Posted by: PharaohKatt | 12-05-2011

WASFF Accessibility Policy Part Two: The Policy

Here is a start for an accessibility policy for WASFF. Please add, take, comment, talk etc.
This is only a bare-bones start. If you think it’s terrible and want to write a completely different policy, feel to do so in comments. This is just a jumping off point.

Also, the SF Wiki has started having this conversation too. You can add to it here: http://wiki.sf.org.au/Accessibility

The following policy will relate to WASFF and all conventions that are run as a subsidiary of WASFF:

Web Accessibility
Every attempt will be made to ensure that websites are accessible to all members of the community. To ensure this:

  • Websites will be easily used with read-over text and screen readers
  • All images will have alternative text description
  • Hyperlinks will open in the same browser (unless the specific browser forbids it from the user side)
  • Websites will be accessible from a variety of different browsers and readers

Venue Accessibility
To maximize accessibility in the convention venue the following will be used in as part of the selection criteria for the venue:

  • provision of seats in an area central to the convention area and near the panel rooms
  • wheelchair and mobility vehicle access throughout convention space
  • availability of foods for the various diets of our members
  • AV facilities to support panelists being heard

Where the hotel selected could not meet all of the above the con committee will be notifying members of the limitations and providing alternatives where practical, eg listing eating locations with dietary options that are catered for & providing AV independent of the hotel.

In addition to the above panel rooms will be set up with priority seating at the front and rear with aisles large enough for wheel chairs and mobility vehicles.

Other Accessibility Areas:

  • Programs will be made available in large print format
  • Maps will be provided detailing the venue layout, accessible entrances, lifts, ect., as well as the surrounding areas (location of food outlets etc.)
  • Hotel information will be available on the convention website and on request

That’s all I have so far. What do you all think? Please add, take, edit, whatever.

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Responses

  1. 1. Placing chairs around a venue can cause clutter and flow problems, leading to groups hanging around when they’re actually in the way. Also could be a fire hazard. I doubt many venues will allow it. 2. What’s the line between asking someone not to wear perfume and stepping on their right to wear it? What about fans with poor hygiene?

    • Or those that feel, rightly or wrongly, what they have a bad body odour and perfume/deodorant acts as their security blanket/confidence booster?

  2. Is it WASFF’s role to dictate that a hotel *needs* to provide gluten free and vegan food options? If the con had a catered event then I could understand this, but otherwise I’m not sure WASFF can reasonably ask this of the hotel.

    What about help for the hard of hearing? Speakers for the bigger rooms so people at the back can hear the panelists?

  3. Thanks for replies everyone.

    Grant: chairs are a definite must for accessibility. Obviously they need to be placed in a way that doesn’t impede movement or block corridors, but they do need to be available.

    Grant and Terri: Scent is one of those tricky things with conflicting needs. While for some people scents can trigger asthma, migraines, illness etc., for others scents are a way to ease anxiety or just feel more comfortable. I’ve tried to phrase that in a away that says “try not to, but we won’t forbid it” but clearly I failed at that.
    How about “Please refrain from spraying scents while in the convention space”?

    Cam: It’s not WASFF’s role to dictate what a hotel does and does not serve, but it is their/our role to let them know of dietary requirements and ask if they can be catered to. And if they can’t, to let people know where they can go for foods they need. How would you suggest I phrase that one?

    As for speakers etc. for hard-of-hearing: that one is difficult because of budgets. While I expect Swancon to be able to provide this, smaller conventions like Villain Con might not be able to afford it. What would you suggest?

    • Re Food: I think my issue there was the word “need”. I agree though that the con should help with dietary requirements by providing lists of eateries in the area, other options (deli’s, supermarkets), so people with special requirements are forewarned.

      Re speakers: Smaller cons may not have an issue with this, as the rooms are smaller. Even smaller panels at Swancon aren’t a serious issue. The case I’m thinking of is big panels like say the Guest of Honour speech when the room is packed, and panelists voices are shot because of all the drinking the night before.

    • But not all dietary requirements *can* be catered for, including ensuring that there are places members can go in the area. For example, how would this policy hold for religious requirements? Swancon pretty much always is held over Passover.

  4. I think re: food, it’s not so much the hotel’s responsibility to provide veg*an food as it is the concom’s to identify the nearest places if any where that food is available.

    • Well, no, Grant.

      Google isn’t a difficult thing.

      I think it’s reasonable for the concom to let members know what is likely to be available at the hotel they’ve booked – that’s as easy as posting a link to an online menu.

      I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a volunteer concom to do the same for every restaurant, cafe and food hall in the area, and to also anticipate the potential eating needs of the fan base as well.

      I think it’s reasonable to expect that future concoms will hire a hotel in an area with a range of eating facilities – that last year at the Ascot should have taught us that, at least – but beyond that I think it’s reasonable to expect that fans will be able to find eating places that fit their budgets and eating needs.

      • I don’t think it’s unreasonable to let people know where they can get food in the area, and what type of food they can get.

      • Considering GenghisCon did exactly this in 2011 and it took the sum total of 3 hours (menus weren’t involved because it was too close to the convention and things had to go to print, but a list of nearby food venues, phone numbers, what type of food was there and where the menu was available, approximate costs). I’m not sure what the problem is in terms of time commitment?

        It also doesn’t even have to be the concom itself: a friend of mine did something similar for us this year (http://twitter.com/#!/jasonmuirhead , check the tweets starting at 13:22 on the 1st of April) – Admittedly he works in that area, but crowdsourcing is a good way for the initial recon (which could be via urbanspoon or whatever) and then phone calls to follow up – doesn’t seem like a huge time-sink?

        Especially if we’ve got the requirements we are going to check ready before the calls are made…

      • I think it is reasonable to consider the eating facilities in the area of a hotel. But do we want to absolutely rule out hotels on that basis, when we are already struggling to find suitable hotels?
        We can’t create appropriate venues by demanding them. How many fans would prefer a hotel that had some issues with food options if it meant tickets were $80 less? Or hotels rooms $50 less a night? We should consider food accessibility as an option, and balance it against a range of factors same as we always do.

        Disabled access is a different issue, though. It is a baseline right.

      • You’re misunderstanding that point. The point is that food options will be a consideration, and if the hotel can’t provide them we’ll make sure to let people know. Which is where the details of surrounding food options comes in.

  5. Ok Cam, Alisa et. al., I have made some revisions. How does that look? Does that address the issues you have?

    • That looks better to me. I should point out that *even* when you go round and collect the information about what venues will be open over the con weekend, that doesn’t mean that they will be.

  6. We all still need to remember that a con is just one of 52 other events a hotel holds over a year. I don’t know if it is possible to place demands over a hotel given this could increase overall costs to implement such demands. Something which could price the con out of many places price wise.

    People need to also be a little more accepting of others. We talk about access issues which is great but by then banning purfumes etc we are being hypocritical by giving with one hand and then taking with the other. All people should be able to attend and attend as they want.

    • Ok, couple of things here;

      First, no one is demanding that a hotel be anything. A concom letting con-goers know about what accessibility issues a hotel does and doesn’t have is not, in any way, making a demand of the hotel.
      Also, swancon people are not the only people in Australia or WA who have need of an accessible hotel.
      Also, also, hotels are required to meet certain accessibility standards by law.

      Second, no one is banning perfume, never was, never will. What I am trying to do is juggle the needs of people who need/want to wear scents with the needs of those for whom scent is a problem. Asking someone to not spray scent while in the convention space is not even remotely the same as banning perfume.
      Want to put it on at home? Fine. Want to put it on in your hotel room? Fine. Want to put it on just outside the door or in the lunch area? Fine. Want to spray it around where it can potentially cause huge issues? Less fine.

  7. Want to spray it around where it can potentially cause huge issues? Less fine.

    Sorry, Kitty, but how often is this happening? Because I’m not sure that we need to create rules for rare events where common courtesy should apply.

    Particularly given how much confusion this suggestion has already caused, I think you should consider jettisoning it completely.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to let people know where they can get food in the area, and what type of food they can get.

    I guess it’s probably worth revisiting this particular issue when we get closer to your launch. When you’ve eventually booked the hotel, have a quick look at how many eating places are in the area, and what kind of effort it might take to get a standing review of all of them up attached to the Con’s web page.

    Because that will have to be done in the final weeks of the con, and I think it will stretch the con committee at the time when they’re at their most busy.

    It’s not an extraordinary amount of work, granted, but it will need to be done when there is an extraordinary amount of work on – and there’s a limit to how much work a volunteer con will be prepared to take on. It’s far worse, in my view, to make promises that can’t be delivered.

    In addition, the vast majority of SwanCon attendees are intelligent and resourceful adults. It’s really not so difficult to bring up google maps and look at the restaurant overlay – I don’t think they need the con committee to do this work for them.

    • Anecdotally, I know of quite a few people who are affected adversely by scents, myself included.

      As for restaurants; GhengisCon managed to do it, so I don’t see why we can’t.

      • I know of quite a few people who are affected adversely by scent

        I accept that people get affected by scents. I’m saying that I’ve not seen anyone in recent years go crazy with a spray can in public, and I’m not sure we need to be creating rules to ban things that aren’t a problem.

        GhengisCon managed to do it

        GhengisCon is held at UWA, not in one of the major entertainment districts.

        I just think this is a lot of work for not much gain, when fans are more than capable of going to google themselves.

        But this is going to be your problem before it’s anyone else’s, and you’re the one that’s going to have to do the work.

        I’d just suggest that you not make promises that are going to get lost in the rush of the last couple of weeks, because not living up to your commitments will cause more drama than simply not making them in the first place.

  8. Some observations:

    1. Web accessibility is important; it’s also technically challenging, time-consuming and may be prohibitively difficult for a volunteer web developer with little access to disability aids. Policy on accessibility of websites should aim to make practical suggestions (eg. “don’t use flash for user-interface elements”, “make sure important images have alt text and captions”, “use sites like browsershots.com or webpagetest.org to check that your site works on multiple platforms and pages aren’t too big”) rather than dictate requirements which can’t be enforced.

    2. Surely congoers should be informing hotels directly about their allergies, not through a third party like the concom or WASFF. In my opinion, WASFF should never seek to interpose itself between a food supplier and a food consumer in such a way that it might become liable for something serious going wrong. General advice in the program book (“if you have a food allergy, please ensure that you let the relevant food serving staff know about this”) may be of some value, I guess.

    3. Attempting to provide information about food sources nearby is admirable and valuable. Again though, Redbook-style advice like “here’s a website which can help you quickly provide this information to your members” is probably going to work better than adding additional requirements onto voluntary concoms’ already sizeable workload.

    4. re. perfumes: http://www.aesops-fables.org.uk/aesop-fable-the-man-the-boy-and-the-donkey.htm

    • 1: web accessibility is actual,y the most easy of all these to follow. It takes no more effort to design an accessible website than to design an inaccessible one, as long as you make that one of your goals from the outset. Also, a guideline would be useful, but this isn’t the place for it.

      2: It isn’t a big ask for a concom to enquire as to what food requirements a hotel can provide.

      3: GhengisCon managed to do it, I don’t see why we can’t as well. Especially,y since it really is not that much work.

      4: ????????

      • I guess the point that I was trying to make earlier is that it’s a lot easier to talk about what should be done, in an ideal world, than to actually make it happen when you’re an all volunteer committee dealing with time pressures and other matters – and that it’s sometimes better to not make promises you can’t keep.

        And without particularly wanting to be an arsehole about it, the best way to make that point is to show the contrast between this comment:

        1: web accessibility is actual,y the most easy of all these to follow.

        … and the fact that the 2012 website is design as (small font) white text on a black background, and that the entry page is centred around a youtube video, which has no explanatory text next to it.

        I don’t doubt your good intentions, but I think this document risks locking future cons into promises their committees simply can’t keep.

      • I’d like to address your comment about our site directly as you are completely wrong.

        If you’d actually looked at the way screen-reading systems work, the main problem our site has from a usability standpoint (at the moment) is that the linkbar appears after the content for a page: the way the index page is constructed is actually *facilitating* blind access because the content will all drop out (it’s a video) and they get to the links quickly, which enables them to get to what they want faster.

        I’d also like to add that if you have a stylesheet that changes the color of the site, or even ignores the layout completely, it works and is eminently usable.

        I suggest before you make comments about the usability of a website, you actually make an attempt to TEST said site – you can do this easily in firefox by selecting “no style” on the site.

        If you actually browse *our* site this way and compare it to EVERY SINGLE OTHER SWANCON SITE IN THE ARCHIVE – you will notice two things:
        a) blind users see the content of a page FIRST and
        b) from the index page they can get to what they want fast.

        Most of the existing sites do B) but they fail completely on a)

  9. 1. I’ve developed websites for a living for many years, and respectfully disagree with your assessment. (That’s called appeal to authority btw, and it’s a well-known logical flaw. 🙂

    2. You don’t appear to be responding to what I wrote.

    3. I feel you’re concentrating on the wrong end of this equation. Development of prescriptive WASFF regulation is less likely to achieve positive accessibility outcomes than the development of guidelines, tips and recorded experience, and is more likely to discourage people from bidding for conventions in future. Perhaps the best way to proceed with this would be for someone on your committee to document what Swancon 37 does to ensure optimal accessibility, then present that to WASFF for dissemination to future cons alongside a draft policy which is informed by your experiences.

    4. The moral of that fable is “by trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one”. It’s not something I think applies very broadly, but in this particular situation it seems quite apt.

    • “No Style” is a good way to test. As for engineering sites so they are readable – i’d be very surprised if there weren’t wordpress and drupal plugins to facilitate this already?

      A quick google reveals this page: http://codex.wordpress.org/Accessibility for wordpress. And similar discussions relating to Drupal.

      Have you actually had a discussion with people that use these screen readers as to how they function? I have and it’s just a matter of massaging your content and link placement so that they can

      a) easily bring up navigation without having to go through a whole pile of text (which you solve by trapping their browser string and providing a “Navigation” link right at the top of the stylesheet/template you serve to them, and then immediately proceeding to content)

      b) Get to the content fast (see A) above)

      c) make sure Image content (or in the case of deaf users, audio content) has transcriptions that a screen reader can read out, (or that a deaf user can read) *where* the content is meaningful (obviously, our Bombastic intro video doesn’t have any alt-text because it’s not particularly content filled, and the content that *is* there can’t be transcribed. When we post the Author videos up, we’ll have to have descriptors as to the scene and ways for blind users to get at the audio.)

      These are all problems that are easily solvable in the CMS you end up using.

      We have not yet had time to sit down and go through everything with a group of visually impaired people, but every month we have dinner with someone who produces book reading software for visually impaired people (http://code.google.com/p/olearia/) and is visually impaired himself – we are going to solve these issues for our site, but we aren’t going to do it overnight.

      • Hey Brendan,

        I couldn’t seem to reply to your comment above so am replying here. I can’t read the writing on your website at all. I find all the letters are blurry because it’s white on black and the letters are too thin.

        I’m visually impaired FWIW.

      • For What it’s worth, as a non-visually impaired person, I find the Doomcon website fairly unintuitive. Firat page has the video front and centre stage, and the links are small and not immediately apparent.
        And the white/grey writing on a black background is actually very unpleasant to read.

        So while it might be great for blind people, it’s not great for non-blind.

        An while you may well be able to get better visibility by checking ‘No Style’, etc etc

        a) I wasn’t aware of that until it was mentioned
        b) I am unlikely to bother doing that – I’ll just remember it as a difficult site to navigate and read

      • I’d try using the zoom functions in your browser or turning the stylesheet off completely (as I detailed above)

        The site is designed to be usable (though not as pretty) with the stylesheet off.

  10. I’ve made some more changes to the policy, taking into account the comments here as well as an email I received.

    I’ve removed the thing about scents because it is causing too much division at the moment. Also, it has been pointed out to me that it is already covered under Rule 1.

  11. I too have issues with some scents and the smell wafting from someone who has recently smoked a cigarette. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done without a lot of people being unhappy. To keep the peace some people will just have to breathe shallowly or leave the room for a while.

    As for food – Is it too much to expect the con to provide basic cooking facilities (i.e. a microwave) for people with such strict dietry requirements that they can’t be catered for by any food outlets nearby?

    • Is it too much to expect the con to provide basic cooking facilities (i.e. a microwave)

      Most larger hotels no longer allow guests to cook in their rooms, and you’re contemplating a hotel willing to allow guests (or worse, convention-facility users) to cook in the convention facilities?

      Yes, yes it is too much to ask.

      • Jeremy, you are being rude. Either tone it down or I’ll have to ban you.

    • I’m pretty sure the last several Swancons, including mine, offered facilities including a microwave in a hotel room for this purpose. I don’t think it’s something people should expect but perhaps appreciate when the facility is provided, as it has been for a while now.

      • I guess having a microwave off in a hotel room somewhere does provide some recourse for people who want to bring in their own food, although I’d be very surprised if many hotels would be happy with this, and therefore it couldn’t be something WASFF mandated or even encouraged.

        The Hyatt’s rooms didn’t have microwaves, iirc. Were you able to organise this facility through them, or did you just do it and hope they didn’t find out?

      • Yeah actually the hotel room we provided where the kids activities mostly were had a microwave which was provided by the Hyatt.

      • I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that: it’s got to be a point in their favour when it comes to assessing them for a return visit. And if the hotel has sanctioned it, there’s little reason not to advertise it to members, which means it becomes almost as convenient as if it were in the formal convention space.

        I remain sceptical about hotels in general allowing this kind of thing (and thus about whether WASFF should be mandating it or members expecting it), but it certainly seems to be a possibility.

      • My experience with the Hyatt was that they were very keen to have Swancon and were very willing to make arrangements for a large variety of Swancon specific requests. I fully believe that they would be open to discussion on elements that were not perfected this time round to improve next time and that ongoing two way discussion with them would incrementally improve a Swancon experience at the Hyatt.

  12. Making websites “accessible to all members of the community” is not achieved simply by making them work on screenreaders. If that’s the goal of this policy, then that’s what should be stated. As this Quick Reference to the W3C’s website accessibility guidelines indicates, making sites “accessible to all members of the community” is a highly technical task, which is distinctly not accessible to a typical convention website developer. Even your examples above require the application of techniques which are likely to be unfamiliar to the majority of non-professionals. Problems like getting focus to work correctly, providing meaningful and screenreader-accessible error messages on input verification, and ensuring links are available to the text-only equivalents of embedded google maps are going to prove overly onerous in many cases, unless specific guidelines or even assistance can be provided.

    The way this accessibility push is going to produce valuable long-term change is to result in a body of knowledge which can be passed on the future conventions. If all it amounts to is a List of Demands, it’s likely that it will simply be ignored, and that would be a great pity.

    • So you are saying that we should be adding to the requirements listed in section 1 to ensure we meet WCAG2.0 ?

      Considering that the last point in section 1 above says “a variety of different browsers and readers” – we *aren’t* prescribing that it works everywhere (which is clearly impossible)

      I’m imagining you wouldn’t have a problem with a section 1 written thusly:

      ==========
      Reasonable attempts should be made to ensure that websites are accessible to all members of the community. Suggested activities include:

      * Websites should be easily used with read-over text and screen readers
      * All images should have alternative text description
      * Hyperlinks should open in the same browser
      * Making Websites accessible from a variety of different browsers and readers
      ==========

      if so, why not suggest that above and give your reasons why, instead of just saying “here’s the reasons we can’t make sites accessible, so we shouldn’t try” – which is how your comments certainly come across.

  13. Considering GenghisCon did exactly this in 2011 and it took the sum total of 3 hours … I’m not sure what the problem is in terms of time commitment?

    I just wanted to make a couple of comments about this.

    Firstly, I don’t know about you, but three hours is quite a lot of time to demand, as opposed to request, from a volunteer.

    But more importantly, almost all of Swancon organising is made up of small tasks. You could point to almost all of them individually and say the same thing. But they add up into an enormous task.

    The point is never “but it’s only a small thing”. The question must always be: Is this important enough to force committees to do? And forcing them (not asking them) to do something that people can Google for themselves, within the parameters they choose, is not reasonable.

  14. I have finally gotten through reading this, and the comments, and I tend to agree with Jeremy. It isn’t so much that WASFF needs to have regulations and rules about this, but there needs to be a document of knowledge for future concoms to use to guide their decisions. I think making more rules and requirements is just going to make it tougher for future concoms, and may easily be counterproductive. Quite possibly due to the massive backlash from the accessibility issues this year. We have to be careful not to overreact and make it too restrictive, or push requirements that could become overbearing on making good decisions.

    It is most certainly the concom’s responsibility to select a hotel that is appropriate to the community to run the convention in, and thus they need to consider accessibility as part of that decision making process.

    Regarding food requirements. This is a tough thing to manage, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the concom to talk to the hotel regarding what they can manage, especially for common and long standing issues (veg*n, ciliac, nut allergies, etc) as these would be common things they come accross from general public, not just con goers. I also don’t think it would be to tough for a hotel to know what eating places are around it, as while it is quite easy to use google, it isn’t always something people have access to, and not all eateries have a website or online menu, or even online reviews. Surprisingly they do exist though. Also, not everyone has access to the internet while at the con, and it can be quite useful to have a dead tree format list of eateries and dietry options that they provide/cater for. The hotel certainly shouldn’t be required to provide this, but it can’t hurt to ask them if they know this information or can provide lists etc. Most of them that I’ve talked to certainly know the local area pretty well, though they do lean towards their in-house places for obvious reasons. If they can’t provide it, it isn’t hard to do a walk around the area for those that are able bodied and note the nearby eateries and ask if they’re open at easter and if they have the ability to cater to dietry requirements. As mentioned elsewhere, Genghiscon has managed this previously, and while it’s in a non central area, that actually makes it harder to get a decent list, not easier.

    Website accessibility is something that should be up to the concom to decide, and their webmonkey, but it should be considered that not everyone is able to see properly and good design practices should be followed.

    In Summary, these things all shouldn’t need to be rules and regulations, but should be common sense and courtesy. It shouldn’t be a requirement of WASFF to force this on any concom, but it should be something that all concoms are aware of the communities needs and actively work towards making the convention a much nicer place for the entire community.

  15. So you are saying that we should be adding to the requirements listed in section 1 to ensure we meet WCAG2.0 ?

    Certainly not; that would be absurd and pointless.

    I’m imagining you wouldn’t have a problem with a section 1 written thusly

    I would have a problem with any policy imposed by WASFF which required a high level of technical competence in an area unlikely to be familiar to non-professionals and which was not accompanied buy a series of instructions aimed at non-professionals facilitating their meeting the requirements of the policy.

    “here’s the reasons we can’t make sites accessible, so we shouldn’t try” – which is how your comments certainly come across.

    That is a very shallow reading of what I’ve written, which seems to typify the level of discussion on this page. I’ve said all along that the policy needs to be formulated as guidelines: a Redbook-like how-to. I’ve even suggested a mechanism whereby these guidelines could be generated (ie. by documenting what Swancon 37 does). If the policy merely orders people to achieve things which are significantly outside their abilities to achieve them unassisted, it will fail.

    • WCAG 2 has levels of compliance. Base compliance (level A) isn’t that hard at all. Full AAA is hard (for example, providing sign language equivalents for audio content), but no one is suggesting AAA.

      I think we would be better saying ‘web sites should try for at least WCAG level A’ and linking to some existing resources for guidance on how to do that, than we would be by creating our own list of rules that sort of vaguely approximate WCAG2 level A, and then creating and (probably poorly) maintaining our own list of guidelines on how to do achieve our psuedo-standard.

      I think I am the almost only person who has put content in the Red Book on a technical issue (i wrote the AV equipment page). No one else apparently adds to it or reads it, certainly conventions appear to generally not act on it. So I’m not really keen to go the same path for web tech, of creating an unmaintained page that nobody reads but conventions are supposed to comply with.

      • isn’t that hard at all.

        Perhaps “isn’t that hard at all for someone whose web development experience extends beyond picking a theme for WordPress”.

        no one is suggesting AAA

        Indeed; as evidenced by Brendan’s sarcasm and my “absurd and pointless” remark above, it’s a strawman.

        think we would be better saying ‘web sites should try for at least WCAG level A’ and linking to some existing resources for guidance on how to do that

        I believe even that might be aiming above a level we have a right to demand of cons, but it’s a start. Of course, that’s very different from actually being able to locate guidelines on implementing WCAG2A which can be understood and acted upon by non-professionals.

        I’m not really keen to go the same path for web tech, of creating an unmaintained page that nobody reads but conventions are supposed to comply with.

        I think this reflects on the whole process of con-running, and indicates why efforts of this kind must be driven from within concoms rather that via prescriptive policy. It needs to become part of the culture of con-running that one tries to ensure accessibility as a front-and-centre goal rather than an afterthought, and that’s only likely to happen gradually through a kind of osmosis like just about everything else in fandom. Putting it into a regulation won’t do it; putting it into an information package for cons (the long-unfulfilled promise of the Redbook) might.

  16. Ok, taking into account different comments;

    I’ll put this as Doom-Con’s personal accessibility policy then, and list it on the website as such (with all appropriate disclaimers). Then on the wiki I’ll help contribute to some guidelines etc. How does that sound to everyone?

    Aa for the Doom-Con website: I will have a look at it tonight with LM and we’ll see what we can do. I would like you to be aware, though, that for accessibility it is actually more important to have a high contrast website, not specifically dark text on light, because different people have the opposite issue. As long as the site is high-contrast the screen can be inverted (which is actually how I read the site).

  17. How does that sound to everyone?

    Sounds awesome to me. I think there’s still a place for an aspirational statement (which can be formulated as policy) in WASFF’s regulations, but it should only be as detailed and specific as the how-to information which accompanies it. Ideally, the CSC could take on accessibility as part of their oversight role, and mentor where appropriate, although members of that group are unlikely to be experts in the field and are therefore likely to find value in a shared set of guidelines. And there seems to be an expectation that the far more casually-constituted Natcon Standing Committee will assume some level of responsibility for Natcon-specific accessibility issues, which from my perspective makes the public sharing of this knowledge something of an imperative (and thus the wiki the obvious place for it).

    So yeah: aim as high as you like with DoomCon, but try to make sure your experiences–be they positive or negative–aren’t lost to history. You might even like to blog about them on the con website; interesting content is always valuable in keeping people engaged.


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