My web media class had the privilege of hearing John Allsopp speak to our class. John is a native of Australia, a speaker, author, web evangelist and the co-founder of the Web Directions conference.
I was awestruck with his talk. He is extremely passionate about web direction and all things web. I was most intrigued with his discussion on how the web is different from other media, because it IS the medium. He talked about interoperability, adaptability, accessibility, internationalization, openness as being key concepts to successful web experiences. He noted the challenge in web design is to be inclusive, not exclusive.
In all honesty, I never really thought about internet and accessibility. A blind person should have the same opportunities to use the internet as everyone else, but I never really thought about it before this class. It brings up tons of other issues of accessibility beyond physical disabilities, like economics and literacy. The web should be available to everyone. But is it really? Is the web as easily navigated by my 65-year-old father as it is to me? Probably not. One point that John made in his discussions of web accessibility is if it’s accessible to someone with poor eyesight or poor hand-eye coordination, then it’s probably accessible for everyone. This was never really an area I thought I would want to take my career, but after hearing John talk with such passion and vigor, I want to be a part of it! I think the web is one of the greatest technology advance of our time and I want everyone to experience it.
I feel so fortunate to be involved in (even at the minor level I am) the web right now! Our class was brainstorming about how the web could make our lives easier and possibilities for the future. John said to think about all the things we complain about and then think of how we could make it better. Instead of just complaining about it, go out and make it better. That is how new technology is created. This will be a day to file away and look back upon to remind me of my passion.