James Governor's Monkchips

Trying to Make Tech More Accessible and Inclusive: Monki Gras 2019

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Monki Gras is our annual conference about the social and cultural issues of tech and craft, coming soon in London on January 31st and Feb 1st. This year we are focusing on Accessibility, in all its forms. It’s a conference for anyone that cares about everyone. I am really excited about how it’s coming together. Talk proposals have been amazing. Our Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility program will help ensure that our delegates, not just our speakers, are from a diverse range of backgrounds.

I am particularly proud of this comment from one of our Diversity and Inclusion program last year, who described us as “the most welcoming community in tech”.

Why are we focusing on Accessibility? Firstly – it’s so important. We need to do better as a culture, and make fewer assumptions about people’s abilities and needs.

Partly it’s a zeitgeist thing – it’s fantastic that leviathans such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft are gearing up to deliver on the promise of Inclusive Design – the core idea being that by delivering better experiences and products for people with special needs, you deliver better experiences for everyone. A good example of inclusive design will be our provision of captioning at the conference, provided by White Coat Captioning. Captions may be intended for one set of special needs, but they improve the comprehensibility of an event for all attendees.

Our talks are going to be amazing. We’ll have great talks on Web Accessibility – an important though not well understood discipline. We’ll also learn about how to create more supportive workplaces, with talks about how to better support neurodiversity. But in the spirit of “going meta” – I also wanted to consider financial accessibility, and look forward to learning more about how we can ensure that under-represented groups have access to capital in startup culture.

“From accessible web design, to making communities more welcoming and supportive with accessible documentation and codes of conduct, to creating spaces that work well for people with special abilities, to opening up crafts to under-represented groups. Sometimes it’s the small things – like using bigger font sizes as a matter of course in presentations. Sometimes we need fundamentally new design disciplines.”

It’s a single track, closely curated conference, built around an awesome community. As ever at Monki Gras we’ll also feature the best of the UK’s craft beers, and amazing artisan food. We couldn’t put a conference like this together without amazing sponsors – a big shout out to Pivotal, New Relic, Weaveworks, MongoDB, Digital Ocean, The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Salesforce, Cisco, Citus Data, Nexmo, and Snyk.

 

 

 

 

 

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