A round-up of powerful tweets from the #a11yTO Conference in Toronto

Culture · Oct 25, 2018

Last week, the TELUS Toronto office became home to over 300 participants for the second annual #a11yTO accessibility conference. The crowd was a diverse mix of people - some were experts in their field, others were new faces, but everyone sat together to open their minds about digital accessibility.

A11y is a numeronym (a number-based word used to form an abbreviation). 11 represents the eleven letters between the A and the Y in the word accessibility.

A11y is a reference to web or digital accessibility. It is important to note that accessibility in the tech space can be described as the design of products, devices, or services for people of varying abilities. Anyone can meet a barrier when accessing content online and it’s our job as technical experts (whether you’re a developer, designer, product owner or writer) to build or implement solutions that overcome these barriers. 

The two-day, one track conference was comprised of lectures, demos, and lightning talks from local and world-renowned speakers. If you were unable to join in person, the conversation continued on Twitter through #a11yTOConf. There were so many impactful tweets and it was hard to fit them all into one list. Here is a snapshot of some of our favourites:

"Most people don't intentionally create inaccessible experiences, they're just not aware of the issues." @LadieAuPair#a11yTOConf

Accessibility Tests

“It doesn’t matter how good your code is. If something isn’t accessible to the individual at the moment, your product is BAD to them.” - @SassyOutwater at #a11yTOConfpic.twitter.com/uwTvZh5lqp

“Think accessibility. Think sustainability. Think sustainable accessibility” @sambhavi#a11yTOconfpic.twitter.com/3RUibSwwDW

"Simulators are not for validation they’re for ideation, don’t role play disabilities" ~ @LadieAuPair#a11yToConf

"@ShellELittle provides a great analogy for those doing the bare minimum to meet WCAG: "Would you want to be in a building that just met the fire code? Or rather be in a building well above it?" #a11yToConf


"Feature that people with dyslexia and ADHD use #a11yTOConf#a11y@ShellELittlepic.twitter.com/p21LryihLt

"Write alt text for humans not robots, write descriptive links, provide alternative ways to access your media." @cariefisher#a11y#seo#a11yTOConf

“Focus styles aren’t ugly. It’s your thinking that is” - @ericwbailey on importance of focus styles #A11yTOConf

"Risks associated with maintaining accessibility include:
1. Critical employee turnover (SME)
2. Inadequate accessibility training
3. Regulatory requirements
4. Inadeqaure oversight in PM
5. Loss of technology interoperability" @sambhavi#a11yTOConf


#a11yTOConf@alwarpillai: “Co-design is the process of empowering users to make design decisions.” pic.twitter.com/IxsUR4ZxhY

“Simulating disabilities promotes distress [...] undermining efforts to integration."

Paraphrasing: simulation needs to be part of ongoing discussion with actual people with disabilities to promote understanding and respect. @detonite#a11yTOConf

"Doug @shepazu wrote a screen reader to verbalize data. He described it as “as good as a table. Which is sometimes good.” My mind is blown. Accessibility is hard. #a11yTOConf


"A11y for gaming does not mean “dumbing down” or completely removing challenges. It’s allowing people to play and enjoy at their own skill level" #a11yTOconfpic.twitter.com/fFF6wD30xb

"Diversity is our world's greatest asset and inclusion is our greatest challenge" #a11yTOConf


"Add annotations on designs and create accessible components and put those requirements on JIRA" @heydonworks#a11yTOConf#a11ypic.twitter.com/qghBT9BS9r

"If your React app isn't accessible, it's not @jessebeach s fault, it's not Reacts fault, it's not Facebooks fault. It's your fault." - @svinkle#a11yTOConf


"Move past the minimum! @melbanyard on how meeting with users helps you go beyond baseline accessibility standards." #a11yTOConfpic.twitter.com/7hWj5q2CbA

TELUS Digital is continuously striving to become a better ally in the accessibility space. Read about our evolving practices from a previous post. To learn more about A11y event in the GTA, check out their website or follow them on Twitter!


@a11yTO doing it right at #a11yTOConf . Multiple presentation screens, live transcription, sign language interpreter -- leading by example. #a11y#accessibility#torontopic.twitter.com/BvT6HLRStV

— parv (@parvdesa) October 16, 2018

Authored by:
Chantelle Sukhu, content manager
Chantelle Sukhu
Communications Manager
Chantelle Sukhu is the Editor of the TELUS Digital blog. When she’s not editing, you can catch her blogging about mental health or stirring up a good cocktail. Twitter @chantellesukhu