A11yYOW 2012

What ideas do we have from 2011's Unconference that we can bring forward to 2012? I'll keep a list here, but would appreciate ideas from others.

  • Get designated volunteers beforehand to run registration & to assist people, especially in the morning. 
  • Do more to bring out a broader range of people with disabilities.
  • Take proposed sessions & do some work prior to break them into the respective rooms.
  • Have video set up in more rooms.
  • Provide closed captioning.
  • Have secure Internet in all rooms.
  • Have a core team of Ottawa organizers.
  • Officially invite the mayor to attend (I neglected to do this this year).
  • Make sure not to be aware of events by https://twitter.com/#!/opendataottawahttp://www.opendataday.org
  • Set up a LinkedIN or Facebook Group
  • Get more volunteers in to help organize the event.
  • Make it a more accessible event by providing accommodations.
  • Getting more money from sponsors to do this.
  • Find another venue where rooms would be bigger and the open space (jean piggot) would provide better conditions for audio.
  • Capture the conferences on video.
  • Make sure each room has a projector.
  • Have a team ready to deal with the schedule as soon as posible.
  • Remember to mention International Day of Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/disabilities/

I agree with the suggestion above.

I would like to see sessions that are directed at people who are not mandated or do not have a personal connection to accessibility. Most of the presentations that I attended were given by people who where passionate about accessibility, which is how such incredible initiatives are created. But what about those who are on the fence?

I believe that accessibility is certainly the right thing to do, but it comes at a cost. Private companies would benefit from knowing the pitfalls and the benefits of making their content accessible.

I suggest we focus more on the « Un » part of the « Unconference » word. Behind the collective choice of subject, I think the session should be more collectively driven.

I have no experience by myself of unconferences but I do think it is a very interesting way to build something together, to be closer to the need of attendance. 

Vincent François
Directeur général

I am torn. I like the unconference idea but I hate the on-the-spot scheduling. I'd recommend a couple of things based on my expereince with unconferences in Ottawa. *

1. Announce broad streams and dedicate one room to each. Ask each presenter to state which theme they belong in. Juggle based on what presentations come forward. Recruit presentations if necessary.

2. Have a vote up / down function on potential presentations on the website 10 days before the event for people to provide some feedback on what is popular. [Think about demo camp scheduling.]

3. Divide the "I have a presentation" topics from the "I want to hear about" topics. [Several people who wrote down things they wanted to learn about. Others told us what they wanted to teach. Sharing what you want to learn is more useful before the event so others can offer to teach.]

4. Leave one extra room for day of event meetings. 

* Ottawa folks seem uncomfortable with true unconferences. People here seem to want to prepare a less formal presentation and then interact with people as they walk through their deck. If we allow one presentation, everyone starts to think they ought to have a deck to present. So we either commit to no decks or let people sign up to give a presentation slightly before the event.

I think we needed to be clearly about how much time events actually had. 

1. Give the sessions 1.5 hours.

2. Tell presentors / leaders that information sharing should be about 45 minutes with the rest of the time being either questions or small group exercises.

3. I think small group exercises or small group discussions would help people who struggle to mingle / network at these events.

I don't think we did that well here.

1. Tell people where washrooms, elevator etc are (verbally and in written formats).

2. Make provisions for service dogs (water bowls, directions to green space for doggy breaks, etc)

3. Adjust board rooms to another format so more people can get in. [We should have move the tables into a straight line to make more audience space not at the table so that wheelchairs could get into the rooms more easily.

4. Teach Mike about mics. [Sorry I can't put it more gently but Mike sounds muffled and fuzzy even when others using the mic do not. it was very odd.]




I don't think I favour having a speaker during lunch.

I felt they were short changed as many many people wanted to continue conversations or sessions over the lunch break.

As much as I like City Hall, I don't think it was good space for this. I wonder if the city doesn't have another site that would be better if not so centrally located.


Top learning from AccessAbility Day event at Ottawa City Hall -- think about making the food accessible. Sandwiches were easy to serve but I saw more than one person with wrist or hand mobility issues struggle to pick up the tall sandwich. [Also a large crusty bread sandwich is a treat for me but an obstacle for others.] Nearly everyone had troubles with reaching the food on the serving plates of the table. Big tables with serving platters in the centre means many people can't reach the food to serve themselves. I had thought the soup at the unconference event last week before was an odd choice but now I wonder if it was a deliberate alternative to sandwiches. I also wonder if people found soup easy to eat. I imagine the buffet line was an issue for some.  Maybe we would want to offer people either the chance to do the buffet line or the chance to have their food brought to them. [Likely that happened informally.]