, and teaches about accessibility, works as an accessibility coordinator, and also provides freelance accessibility consulting and training.

Phil Daquila: How We Talk About Accessibility

All accessibility advocates and professionals have to talk with others
about accessibility. Maybe that’s a colleague, or a boss, or an
organizational leader, or a corporate client, to get awareness,
understanding, and buy-in. You have to explain a complex social topic to
a mixed audience that wears many hats and have different levels of
understanding about technology and accessibility. This presentation will
briefly detail how to communicate many accessibility basics to a diverse

Bio: Phil Daquila, Digital Accessibility Consultant at Deque Systems. Phil spent many years in media production, before devoting himself to practicing accessibility in web development and user experience. He honed his skills at UNC-CH before taking a job with Deque, one of the most well-renowned accessibility consultancies in the world. He is interested in the tactical and strategic aspects of digital accessibility, in higher education and in corporate business.

Joel Crawford-Smith: Intro to ARIA

Joel has rescheduled… stay tuned!


6:00 pm – Pizza / Networking
6:30 pm – Intro
6:45 pm – Basic Accessibility Fundamentals
7:15 pm – Break
7:30 pm – How We Talk About Accessibility
8:00 pm – Networking

Register now!

And follow us on Twitter at @A11yDevs!

New Accessibility Meetup for RTP NC: A11yDevs

Fizz Studio is based in Chapel Hill, NC, in what we call the Triangle (RTP), and this area is lucky enough to have a good number of accessibility professionals. So, we’ve started a new accessibility meetup, A11yDevs! Triangle

Our goal with this meeting is to foster more local community among those professionals, as well as spread the word and teach others about best practices with inclusion.

We have some great local speakers planned, and we’re talking to hosts and sponsors. We’re also looking for more speakers.

If you’re interested in digital accessibility, and you live in the RTP area (or like to travel here!), please join A11yDevs, and follow us on Twitter at A11yDevs!

Update: new name!

To broaden our reach, reflect our pragmatic a11y solution focus, and sound a bit less like a company, we’ve changed the name of the meetup group from Triangle Accessibility / TriangleA11y to A11yDevs. All the names and links in our blog posts have been updated to avoid confusion.

Accessible Dataviz Talk at A11yNYC Meetup

If you’re in the New York City area, I hope you’ll come see my presentation on accessible data visualization at the @A11yNYC meetup on Thursday, June 13! This is a refinement of the talk I gave at CSUN 2019 and #a11yTo Conf 2018.

A11yNYC (Accessibility New York City) is an excellent meetup group. I’m very pleased to be speaking there, joining the ranks of other past presenters who I greatly admire. I met one of the organizers, Thomas Logan of Equal Entry, when we both spoke at a11yTo Conf, and he was gracious enough to give me a chance to speak at their meetup.

The show starts at 7pm, and it will be live captioned for the hearing impaired… if the captioner can keep up with me!

Register now! It’s free!


Data visualization doesn’t have to be visual! Don’t assume that a chart or diagram can’t be made accessible. In this talk, you’ll learn how the brain processes data visualizations, how we can leverage this to work with other senses, and tips and best practices for making complex graphical content available to all. We’ll also offer a direct comparison on different tools and software that make it easy to ‘accessibilify’ your diagrams.

Update: Video Recording

The video for my Data Verbalization presentation is now available for streaming, with captions.

Inclusive SVG talk at AccessU 2019

I’m honored to be teaching a workshop on Inclusive Web Graphics with SVG at Knowbility’s AccessU conference, one of the most well-respected accessibility conferences. At AccessU, you don’t just listen, you learn, through hands-on practice. My workshop is a practical tutorial, starting from scratch and bringing you up to expert (or at least well-informed) status on how to make your SVG graphics accessible.

This is a 3-hour workshop on Thursday, May 16, starting at 2pm and going through 5pm.

I’m pleased to be joined by my co-presenter, Eric Eggert, an old friend from W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative. Eric is one of those great highly technical people who puts people before technology.

That same day happens to be Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a day to spread the word about digital accessibility. I’ll be doing my part by teaching attendees how to make their graphical content inclusive.

I hope you can join me!

If you need some encouragement, here’s the session details.

Session Summary

Images, charts, and diagrams are an important part of the web, but often hide critical information from people with visual impairments. Learn how to make accessible graphics with SVG. This session will teach you the basics of SVG, show you tips and tricks to make your graphics accessible, and give you the tools to open up the world of images to people with disabilities.

Class Description

Scalable Vector Graphics has amazing potential to provide accessible images, diagrams, and charts. But you need to know how to unlock that potential.

This course will take the students from SVG novices to mastery of SVG accessibility, by walking step-by-step through handcrafting an accessible interactive diagram.

We’ll start with an overview of SVG, then delve into the syntax for making all the different types of SVG shapes. We’ll teach the basic features and capabilities of SVG, and the tricky parts of working with it, including the infinite canvas, the viewBox, the painter’s model of rendering, and layout in the coordinate system.

Then we’ll cover the built-in accessibility features of SVG, including existing and emerging ARIA attributes, as a foundation to build on throughout the session. We’ll talk about text and metadata text equivalents, such as the title and description elements and making sure they work as intended with ARIA. This will include live exploration of an SVG document with a screen reader.

Next, we’ll detail the different ways to include an SVG image in your HTML content, and how to do so accessibly, including using SVG icons. We’ll learn to style SVG with CSS, and learn how to use CSS media queries and responsive techniques to make SVG even more accessible in different contexts.

Then we’ll touch on using JavaScript with SVG, just enough to become familiar with it. Most of the course will focus on markup, styling, and declarative interactivity, but it’s important to know what capabilities scripting can bring to SVG for accessibility.

We’ll explore the importance of shape composition, document structure, reading order, managing navigation order, and element activation.

Since a complex SVG is one big image, we’ll help the the author decide which parts are important to describe in detail, and which to omit, in order to avoid overwhelming the user; we’ll discuss how to provide suitable context and how to give users the ability to drill deeper into a longer description of important parts of the image.

We’ll do a survey of the different kinds of information graphics, from diagrams to flow charts to different chart types, what the purpose of each is, and how to provide equivalent experiences for AT users.

To keep the class fun and practical, we’ll collectively decide as a class what kind of diagram we want to build together, then compose the diagram by hand-coding shapes and by finding and repurposing icons and other SVG assets in an accessible way, to end up with our final accessible diagram. Each student will work on their own or with a buddy to craft their unique take on our diagram. There will be lots of opportunities for hands-on-learning and individual help, as well as different approaches to making the same basic diagram accessible.

Time permitting, we’ll share our work within the class, so everyone can learn from and enjoy the others’ work.


Some experience with markup and JavaScript

CSUN 2019

I’m excited to be speaking at the CSUN Conference on Disabilities this year!

My presentation, Data Verbalization: Accessible Charts and Diagrams, is scheduled for Friday, March 15, 2019 at 1:20 PM. It’s one of the last talks of the conference, but I promise you it will be worth sticking around for.

I have a whole new slide deck, with all new material on the cognitive aspects of why data visualizations work for sighted people, and considerations for making equivalent affordances for non-sighted people. If you liked my Invisible Visualizations talk, you’ll love my Data Verbalization presentation!

And I’ll also have a guest star, the inimitable Mark Sadecki, an old friend from W3C, and a sales engineer at my client, Compliance Sheriff.

I’ll be there for the whole conference, so if you see or hear me in the halls, come say hi! I’d love to talk with you. And I look forward to seeing you at my presentation, and joining you for discussions afterward.