Presentations and workshops

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to publicly speak about my work and offer learning opportunities.

I’ve collected recordings and slides here, mainly to help keep me organized.

My approach to presenting: As a rule, I only give presentations or lead workshops when I am able to provide a unique perspective, knowledge set or experience. There are many people available to share their expertise in web accessibility, design systems and digital strategy, and I don’t want to take away from their opportunity. However, when I feel there is a presentation or workshop I am uniquely positioned to deliver, I’m excited to do so!

Upcoming presentations

Don’t sleep on WCAG 2.2: it helps real people

A net-new talk, coming soon to #a11yTO Camp!

Date: May 14, 2024

What’s the point of WCAG 2.2, and is meeting WCAG 2.1 good enough?

Let’s investigate some of the real-world barriers that WCAG 2.2 addresses, and how adopting WCAG 2.2 will help real people.

Learn more about the #a11yTO Camp 2024 event.

Design Systems: The Key to Sustained Web Accessibility?

Does having an accessible design system translate to having accessible digital products?

Join me as I present my findings on the connections between organizations with design systems, organizations with accessible websites, and organizations with both.

This new presentation is slated for two upcoming conferences.

John Slatin AccessU Conference

Date: May 14, 2024

Learn more about the talk on the AccessU Conference website.

University of Guelph Accessibility Conference

Date: May 30, 2024

More details about the talk will be posted soon. In the meantime, learn about the conference on the University of Guelph Accessibility Conference website.

Beyond Accessibility Basics: Charting a Path for the GOV.UK Design System

I’ll be enhancing my ‘design systems accessibility strategy’ talk for the upcoming John Slatin AccessU Conference!

Date: May 14, 2024

Read the full presentation description on the AccessU conference website.

So far this presentation has come in 45-minute and 20-minute versions. Now, it will be enriched and expanded to a 75-minute version. That means there is more time to cover the nuances of handling web accessibility for major organizations and design systems.

In this presentation, you’ll learn:

  • how to collaboratively build a practical accessibility strategy
  • six ‘priority levels’ that can be used to prioritize most web accessibility work
  • the hidden benefits of accessibility documentation within teams

Charting a path for the GOV.UK Design System

I presented at an Accessibility Toronto (#a11yTO) meetup, speaking on the value of creating accessibility strategies for design systems and central accessibility programs within organizations.

The full presentation title was “Beyond accessibility basics: charting a path for the GOV.UK Design System”.

More than 80 people attended the in-person meetup, which was not recorded. The meetup was held at the Microsoft Toronto offices on January 30, 2024.

5 key takeaways for creating an accessibility strategy:

  1. Make it practical
  2. Don’t shy away from making decisions as a team
  3. Embrace public and phased drafts
  4. Web accessibility is big, so prioritize
  5. State what you’re not going to do, and why

Inspecting WCAG 2.2

I facilitated a series of workshops on three of the new criteria in WCAG 2.2. I specifically selected criteria that can be a bit more complex to navigate.

The three workshops were each attended by approximately 200 people and were hosted remotely through Zoom video conferencing.

Each workshop was 2 hours long and consisted of approximately 10 segments:

  1. Welcome
  2. Introduction to WCAG 2.2
  3. Information about the workshop series
  4. Explanations of the WCAG criteria being inspected
  5. Tips on how to inspect websites to find places that might fail the specific WCAG criteria
  6. Demonstrations of the WCAG criteria in action
  7. An interactive ‘breakout’ activity
  8. Sharing findings from the activity
  9. Questions and final thoughts
  10. Wrap-up

Inspecting ‘Focus not obscured’

This workshop from July 2023 went in-depth on the new WCAG 2.2 criteria, 2.4.11 ‘Focus not obscured (minimum)’ and 2.4.12 ‘Focus not obscured (enhanced)’.

Imran Hussain facilitated the workshop and Chris Ballantine-Thomas moderated the chat.

Inspecting ‘Target size’

This workshop from July 2023 went in-depth on the new WCAG 2.2 criterion, 2.5.8 ‘Target size’.

Kelly Lee facilitated the workshop and Charlotte Downs moderated the chat.

Inspecting ‘Accessible authentication’

This workshop from July 2023 went in-depth on the new WCAG 2.2 criteria, 3.3.8 ‘Accessible authentication (minimum)’ and 3.3.9 ‘Accessible authentication (enhanced)’.

Steve Messer facilitated the workshop and Kelly Lee moderated the chat.

Manually testing a component’s accessibility

During my time on the GOV.UK Design System team, I developed a workshop in collaboration with Imran Hussein.

Watch a recording of the manual accessibility testing workshop on YouTube.

The idea was twofold:

  • We wanted to help demonstrate how teams across the UK public sector can test and assess the accessibility of components they contribute to the GOV.UK Design System
  • We wanted to test the accessibility of the community-built update for the task list component

With the support and advice of Frankie Roberto and the task list working group community, Imran and I developed the workshop, and scheduled it for March 2023.

The workshop was 90 minutes long and consisted of 5 segments:

  1. Info about the task list component and it working group
  2. Learning about manual accessibility testing methods
  3. Demonstrations of manual accessibility tests
  4. Info on available assistive technologies and reporting tools
  5. Questions and feedback

We ended up selling out the first event, and decided to run a second session 1 week later to meet demand. In total there were 500 attendees across the two sessions.

Accessibility in design systems

For Design System Day 2022, I developed and moderated a 1-hour keynote panel discussion, to explore the intersection between accessibility and design systems.

Learn more about the keynote panel on the GOV.UK Design System website.

Watch a recording of the keynote panel on YouTube.

The six panelists come from a varied set of UK civil service, broader public sector and private sector organizations. They all had one thing in common: working on web accessibility for a design system. This allowed us to contrast a range of experiences and ideas related to improving web accessibility within and through a design system.

In addition to myself, the panelists were:

  • Anna E. Cook, Senior designer for accessibility on Azure, Microsoft
  • Michael Cheung, Frontend developer working on accessibility for the design system, NHS Digital
  • Philip Strain, Product lead for accessibility & design systems, Miro
  • Shabana Ali, Accessibility frontend developer, HMRC
  • Sophie Beaumont, Accessibility lead, BBC WebCore

Creation of the panel and selection of panelists was supported by Imran Hussein.

Improving web accessibility at the scale of a government

I presented on my recent experiences in improving web accessibility within large governmental organizations at a weekly Civic Tech Toronto hacknight in November 2022.

Watch a recording of the presentation on YouTube.

Digitizing services is a massive and ongoing project for governments around the world. If done correctly, this work can make taxes, permits and even healthcare simpler, faster and better for everyone. And since things like taxes aren’t optional, ‘everyone’ needs to be a term that includes people with disabilities and access needs.

But how exactly can a government build enough digital tools to encompass the work of an entire civil service, while keeping accessibility in mind?

This presentation doesn’t provide a full answer, but explores how the UK Government’s centralized design system helps improve accessibility for hundreds of digital services, nudging everyone towards a more accessible future.