Monki Gras 2019

Monki Gras, the tech conference about Software, Craft, and Tech Culture, returns January 31 and Feb 1st 2019.

The theme this year is Accessible Craft: Creating great experiences for everyone.

The W3C says Accessibility, User experience and Inclusion are closely related concepts that we should consider together. This seems exactly right, and will form the basis of our conference theme in 2019.

This year we want the Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility program to be the conference itself.

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.

As ever, at Monkigras we will “go meta”. We want people to learn from other disciplines. Talks might be on architecture – creating physical spaces that work better for a range of needs. Or technology oriented… Microsoft has been doing amazing work – by designing for people with special needs you create experiences that are better for everybody. How about bootcamps, bringing new people into tech? Good documentation can make an API or service more accessible. Good API design makes your services more accessible to a broad range of developers.

We’re supposed to be making life easier, not harder for people, but sometimes (often) in tech we forget that.

How can we retrofit legacy services for better accessibility? Or retrofit software? You have to balance a lot of potentially conflicting factors:

  1. budget and the art of the possible
  2. how does it promote the culture
  3. you have to make a moral decision. It’s going to cost me more to retrofit, perhaps in running an event for example you won’t make more profit, but it’s the right thing to do.

Accessibility challenges mean supporting edge cases. Take dietary needs for example. You have gluten free, dairy free, halal only, vegetarian, vegan, nut free allergy. All you can really do is do is your best. How can technology help with cost, risk, social and caring.

Generally people with accessibility and inclusion needs want to know they’re being heard and considered. Accessibility can be about empathy as much as service or platform design. 

We want to the event to be as accessible as the theming.  We’ll have closed captioning, and we’ll also be paying close attention to the needs of attendees.

We are not experts and we will make mistakes, but hopefully you’ll forgive us and help us on our journey to making an argument for a more inclusive industry.

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