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What is A11y Online?

Introduction

Web accessibility affects everyone who uses the internet but unfortunately, it’s still something that’s too often overlooked by companies and development teams. The good news is that there is a growing accessibility community full of people who are eager to share ideas and discuss ways we can learn and improve as an industry.

Meetups are a massive part of this community, and I’m very fortunate that there is a meetup local to me, Accessibility Nottingham, but not everyone is this lucky, or even able to attend in-person meetups.

This is why we are launching A11y Online, a remote meetup and community that will hopefully bring people together from all over the world to share ideas and experiences.

How will it work?

Obviously a remote meetup can’t completely replicate a physical meet-up (it would be a nightmare organising that many pizza deliveries at once), but we hope that we can facilitate the same conversations using a combination of tools.

Talks

Our current plan is to use Zoom as our tool of choice for hosting the talks, where up to 100 people can join and listen to the talks themselves. The speaker will be broadcasting audio, video and any slides or supporting media they want, and those in the call can watch and listen along. We are also looking into options for adding live subtitles to the talks to make them more accessible themselves.

After the event, we will also make the talks available online for anyone to watch back or catch up on at a later date. These will definitely have subtitles.

Discussions

Discussion and networking is obviously a massive part of meetups, and we want to make sure we don’t lose this in A11y Online. It probably wouldn’t work to just open up the audio chat to everyone and hope for the best, that would be utter chaos, so we have created a Slack channel instead where people can start discussions, ask questions, share stories etc.

Even though the Slack channel is focused on the meetup, we hope this discussion will carry out outside of these times and people can continue to get to know each other and learn from one another.

Speakers

If you have a talk you want to share with the community, get in touch either on Twitter or via the Slack channel and we will sort something out. You don’t have to have had experience talking before, you just need to have something to share and we can make it happen.

Sponsorship

If you or your company would like to sponsor the meetup, please get in touch. Whether it’s financial support for tools or advertising, or if you can provide any tools or services that will help make A11y Online an inclusive meetup, we’d love your support.

When does it start?

We plan to host our first event on Global Accessibility Awareness Day on Thursday the 21st May 2020 at 7:30 pm (UK & Ireland) and continue by having an event monthly, on every third Thursday.

We’re based in the UK, which is why we’ve chosen this timezone, but we are also looking at hosting meetups for different timezones later in the year if there is an appetite for it.

How do I get tickets?

We will be using Eventbrite to distribute tickets, this is because Zoom is limited to 100 users. Tickets will be free, of course, but it will allow us to manage the number of people who try to join the call.

We will be sharing the link to this once we have confirmed who will be speaking at the first event. Follow us on Twitter (@A11yOnline), or join our Slack channel using the link below to keep up-to-date:

https://join.slack.com/t/a11yonline/shared_invite/zt-d04adkn8-3HEO1tIVGhivGkU2S5NgAA

We hope to see you there!

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