Check out this page for information about upcoming meetups and previous sessions.

Upcoming Meetups

Practical skills workshop – 17/03/20

Our next meetup we’ll be doing something slightly different and we’ll be holding a workshop event focusing on practical skills.

On the day we will have 3 sessions which people will rotate between for the meetup. The 3 sessions will be on:

  • A sighted guiding demonstration and walkthrough
  • How UX and UI designers can meet WCAG standards through wireframing techniques
  • A demonstration of guided consent models for user research

Get your tickets here:

Previous Meetups

A focus on hearing loss – 11/02/20

In our February meetup we heard from our invited speakers about their experience of designing and developing services for people with hearing loss.

Our first speaker was Marianne Matthews. Marianne works at Sky in the Responsible Business team to embed accessibility into Sky products and services, working across the business to identify opportunities to leverage technology and knowledge to enhance accessibility customers’ experience.

She is passionate about the transformative power of media and television to bring people and communities together.

Marianne Matthews also joined the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust as a Trustee in April 2016. Marianne will present the Accessibility work at Sky, and talk about the recent addition of BSLBT library of content on their On Demand catalogue, and how it was delivered.

She spoke about Sky’s new sign language channel and the processes/challenges the team face around subtitled content.

Our second speaker was Matthew Pearce an iOS developer whose son has a severe learning disability. In order to communicate with his son, they use Makaton. Makaton is a language programme that uses symbols, signs and speech to enable people to communicate. It supports development of essential communication skills such as attention and listening, comprehension, memory, recall and organisation of language and expression. Matthew taught us the alphabet and some basic phrases and songs.

A photo of Marianne speaking to the crowd
Marianne speaks to the audience about their subtitled content at Sky and how they approached this as a team
A photo of Matthew showing a clip from a Makaton signing video
Matthew showing the Accessibility Leeds audience some popular Makaton signers

A focus on physical disabilities – 12/11/19

This meetup was on the 12th November to celebrate Purple Tuesday and focused on physical disabilities.

We heard from two speakers about their experiences with physical disabilities and tech and how to develop software and tech for these users.

Gem Turner is an award winning disabled blogger and consultant. Gem studied New Media at The University of Leeds and after she graduated, started her own blog. She writes about her life as a young wheelchair user and the common reactions and interactions she experiences along the way. After three years building her blog, she expanded her business – bringing her blog to life, working with businesses on how to be more inclusive in the workplace and consulting on inclusive practices. 

Paul Davis is the Product Design Lead at Sonocent, a Leeds based software company that develops inclusive note taking technology which helps students across the world to achieve more and gain independence. Paul joined Sonocent with over 15 years’ experience designing software applications and establishing user-centred techniques and processes within organisations.

In this session, Paul shared how user research and work within the accessibility community helped to shape Sonocent’s latest note taking app, designed to allow students to capture lecture notes at their own pace. Paul shared some quick tips to try out on your next design project and demonstrated how practicing inclusive design and testing translates to ‘good design’ for all.

Please see the link below for Paul’s slides:

Crowd photo 12/11/19
The Accessibility Leeds crowd doing ‘jazz hands’ for Purple Tuesday
Gem Turner's talk 12/11/19
Gem Turner talking to the audience
Paul's talk 12/11/19
Paul Davis talking giving the community some tips on designing for accessibility
Photo of the question and answer session
Paul and Gem together answer a lot of questions from the group

A focus on apps – 10/09/19

Our first speaker Lori talked about the theory of accessible apps, with examples of good and bad practice.

The second speakers from the MySky App talked about how they’ve technically made their app more accessible with practical examples.

Developing an Accessible app

Lori Di-Bon-Conyers is a User Experience Evaluator within the RNIB User Experience Team, who has worked in this team for over 6 years. She has worked on a number of projects involving user testing covering a range of areas such as Digital Television, websites, apps, ATMs, bank cards and showers. 

Lori is a main point of contact for testing apps and websites. In the last few years Lori has been carrying out training on apps and websites for a variety of businesses to demonstrate access technology such as screen readers and highlighting common usability issues for blind and partially sighted users on websites and apps. She was a major contributor to the RNIB App standard and developed templates for testing.

How design systems can support inclusive design

Adam, Carla, Laura and Julia work for Sky within the My Sky app squad. Their goal is to create a product that is accessible for all and to build meaningful experiences that embraces inclusivity.

They want to reduce friction and to provide more emotional context to enhance the user experience. Accessibility goes hand in hand with inclusive design. Through increased platform capabilities we aim to achieve a high standard for accessibility for our customers experiences’. Experiences that flex to a customers preferences and needs.

We would like to share how our team is preparing to reach our goal by introducing our design system’.

Barry welcoming audience
Barry welcoming the Accessibility Leeds community
Lori's talk
Lori talking to the audience about visual impairments and apps
Sky app team presenting
The MySky App team presenting to the audience on their work

A focus on dyslexia and tech – 09/07/19

On 9th of July, our event focused on dsylexia.

Both speakers described their differing experiences with dyslexia and Fraser talked about his assistive technology (ClaroRead) and how he uses it.

Fraser Davidson’s talk

Fraser is the Head of Projects at J&C Joel, a Yorkshire based company that is the world’s leading manufacturer of theatrical drapes, flooring and stage engineering.

Fraser was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the age of 7 after his new teacher recognised the Dyslexic characteristics and suggested he was tested for this, before then, his parents had moved him from his previous school because the school had assumed that his lack of attention and interest in school work was due to his behaviour and bad attitude. Once diagnosed, he was given the support he needed, but once he left school, his confidence began to suffer due to the lack of awareness of Dyslexia within the work place.

Fraser spoke about how he overcame his confidence issues and progressed in his career when he began to use Claro Software, this assistive technology helps him to read and write copy on multiple platforms such as desktop and mobile devices.

In this session, Fraser demonstrated how he turns sentences that makes perfect sense to him into well written English. It also demonstrates how hard the English Language can be to learn.

Robert Coop’s talk

Robert is a founding director of Hippo Digital, a Leeds-based digital service design consultancy. They work to build the right thing at the first time of asking for public and private sector clients throughout the UK.

Robert is a highly experienced digital leader with 20 years’ international experience designing digital services for clients including Vodafone, NHS Digital and the Department of Work and Pensions. Robert is passionate about leading agile teams to design and deliver user centred digital services – he is also dyslexic.

Why is dyslexia so hard to spell? (or Putting the UX into dyslexia, or Getting Cross about UX)

Dyslexia is one of those subjects that everyone thinks they understand: it’s about not being able to read very well, isn’t it?

But the thing is, it’s not quite that straightforward. And as people who are paid to deliver accessible services for our clients and their users it’s our responsibility to understand exactly what is involved.

Robert’s session outlined just what we need to be aware of if we want to get dyslexia right. He also complained bitterly that dyslexia is really difficult to spell.

09/07/19 - Rob's talk
Rob talking about how addresses his dyslexia
09.07.19 Fraser demonstrating Claro Read
Fraser demonstrating Claro Read
09/07/19 Rob and Fraser answer questions from the room
09/07/19 Rob and Fraser answer questions from the room

Global Accessibility Awareness Day – 16/05/2019

On the 16th of May, events are organised around the world to raise awareness of all aspects of accessibility.

In Leeds, we’ll had a talk from Curt Holst from Barclays Bank and a demonstration of JAWS by our very own Barry Hill. Our event was kindly sponsored by Hippo Digital.

Curt’s talk

Traditionally accessibility is considered a component of usability focusing on people with disabilities but is often not seen as a powerful opportunity to innovate.

Building upon the work of The Paciello Group and Microsoft, Curt Holst, Senior Digital Accessibility Consultant at Barclays Bank talks about how Barclays uses Inclusive Design to support its aim of becoming the most inclusive bank in the FTSE100.

Curt has over 15 years of experience in the field of accessibility as well as a Masters Degree in Human Computer Interaction.

Barry’s demonstration

Barry demonstrated to everyone what it’s like to use the internet with a screenreader. He demonstrated the performance of Beyonce’s website and how it does not respond well to users using JAWS.

16/05/19 Will Turner introductory talk
16/05/19 Curt Holst talk
16/05/19 Barry Hill Demonstration

What is Digital Accessibility? – 01/04/2019

In our first meet up we took a user centred approach to understand what the community wanted from future Accessibility Leeds meetups. We ran a workshop session with our attendees to understand what digital accessibility is to them and how future meetups could help tackle our collective questions on it.

Keep your eye on our blog for updates from the outcomes of this workshop.

Our first speaker was Alastair Campbell who spoke about accessibility standards and some of his recent work with NHS Digital. A big thank you to Alastair for speaking and giving a great talk to help kick off the Accessibility Leeds community.

There are some photos from our first meet up below:

01/04/19 Photo of workshop
01/04/19 Photo of talk
01/04/19 Photo of team

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