There's A Better Way
There is nothing more that I like than going to ao conference and speaking. Even more so, when my speaker family is there and giving a talk, I love to attend and show my support.
To be there in the audience and hopefully be a show of strength and a cheering section. Because there is nothing I'd rather do than to see them knock it out of the park and give the greatest conference talk ever recorded in the annals of human history!
But most of the time, it isn't that easy or it just does not happen. There's a better way to do this organizers!
A Better Way To Do What?!
Scheduling. Most of the time, my accessibility colleagues and I are discussing why our talks are overlapping. Stop doing it! Also, stop scheduling us at the end of the conference! You know? Late in the day, second-to-last or last talk of the day when everyone is tired and wants to get the hell out of there. Stop it!
Spread us out evenly throughout your event. Let us have our talks and then the rest of the time to support our colleagues! A morning accessibility talk, one before lunch, one after lunch but when everyone isn't in a food coma. Or a very hard-hitting talk that you can schedule last. What about a keynote?!
Stop Saying You Have A Diverse Range Of Topics
If you're going to pass up accessibility talks, and other talks that you turn down because it "might not fit in" or "it doesn't match what the conference is about". Then stop saying you have a diversified field of topics. Accessibility is one of those topics that should be discussed about every day and there should be at least two talks at your conference that deals with accessibility.
- Space out the accessibility talks in your multi-track event. Please don't stack us against each other. We want to educate as much of the masses as possible.
- If you tout a diverse field of topics at your event, have at least 4 accessibility talks. 2-3 if you have a smaller event.
- If your events has a common theme to it (React, Vue, DataViz, etc.) then look for us. We are out there! We would love to talk at your event!
- Look for the topics that may or may not be covered with your event and find a way to get those talks in your event. Widen your horizons, if you can. (please do!).
Event organizers, please give us some space with your scheduling. I know it is a difficult job, to schedule all these talks in a very limited time frame but I know you can do it. Especially the accessibility practitioners and professionals. You probably have your fifteen React talks, your DevOps talks, your multiple speakers with multiple talks on going off the grid or automating your office to make your coffee before you get to your computer in the morning.
Let us be spaced out so everyone that is interested can enjoy all of the accessibility talks, or all the talks that you stack on each other. Also, if you could, let's get some more women speakers, more underrepresented speakers, more trans, LGBTQ+ speakers please! Even if it means I am going to be cast to the wayside. I'm willing to take the hit for those groups of people.