Changing the world – on a tiny budget.


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Keynote speech:
Jutta Treviranus, Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)

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Changing the world – on a tiny budget.

  1. 1. Changing the World - on a tiny budget Jutta Treviranus Director, Inclusive Design Research Centre & Inclusive Design Institute OCAD University Toronto, Canada
  2. 2. The imperative.... • Being online is no longer optional • To study, work, vote, buy things, receive healthcare, socialize, express our opinion, volunteer, travel, manage our finances, receive government services, enjoy culture..... • Rich Internet Applications are becoming the norm for anything interactive • Exclusion will lead to dire social consequences for society • Inaccessible interfaces will exclude a growing number of users
  3. 3. The seemingly insurmountable mission... • a tiny global community • very limited resources • technically complex agenda that not yet fully defined • addressing thousands of moving targets • some in areas we are restricted from • across a huge disjointed terrain
  4. 4. The very risky wager.... • RIAs are created by an ever-increasing number of developers • Using a changing and growing set of tools • Implementing ever-evolving designs • We need to: • reach every developer • affect every development tool • respond to every advance in design
  5. 5. Even worse... • Many developers use closed proprietary development environments • Many create applications using mash-ups that draw components from disjointed sources • Most know nothing about accessible design • Some don’t care • All have competing priorities
  6. 6. How to win friends and influence people... • Isn’t this the age old accessibility story? • Advocacy and education at the highest levels • If we don’t have power let’s befriend people who do • Not as easy as decreeing that there shall be ramps • Hard to communicate what RIAs are and what is needed to make them accessible • With complicated provenance of most applications we cannot depend on power hierarchies
  7. 7. The cost of appealing to human kindness... • But our mission is noble and our need is great • If we appeal to developers they must respond with charity and kindness • Most people ignore the appeals • Untenable power imbalance without lasting change • With charity comes debt • Appeals become irksome • We become pariahs to be avoided
  8. 8. The Problem with Blunt and Rigid Instruments • Laws and policies? • Laws work when the changes are clear, simple, well understood, consistent and stable • Long time to enact and a long time to change • Require easily testable and consistent criteria not dependent on subjective judgment or contextual exceptions • No room for subtlety or diverse approaches • No room for experimentation
  9. 9. The problem with black and white and one-size- fits-all • disability is not a binary • greater relevant diversity in people grouped as “disabled” than in those grouped as “non-disabled” • fewer degrees of freedom to conform to assigned grouping • design compromises made for one person to help another • need to move from one-size-fits-all to one-size-fits-one
  10. 10. Why people don’t do what is good for them... • Changes would benefit everyone • Will help with device independence, mobile delivery, reuse, updating, maintenance and general usability • Good for developers and providers of applications • Developers should implement changes for their own good, the good of their employers and their customers • Human nature to work toward own self interest • But.... • brushing teeth, documentation....
  11. 11. Precarious Values • No one would disagree that they are important but ... • when other matters compete for our attention they are the last to be considered • disproportionate vulnerability to procrastinations • frequently fall off the table all together
  12. 12. Cacophony is no way to communicate • Must reach agreement on strategy • Cannot give contradictory messages • No room for competition or egos
  13. 13. Levers and Food Chains • Development tools and toolkits • One lego block at a time • Beginning of the food chain • The lesson of iodine and flouride
  14. 14. Concrete and Good Habits • Conventions become more stubborn and impervious to change as they cure or age • Their effect propagates like rabbits or bed bugs becoming more difficult to eradicate • Actions must be timely and close to the beginning • We must establish positive habits
  15. 15. Hitch-hiking and the Virtuous Virus • Other, more popular causes going the same direction • Infecting and infusing accessibility • Virtually invisible • Indivisible from host
  16. 16. The art of persuasion, the art of seduction, the science of judo • repackaging accessibility • shedding the myth that accessible design is: • Drab • “Dumbed down” • More costly • More time consuming • appropriating the power of the opponent
  17. 17. Two year olds, teenagers, Tom Sawyer, networks and feeling needed • well if you are doing it... • wasn’t it my idea? • the privilege of doing the right thing • virtuous networks and personal engagement • bottom up rather than top down
  18. 18. Biting, chewing, swallowing and managing expectations • Establishing boundaries, defining scope? • Exclusion • Changing landscape • Organic growth from a solid core?
  19. 19. Pouncing where the mouse has been... • Always playing catch up • Need to predict and drive the innovation
  20. 20. Change the world? • We don’t have the muscle • We don’t have the numbers • We don’t have the money • We have the heart • We have the community • We must have the cohesion • We must have the smarts