We want to explore accessibility from the perspectives of technology, profitability, politics, and higher education. Experts on seven panels will briefly describe their own work and their view of accessibility and then discuss the issues.

The entire event will be translated into German, English, and German Sign Language.

Friday, 27 March 2009

8:00 – 9:00 am
Arrival, coffee
9:00 – 9:20 am


Linda Mauperon | Member of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Information Society and Media

9:20 – 10:20 am

Accessible Web Applications

Desktop applications like e-mail are increasingly moving to the web. What are the market leaders doing to keep their applications accessible to as many people as possible? Which desktop paradigms are being adopted? How are web applications making new strategies necessary or possible?

10:20 – 10:40 am
Coffee break
10:40 – 11:40 am

Mobile Access – Device-independent or Accessible?

The requirements for accessible websites and the best practices for mobile devices overlap in many sections. Still critics insist that accessibility focuses on the person, not the device, so the needs of people with disabilities should be addressed first. But isn’t mobile use about people too? And how are the boundaries blurred when we take into account temporary disabilities caused by illness or accident?

11:40 am – 12:40 pm

Comparison of National Accessibility Guidelines

All European guidelines for web accessibility are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the W3C. Nonetheless, they differ fundamentally in their scope, emphasis, goals, and approach. What can we learn from one another? How and when will WCAG 2 be incorporated into legislation?

12:40 – 1:40 pm
Lunch break
1:40 – 2:40 pm

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA)

The forthcoming W3C standard for Accessible Rich Internet Applications adds machine-readable semantic information about how elements behave and relate to one another. This plugs the gaps in (X)HTML and creates the basis for an accessible Web 2.0. What is currently possible with ARIA? Can the ground rules of ARIA be applied to accessible Flash?

2:40 – 3:40 pm

Web Standards and Accessibility in Higher Education

Though experts say the browser is “the most hostile software development environment imaginable”, universities often deride HTML as not being a “real programming language”. As a result, some educators have fallen years behind current developments and are still teaching table-based layouts and font tags. This is making it increasingly difficult for companies to find qualified frontend developers. Why is this happening? How will the web standards and accessibility curricula developed by the panel participants help change this?

3:40 – 4:00 pm
Coffee break
4:00 – 5:00 pm

Harmonising European Accessibility Guidelines

Information and communications technologies (ICT) are responsible for half of all productivity growth in Europe. Accessibility opens up these technologies to the largest possible portion of the population. It is also a core principle of the e-Inclusion 2010 programme, which is designed to close the digital divide. Earlier today, we heard about the different approaches to accessibility being taken in Europe. Companies in Europe have an interest in standardised guidelines. Is there any hope of harmonisation? What measures are being implemented to achieve it?

5:00 – 6:00 pm

The Business Value of Accessibility

Accessibility has grown up. No longer a handout to marginal social groups or a tool for cultivating one’s image, accessibility now means maximising target groups, which goes hand in hand with real economic interests – a win-win strategy. How is this benefiting companies and society? What must be done to secure a long-term place for accessibility within companies?

from 6:00 pm

After Party

Moloko at Google Maps, Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse 1, 60311 Frankfurt

Delicious food and drinks in a cool atmosphere. The Moloko is wheelchair-accessible, alas the restrooms are not.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

from 10:00 am

Breakfast with Free WiFi

Iimori Pâtisserie at Google Maps, Braubachstrasse 24, 60311 Frankfurt

Breakfast for anyone still in Frankfurt. Charming Japanese-French café with WLAN. The entrance and part of the café are at ground level, but unfortunately the restrooms are tiny and not suitable for wheelchairs.