Online career fair for job-seekers with disabilities March 5th

Have you heard about this year’s Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair? They will be hosting 4 events this year, and the first one is less than 2 weeks away – Tuesday, March 5 from 1 to 4 pm EST. Employers are registering now for these one-of-a-kind online career fairs to recruit job seekers with disabilities nationwide.

This year’s TBTL Online Career Fairs will again be powered by Brazen Careerist and will connect job seekers with businesses like Pearson, United Therapeutics, and Aetna, who are actively recruiting qualified candidates with disabilities—all without leaving their computer. It will be a great event to meet and chat with businesses who are committed to building a diverse workforce!

There are currently over 150 registered job seekers but more are needed. Please help spread the word about this event so that moore businesses recruit qualified candidates with disabilities now.
For more information or to register, visit the event’s page online – For questions or additional information contact Laura Wilhelm at


Join Joseph K. O’Connor in a global effort to build a more accessible Word Press

The session that will be presented by Joseph Karr O’Connor at the CSUN 2013 International Technology and Persons with Disabilities conference in San Diego, California, promises to be a popular one. Joe will be focusing on WordPress accessibility, will be showcasing the work that has been achieved by the WordPress accessibility team, and will talk about Cities, a global effort to create free accessible themes for use with the WordPress blogging system.

WordPress is currently the most popular free blogging system in use on the web. It has many features including a template system that makes sites look and function as they do. Templates are free and available at where there are currently 1,691 themes. Only a handful of those themes allow information to be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. WordPress server software has recently been upgraded to version 3.5 with some new accessibility features for site owners, but it is not fully accessible. The presentation will report on the people involved in making the back-end of WordPress accessible, and the teams of accessibility experts from Mumbai, Sydney, New York, and several other cities who are building accessible themes.

O’Connor has an impressive history of contribution to the technology industry. He regularly attends local meetup groups in Santa Monica’s Silicon Beach to introduce the concept of accessibility to developers. During one of his many visits to local WordPress and general tech industry meetups to advocate for online accessibility, one member of the audience interrupted Joe. “Excuse me,” she said, “What is ‘accessibility’?” This is why Joe believes outreach is so important.

O’Connor realized there was much work to be done to raise awareness as to the specific barriers imposed by web developers who failed to create accessible online destinations. After years of searching for accessible themes for clients, Joe was struck by inspiration for the Cities project. He challenged teams of accessibility practitioners around the world to create accessible Word Press themes for free.

Joseph is also working with the team at to implement a voluntary theme accessibility assessment process. “Theme developers can submit themes with tags or categories for assessment.” O’Connor says. “This will be part of the regular theme checking process, but will be voluntary.”

Whether you are a WP theme developer or just a Word Press devotee, you are encouraged to attend joseph’s session. He hopes to have some themes ready at the time of his presentation, and sing the praises of the teams of volunteers working to submit accessible WordPress themes, which will be available through the themes directory. The presentation will be held on Thursday, February 28 at 1:50. All are welcome.

As if O’Connor isn’t busy enough, he is also hosting a WordPress Tweetup during the CSUN conference. The WordPress Accessibility Tweetup is on February 26, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, at the Hyatt, in the Paciello Group Suite. Show your support by signing up on Lanyrd at: or just show up!

Joe will also be doing WordPress 3.5 usability testing at the CSUN conference, and is seeking a wide range of users with whom to spend a few minutes to create screencasts that will be shown to WordPress developers.

More about Joseph Karr O’Connor:

Joseph Karr O’Connor lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife Linda, daughter Siobhan, daughter’s skilled companion dog Harriet, and cat, Achoo! His first career was in motion picture post production. Starting in 1991 his second career was computing in education. He found his true calling when Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act was enhanced to include web accessibility in 1998. Starting with in 1999 and moving to in 2005, web accessibility has been his focus. Now an accessibility consultant, he is working with Silicon Beach startups and international accessibility companies. He envisions a future where information is equally accessible to all.

You can follow @AccessibleJoe on Twitter, or you can visit his web sites:

Cities: Creating Accessible WordPress Themes

Black Telephone, Disability Rights
Twitter: @blacktelephone

To RSVP to attend O’Connor’s session, go here:

Don’t forget to use hashtag #CSUN13 when tweeting about the conference.


The 2013 Assistive Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference

If you are a person who has a disability, or if you know or love someone who does, you will soon have an opportunity to attend what could be a life-changing event. If you have never before attended the International Conference on Disability, presented by California State University, Northridge, I am going to work hard over the next few weeks to give you some compelling reasons to attend. This annual conference is the largest of its kind, and each year showcases the very latest assistive technologies, teaching techniques and best practices for web and mobile accessibility development, as well as the latest in disability-related policy news and legislation. You’ll hear inspiring words from thought leaders and educators, and you can experience the camaraderie and fellowship of others who may be living with a disability similar to your own. If you can only attend one event this year, this is the one to attend. There is truly something educational, fun and uplifting here for everyone.

Start with this link, below. It will take you to the main page, where you will find all the info you need. Attendee registration is now open, so make your plans soon.

If you want to explore the full list of educational sessions, click this link:

You will be amazed at the range of topics, and the depth to which they can be explored. If you are not a technology fanatic, don’t worry. There are sessions on just about every aspect of disability awareness, accessibility and advocacy. All levels of expertise are addressed at many sessions, so don’t let intimidation or feelings of technical illiteracy keep you away.

There are also some social events you can attend. For example, The Paciello Group, WebAIM, Infoaxia, PayPal, The Center on Disabilities at CSUN, EZFire, OpenDirective, and CA Technologies will coordinate and sponsor a tweetup at the CSUN Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference. The tweetup will be held Thursday, February 28th at 6:00pm at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego. Additional details will be coming soon. The tweetup is open to all Twitter users, but attendees are asked to RSVP.

Finally, be sure to use the hashtag #CSUN13 when tweeting about the conference. Check back here throughout February, as I will be showcasing a few of the presenters you can look forward to seeing at the conference. Make your travel arrangements early, and I look forward to seeing you there. You can follow me at @Accessible_Info on Twitter, so tweet me up so we can meet!


Abilities Expo to showcase products, services, entertainment for all abilities

Elegant Insights Braille Creations will be at the San Jose Abilities Expo on November 16-18, 2012 at the San Jose Convention Center where we would like to introduce you to all the great things we have to offer! In addition to Elegant Insights, there will be approximately 150 suppliers of products and services that will increase your quality of life through new technology, great seminars on important issues and networking that will meet your specific needs. There is NO CHARGE for the Expo and it’s the leading event for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals.


If you have not pre-registered, you can do so now and receive priority entrance to the show onsite.  In addition to the distinctive Elegant Insights Braille-embossed jewelry and accessories collection, here are just a few of the remarkable things that you will experience:

The latest products and services for people with ALL disabilities
Cutting-edge assistive technology at the AT Pavilion
No charge loaner scooters, wheelchair repair and sign language interpreters
Low-cost daily living aids at the Retail Pavilion
Special dance performance from AXIS Dance Company, as seen on So You Think You Can Dance
Face art for kids
Compelling workshops on the issues that make a difference to you
Canine assistance demos to learn how dogs can help their human partners
See real live horses in action and learn how they help people with disabilities
Meet the stars and get a sneak peek of season 2 of Push Girls, a new Sundance channel docu-series that traces the lives of four dynamic women in Hollywood who happen to be in wheelchairs
Hip-hop wheelchair dancing for the latest moves and great exercise
Adaptive sports
Essentials for seniors
And more!

The website is continually updated with new features so log on to as often as possible. You don’t even have to wait for the show to connect with your peers. “Like” the Abilities Expo Facebook Page today and weigh in on timely discussions, post comments on disability issues or get the latest show news. You can also follow them on Twitter and sign up for their monthly e-newsletter.

Abilities Expo San Jose will be here before you know it so mark your calendar now, Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18 at the San Jose Convention Center.
Find Elegant Insights on FB:
Chirp at us on Twitter:  @ElegantInsights



First ever Accessibility Camp L. A. promises education, inspiration, integration

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, the first ever accessibility camp will be held in the Los Angeles area.  The "un conference" will be held on the CSUN campus, in the Student Union.  The event runs from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and admission is free. 

Joe Devon (@joedevon) co-founder of Diamond Web Services, and Jennison Asuncion (@Jennison), co-lead the barcamp style gathering, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  "This is an informal, unstructured event," says Asuncion.  "This is not just for the advanced developer, or accessibility guru.  Everyone is invited, at all skill levels.  Beginners, as well as actual end-users who have disabilities, are critical to understanding the end-user experience." 
The L. A. accessibility camp was first conceived as a way to bring accessibility concepts to the attention of the many meetup groups scattered throughout the region.  Joe Devon, who is active in the Los Angeles area tech community, but not previously familiar with accessibility, became interested when he watched a video on screen reader technology for blind users, and was amazed.  "Screen readers are such an interesting technology," comments Devon.  "Then many years later I saw my Dad struggle with banking web sites and that got me thinking about it even more."

Mr. Devon used his personal and professional experience to make a difference.  "I wrote a blog post about how developers go on and on about changing the world, yet they build sites every single day that are inaccessible. That we should have a global accessibility awareness day for developers, which morphed into UI/UX as well."

Asuncion spotted Devon’s blog post, and the two connected.  They decided to collaborate on an event that became the Accessibility Camp L. A.
"The local tech community is the primary audience for these types of events, " says Asuncion.  Since the agenda is attendee generated, the speakers are not entirely known in advance.  "while some of the presenters may be names we know, such as John Foliot (@JohnFoliot) and Dennis Lembree, creator of Easy Chirp, ( @webaxe), some are not necessarily well-known in the accessibility field," continues Asuncion.  "In fact, on the registration form for the event, we asked each registrant to check the box that best describes their level of expertise.  The balance of the registrants checked the boxes that indicated ‘beginner’ or ‘just starting out’ in accessibility." 

Jennison hopes to ensure that no one feels too intimidated to ask a question or to just take someone aside for a chat about an issue.  "The emphasis here is on discussion, rather than presentation," he notes.  "We strongly advise people to use the ‘two feet’ rule, where if you find yourself in a session thinking, ‘Wow, this presentation is way over my head,’ feel free to just get up and leave."

If you have not already registered, you can do so at:  Be sure to make note on the registration form if you have any special requirements or if you need assistance, such as a guide, or if you have questions about transportation or access to food or other amenities.  You can follow @A11yCampLA on Twitter for news and information about the event. 

Finally, Jennison points out that while topics discussed include those that touch the blind or visually impaired community, this is meant to be a cross-disability gathering, covering technology accessibility topics that are important to individuals with a range of disabilities.  Further, you need not have a disability to attend.  "Any developer or average user who just wants to get their feet wet in accessibility, has a growing interest, or who just wants to learn in a non-threatening, informal environment can ask the questions they may not feel comfortable asking in a larger forum," Asuncion concludes. 

About Jennison Asuncion:
For the last three years, working alongside other peers in accessibility, Jennison has been actively organizing a series of accessibility barcamps/unconferences (link, where the goal is to educate on accessibility using a less formal approach than a traditional conference.

About Joe Devon:
Joe Devon is a computer programmer with over 20 years of development experience. Joe has worked on projects spanning Search Engine technology, Performance Management, scaling Wide Area Networks; for Internet backbone providers, Investment Banks, Telcos & Media. In addition to starting several companies, Joe serves on the advisory boards of leading development industry conferences, and the organizer of several technology oriented meetup groups in Los Angeles.  Joe co-founded Global Accessibility Day, bridging the gap between disabled citizens and the Internet.  For more about Mr. Devon, go here:


The first of this fall’s must-attend accessibility events

Unless the nature of your work requires that you attend numerous conferences around the country or the world, you probably only attend one or two of the largest each year, that pertain to your industry.  You may be well acquainted with the typical conference format, which usually consists of a carefully planned agenda, a specific focus or emphasis on topics discussed, with a set time for each.  There is often an opening session, a banquet, scheduled breaks, educational sessions, and speakers who are booked well in advance.

If this sounds familiar, and you have never attended an industry event that varies from this format, you may be interested to know that the traditional conference has evolved to include several fascinating newer permutations.  These less formal, less structured gatherings foster an environment of greater creativity, innovation, participation and exchange of information.  These events are sometimes referred to as "unconferences," or "bar camps."  According to Wikipedia, "A BarCamp is an international network of user-generated conferences (or unconferences) primarily focused around technology and the Web. They are open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants."

You can read more about the history and growing popularity of barcamps here:




There are a number of important accessibility and assistive technology industry events taking place this fall that are being characterized as "unconferences."  The first is scheduled for this month, and is one of the must-attend events this season.


Char James-Tanny is the lead coordinator for the Boston accessibility camp.  Char and I spoke about the event, and here is what you need to know:

The Boston Accessibility (Un)Conference takes place on Saturday, September 15, 2012, at the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s designed for anyone who wants to learn more about accessibility: design, development, documentation, and more.  What char really wants everyone to know is that this is a gathering for everyone, of all skill levels or technical expertise.  Everyone is welcome, whether you have a disability or not, even if you are just curious as to how a screen reader works.  James-Tanny says, "Our day starts at 8 am with a continental breakfast, registration, and networking, and continues with multiple sessions.  As we finalize the schedule, we will update our web site."

Sessions cover a variety of topics, from an introduction to accessibility and captioning to innovation to using assistive technology. Our opening speaker is Ronald Marlow, Massachusetts Assistant Secretary for Access and Opportunity. Our keynote speaker is Derek Featherstone from Simply Accessible.
This event is free to attend (donations are welcome) thanks to our sponsors,"  Says James-Tanny.

Sponsors include the Microsoft NERD Center, Accessible Media, Inc., Adobe, CA Tech, Digital Accessibility Centre, Interactive Accessibility, JTF Hosting (a division of JTF Associates, Inc.), New England Index, SSB BART Group, and The Paciello Group.

Don’t worry if you can’t attend, though, says Char:  "Some sessions will be recorded, and we will post links after the event concludes."

More about Char:  Char James-Tanny is president of JTF Associates, Inc. and has more than thirty years of experience as a technical communicator. She speaks around the world on topics including accessibility, Help authoring concepts and tools, social media, web standards, collaboration, and technology. Char has been a Microsoft MVP since 2002 and is the primary coordinator for the Boston Accessibility Conference.

For more information about the event, go here:



You can also follow @a11y_bos on Twitter for more information and updates.

More news about other must-attend accessibility events coming soon.  Stay tuned.



Technorati Tags: accessibility,barcamp,Boston,technology