Scripting Enabled Seattle 2008 Summary

The first go at taking Scripting Enabled on the road happened over the weekend of 1 and 2 November. The event was hosted by Adobe who donated their well-wired Adobe University space in Seattle.

On our first day we heard from Jeffrey Bigham, Anna Cavender, and Chandrika Jayant about research at the University of Washington, including WebAnywhere, SlideRule, MobileASL, as well as the results of several user studies they’ve conducted.

Looking over Ryan's shoulder as he demos Firefox on his laptopNext up was Ryan Benson, an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. Ryan talked to us about keyboard-only navigation, highlighting Firefox’s caret navigation and configuring a browser to highlight current focus (and how even 1 pixel borders around elements can break static layouts).

After lunch, T.V. Raman and Charles Chen introduced WAI-ARIA, described the AxsJAX framework and demoed AxsJAX applied to Google Reader, Amazon, and Jawbreaker. All of the AxsJAX demos are available from the AxsJAX Showcase.

Eitan Isaacson gave an overview of the testing tool he’s working on Specular (slides). He wrote a good summary of the event.

After that, we broke into a few groups. One group worked on AxsJAX scripts for Amazon while the other worked on AxsJAX for Facebook. Others of us took time to learn AxsJAX, play with Silverlight, look at Flash accessibility, and I’m not even sure what else.
Image of Christian towering over the conference room as he is projected via the overhead

Day 2: The Amazon subgroup demonstrated what they had accomplished on Day 1 and asked for feedback on a couple of issues they ran into. In particular, how do you handle multiple live regions changing at the same time? One example we looked at was purchasing a video game. When he selected PlayStation instead of Nintendo several things changed: price, review comments, ship dates, and version (to name a few).

Then, it was back to work. Christian made a brief appearance via skype. We worked for a few more hours after lunch, until it was time to head to the pub, where we wrapped things up and started talking about the next event. Google has offered to host a Scripting Enabled at their Bay Area offices in early March.

All-in-all, it was great to hang out with such an amazing group of folks who are making the web (and the world) more accessible. It’s good to know there are so many good accessibility-related projects going on in the Seattle area.

Next time around, we’ll do a better job advertising the event…and hand out t-shirts. :)