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RE: Questions about the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP)

From: Léonie Watson <tink@tink.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 10 May 2014 22:08:08 +0100
To: "'John Foliot'" <john@foliot.ca>, "'WebAIM Discussion List'" <webaim-forum@list.webaim.org>, "'Phill Jenkins'" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Cc: <info@accessibilityassociation.org>, <Rob.Sinclair@microsoft.com>, <ddikter@atia.org>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008a01cf6c93$f1ca6800$d55f3800$@tink.co.uk>
John Foliot wrote:
"... do we have any indication that there is a need for such a mechanism?
Has anyone stepped forward and suggested "we should form a committee or task
force about X,Y,Z, if only there were a place to do so"?  Within the very
limited scope of the IAAP Mission Statement (or even looking beyond), has
anyone proposed *any* ideas in this area? It is well and good to suggest
that a framework for doing this will be created within the IAAP, but without
a clear need, what will stop this from being yet another empty box? (I hate
that this even sounds negative, but it is also a pragmatic and realistic

One possibility is to foster local accessibility groups. There has been some
success in the US with this, but it's something that has far greater
potential than is being realised at the moment. The IAAP won't suddenly
change that, but it's quite possible that people will think a good place to
start a group for local accessibility professionals, is under the auspices
of an international association of accessibility professionals, rather than
trying something on their own.

That's perhaps something else worth thinking about. It's relatively easy for
those of us who are engaged with the accessibility community to start
something, draw people together and work on some initiative. For the people
less engaged, less plugged into the community if you like, it probably isn't
that easy. If someone like that has an idea, doing it as an IAAP group could
seem like a good way to get started, and to reach a lot more potential
participants than their own networks might permit.

"I think as well that there already exists today numerous forums independent
of IAAP where like minded professionals in our space already gather. One
such place, that you and I are very familiar with, is the W3C."

Very true, and I can't think of a better place for those kinds of groups to
be based. But what what about communities outside of the web or without a
purely technical focus?

Project managers who want to identify the best way to embed accessibility
into agile methodologies, graphic designers who think it would be useful to
develop guidelines for maintaining accessibility in the switch between
digital and physical media, UX practitioners who want to draw up a manifesto
for usability testing with disabled people, web managers who want to look at
practical steps for creating and implementing organisational accessibility
strategies. Just a few ideas, possibly some of them already being done
someplace I don't know about, but getting into the weeds of specific
examples isn't the point.

"The reality is simply this: the "idea" of groups is far stronger than the
outcome of that idea. There are plenty of 'committees and task-forces' today
that exist on paper, but produce little more. How and what will the IAAP do
differently to overcome that problem?"

True, but there are also groups that accomplish a great deal. As to what the
IAAP will do to overcome the "paper group" problem, I don't know. That said,
in my experience the success of a group rarely has much to do with the board
of the organisation, and far more to do with the people who are active
participants in those groups.

I'm glad you're asking these questions John. The steps our industry takes
should be a matter for discussion by the industry at large,and the more
people that get involved in these conversations the better. Keep it up my

Received on Saturday, 10 May 2014 21:08:44 UTC

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