Day One

  1. Registration Opens


  2. Conference Launch


  3. What We're Here For

    Matt May

    9:40am – 10:20am

  4. Morning Break

    10:20am – 10:50am

  5. Annotating Designs for Accessibility

    Anna E. Cook

    10:50am – 11:30am

  6. Datepickers & Dialogs

    Sarah Higley

    11:30am – 11:50am

  7. A Web of Anxiety: developments in accessibility for people with anxiety and panic disorders

    David Swallow

    11:50am – 12:30am

  8. Day One Lunch

    12:30pm to 1:40pm

  9. Stakeholders agree that accessibility is important but that does not mean they will invest in accessibility

    David Dame

    1:40pm – 2:00pm

  10. We Suck at Hiring Accessible Designers & How To Fix It

    Shell Little

    2:00pm – 2:40pm

  11. Accessibility in Action: Indigenous Communities

    Meggan Van Harten

    2:40pm – 3:00pm

  12. Afternoon Break

    3:00pm – 3:20pm

  13. An inclusive design workflow for teams

    Scott Vinkle

    3:20pm – 4:00pm

  14. Designing for accessibility, equality, equity and fun in kids digital content

    Olena Sullivan

    4:00pm – 4:20pm

  15. How COVID-19 Impacted Accessibilty - Industry Lessons and Takeaways

    Greg Williams

    4:20pm – 5:00pm

Day Two

  1. Accessibility Research as a Space for Tech Innovation

    Anna Tendera

    9:00am – 9:20am

  2. Continuous Accessibility

    Melanie Sumner

    9:20am – 10:00pm

  3. No Coding Required: Writing Tips for Accessible Content

    Ann Mayer

    10:00am – 10:20pm

  4. Morning Break

    10:20am – 10:50am

  5. Don't Panic! A practical guide to accessibility

    Michaela Peterhansl

    10:50am – 11:30am

  6. How to Engage Accessibility Champions

    Niki Ramesh

    11:30am – 11:50am

  7. You Can't Teach Giving a Sh*t

    Jonny James

    11:50am – 12:30pm

  8. Day Two Lunch

    12:30pm to 1:40pm

  9. Intentionally Inclusive Product Workflows

    Julianna Rowsell

    1:40pm – 2:20pm

  10. Under-Engineered Patterns

    Adrian Roselli

    2:20pm – 3:00pm

  11. Afternoon Break

    3:00pm – 3:20am

  12. Learning from Cognitive and motor a11y research

    Jennifer Payne

    3:20pm – 4:00pm

  13. Focus People, Focus! Focusing on Focus States for Designers.

    Karen Hawkins

    4:00pm – 4:20pm

  14. Setting accessibilty specialists up for success in organizations

    Devon Persing

    4:20pm – 5:00pm

  15. Conference Wrap Up


What We're Here For

If you're coming to #a11yTO, you care about accessibility. It's time to ask what, apart from standards and legal compliance, is required of us to actually make systems that work better not only for disabled people, but connects disability rights with the pantheon of civil rights and social justice movements. This session will put accessibility and inclusive design in the broader context of disability rights, civil rights, equity and justice, and suggests what we as advocates should be advocating for in our own roles and processes.

Annotating Designs for Accessibility

A core aspect of accessibility comes down to our designs, from the patterns we create to what we work with developers to build. What we include in our designs and prototypes can communicate many core aspects of accessible design, but some pieces get lost. When designs and prototypes alone are not enough, we can use accessibility annotations. In this workshop, attendees learn what gaps that accessibility annotation can fill and when and how to use them.

Datepickers & Dialogs

A wizard, a druid, and a bard walk into a cave, and must confront the dreaded beast within: a mutant datepicker. As product requirements hurl through the air, the three battle the low-contrast designs of the mounstrous UI component. Will they succeed in crafting something even vaguely accessible? That will depend on how well the audience rolls their dice...

No matter what the end result is, we'll examine how the choices made along the way impacted the accessibility of the final product. Hopefully everyone will walk out better equipped for future battles against even stronger component monsters.

A Web of Anxiety: developments in accessibility for people with anxiety and panic disorders

Awareness of the impact of online accessibility for people with anxiety and panic disorders has grown in recent years. High-pressure sales tactics and deceptive patterns have caught the attention of lawmakers. Banks have introduced new measures to support vulnerable customers. Social media companies have recognized the impact of their services on users’ mental health. But has this made any difference?

In this talk, David will provide an update on developments in understanding this often-overlooked aspect of web accessibility. He'll explore aspects of user interface and user experience design that contribute to feelings of anxiety and panic. He'll also examine whether the web is still as anxiety-inducing as ever, highlight recent initiatives aimed at addressing anxiety-related issues, and share recommendations on what organizations can do to improve the user experience for people with anxiety and panic disorders.

Stakeholders agrees that accessibility is important but that does not mean they will invest in accessibility

Just because product leadership agrees with accessibility does not mean they will fund accessibility. In this talk I will share techniques on how to shift product investment for accessibility from best intentions to investment into roadmaps and features. I will share how to utilize marketshare and other product management influencing measures to getting accessibility built. Also, touch on teaching companies that the people who use their product should reflect those that build their product. Having PwDs in the org makes the need of accessibility more personal.

Why We Suck at Hiring Accessible Designers & How To Fix It

As the field of accessibility continues to grow, so does the need for Accessible Designers. The talent is out there, but the way we are trying to hire them isn’t cutting it. Between bloated job descriptions, confusion on what skills a good candidate should have, & the pressure for ‘unicorn designers’, we have some serious room for growth. In this talk, Shell Little will discuss her best practices from 6+ years of hiring Accessible Designers. She will discuss the dos & don’ts of writing the job description, what to look for in candidates, & explain her curated interview questions. In addition, for the first time, Shell will be sharing her infamous technical interview tool lovingly known as her ‘Cursed Wireframes’ & discuss how you can build your very own. Together we can get talent into the right roles so we can continue to unf*ck the internet.

Accessibility in Action: Indigenous Communities

We know accessibility is good for all but what happens when accessibility principles don’t work for all Indigenous communities? In this talk, Meggan will explore how cultural considerations and Indigenous perspectives encourage increased uptake of accessibility principles and how you can apply accessibility standards in a meaningful way for an Indigenous audience. Meggan will share her agency experience and how Design de Plume has created accessible Indigenous projects that are engaging and relatable for Indigenous audiences.

An inclusive design workflow for teams

People expect websites and apps to be fast, to "just work" on their device, and to keep their sensitive data secure. But what about accessibility? Yes, people expect accessible user experiences, too. As a product team, how do we go about providing this?

In this talk, Scott Vinkle will share his experience while working with Shopify's Flagship Themes team. Scott will explain how he implemented a new team-wide workflow which included accessibility in each aspect of the product creation lifecycle. This resulted in the team shipping highly accessible themes by default.

Designing for accessibility, equity and fun in kids digital content

When you think about designing digital content for kids, the first words that come to mind are wow, colour, and fun. But there's more to consider when it comes to creating engaging content that is accessible and equitable for all kids.

How COVID-19 Impacted Accessibility - Industry Lessons and Takeaways

This presentation will explore digital accessibility and its impact from the 2019 COVID beginning through present day. We’ll discuss some real experiences of people with disabilities, the reaction of companies to the growing accessibility needs, government interest and intervention, and how you can ensure that your company is ready to both sustain accessibility gains and be ready for the next digital event.

Accessibility Research as a Space for Tech Innovation

A growing number of companies recognize user research as an essential part of product development. However, there is still a lack of acknowledgement that research in accessibility provides an opportunity to go beyond basic compliance and venture into the innovation space. At this talk, I will discuss the value of conducting accessibility research and its possible effects on future user experiences.

Continuous Accessibility

How can we make continuous accessibility a reality? In this talk, you'll learn a strategic approach for how to implement continuous accessibility, as well as the work still needed to make this a complete reality.

No Coding Required: Writing Tips for Accessible Content

When it comes to accessibility, development teams often think of a writer’s input as a “nice to have”, rather than a necessity. Even WCAG provides lots of guidance for developers and designers, but very little for content writers. But words matter - not just the words you choose, but also how you organize them - and they can make a huge difference to the usability of your site. In this talk, we’re going to explore some tips and tricks that can help you write useful, usable, accessible content.

Don't panic! A practical guide to accessibility

You don't have to have "accessibility" in your job title to become a driving accessibility force in your team! It often comes down to persistence, awareness, and the determination to inspire others for this important topic. We're gonna talk about the steps and initiatives you can take to raise importance of this topic, and to eventually make accessibility happen in your team and project, without having to be an all-knowing expert from the start.

How to Engage Accessibility Champions

Imagine you’ve identified a group of accessibility champions in your organization and they are ready to get going. How do you engage them consistently and scale your champions network? Welcome to the hard part! Today’s talk will go over different models that organizations have used to build up and create a sustainable champions network. We’ll cover the structure of champions networks, common challenges and tactics to keep individuals engaged.

You Can't Teach Giving a Sh*t

Bootcamp grads are being suckered into handing over their money with the promise of a new career in web development, but there's one detail missing from the curriculum: Web Accessibility.

Intentionally Inclusive Product Workflows

A look at multi-disciplinary teams and their roles and responsibilities to build products that can scale for accessibility, usability and representation in product equity. We will explore holistic approaches to accessibility and inclusive design in practice, process and policy.

This toolkit will help you and your teams bake in accessibility and inclusive design testing processes, evaluation methods and ways of working in your product plans and focuses on developing relationships with the communities we serve.

Under-Engineered Patterns

Sometimes a developer will reach for a library or framework for the most basic kinds of controls, such as form fields. Reasons vary from design flexibility to less time spent coding that one instance. But the impact can be significant for page weight, accessibility, and maintenance. Instead, I will walk through some of what HTML offers already and show how you can still satisfy design and code requirements without the potential side effects.

Learning from cognitive and motor a11y research

When we think about accessibility, we often think about building for users who are blind or low vision. While this work is incredibly important, it’s not all there is to it– it’s important to consider a multitude of disabilities in product development. In this talk, Jen will focus on user research with individuals with motor disabilities and cognitive differences. You’ll learn tips for effective research in these areas!

Focus People, Focus! Focusing on Focus States for Designers.

Focus, people. We need to focus. On focus states that is. The top accessibility issue identified in our design evaluation service is the lack of a designed focus state for individual components. Sure, sometimes people think about a hover state, but that’s for mouse users. What about keyboard users? How are they supposed to know where they are on page without a properly designed focus state? In this talk we will discuss the importance of well-designed focus states, and we will explore the accessibility requirements of focus states for some common components.

Setting accessibility specialists up for success in organizations

Accessibility specialists, as well as designers, developers, and testers who want to center accessibility in their work, can often feel overwhelmed and unsupported. We're frequently asked to be responsible for organization-wide change management, project and program management, evangelism, road maps, training, testing, and mentorship. We often risk burnout and failure in systems that are not actually designed to help us succeed. In this talk, I'll explore some of the ways that we're let down, and ways we can center caring for ourselves to keep doing the work.

Public Health Guidelines

Attendees will be required to follow public health guidelines set out by the province and the venue. Currently, our venue does not require proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Even though masks are not mandatory, we encourage you to still wear one whenever you wish, and to respect everyone's choices around masks. We will also have some available at the venue.

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