Sept. 10, 2002 --
The World Wide Web has changed everything about information design and communication -- for designers as well as for users. Yet even a year after Section 508's rules for accessible websites took effect (http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/webaccess/sect508.htm), graphic designers still seem largely uninterested in accessible web design. Even though they are more and more inclined to identify themselves as "user-centered information designers," in fact they are not truly attentive to the diverse spectrum of real users, say those involved with web access issues.
To tackle this problem, Accessible Environments, Inc. and the Rhode Island School of Design are hosting "Web Design that Works for Everyone," a two-day conference Oct. 18-19 at the school, bringing together the two worlds of digital design and accessible technology. Experts on the cutting edge in universal design on the web and in graphic design will offer sessions on the rationale for accessible design, techniques and tools and user-based design methods. Speakers include leading names in web design from WGBH, AIGA, Macromedia, Adobe and RISD. More on the conference schedule and presenters is online at http://www.adaptenv.org/webconference.
The audience for digital information is huge -- and diverse. Americans 60 and over are the fastest growing group of Web users. Within 25 years, it's expected that 30 percent of the US population will be over 60. Vision problems are common. Even with glasses or contact lenses, one in 6 Americans over 45 has a vision impairment.
"New accessibility tools and standards make it easy to design information that's accessible and attractive," says Adaptive Environments. "But there has been little cross-fertilization between digital design and accessibility. If the promise of accessible digital media is to be realized, it needs great designers/architects/strategists/planners of information, who can create appeal, flow and clarity that enhance everyone's experience."
The conference is sponsored by the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center, Macromedia, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the Verizon Foundation.
Registration for both days' sessions is $300 -- or $200 for a single day -- if you register online by Sept. 20. Rates rise after that. To register, go to https://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/webconference/registration.php
Reporters seeking more information about or thinking of attending the conference should contact Lenie Kuit, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications at Adaptive Environments at 617-695-1225, ext. 29 (lkuit@AdaptiveEnvironments.org) or Brien McDaniel, Senior Press Officer, RISD, at 401-454-6342 (firstname.lastname@example.org).