Speaker Spotlight: Joseph Karr O’Connor!

Joseph Karr O'Connor

Joseph is dedicated to accessibility and has been a practitioner since 1999. His speciality has institutionalizing accessibility: planning, organizing, and implementing well-structured and coordinated accessibility systems for institutions. He’s been using WordPress in education since 2005.

Because of his involvement in the international accessibility community, which includes many persons with all types of disabilities, He is well-connected to other accessibility practitioners and has been donating his time to help make WordPress, the open source blogging platform, accessible.

His WordPress theme creation project, Cities, now has theme teams working to create accessible themes in Montreal, Copenhagen, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and 12 other cities.

Follow @AccessibleJoe on Twitter.

Joseph will be giving a talk titled Cities: Making Accessible WordPress Themes.

What is your favorite improvement to WordPress this past year?

Thanks to the WordPress Accessibility Group (@WPAccessibility) there is now more accessibility in the back end. A voluntary accessibility theme check process in draft mode has been added to the overall theme checking guidelines. If a theme passes the accessibility checking process it will be tagged: accessibility_ready.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Montreal?

I want to carry the message to all WordPress developers and content providers that accessibility is important. I’ve only been to Montreal once before and loved it, so visiting again will be wonderful. Also, Rocio Alvarado is doing Montreal, a Cities accessible WordPress theme. http://accessiblejoe.com/cities/

What is your talk going to be about?

Teams of people from around the world are creating free accessible WordPress themes. This is the Cities project. I’ll also be talking about accessibility in general, accessibility plugins and widgets, and the work of the WordPress accessibility group on core issues.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

People with a wide range of needs are accessing the content you are making available with WordPress. Some simple routines will increase the accessibility of your work. If you build accessibility in, you will help everyone.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do you follow?

Natalie MacLees (@nataliemac) stands out with outstanding WordPress knowledge. Noel Saw (@noelsaw), Suzette Franck (@mt_Suzette), Chris Lema (@chrislema), Megan Gray (@HouseofGrays), Peter Medina (@draggingtheline).

The WordPress accessibility group: Joe Dolson (@joedolson), Graham Armfield (@coolfields), Cindy Otty (@ceotty), Mel Pedley (http://blackwidows.co.uk/), Amanda Rush (@cswordpress), Amy Newcombe (@_Redd), Gonz Blinko (@gonz_blinko), and also Rian Rietveld (@RianRietveld).

WordPress people: Jen Mylo (@jenmylo), Aaron Jorbin (@aaronjorbin), Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt), Andrew Nacin (@nacin), Daryl Koopersmith (@koop), Konstantin Obenland (@obenland), Mike Little (@mikelittlezed1).

And then there’s the Cities theme team leaders: Karen Mardahl (@kmdk), Lisa Herrod (@scenariogirl), Char James-Tanny (@CharJTF), Jennison Asuncion (@Jennison), Pratik Patel (@ppatel), Shilpi Kapoor (@Shilpi_Kapoor), David Kennedy (@DavidAKennedy), Simon Pascal Klein (@klepas), Rocio Alvarado at AccessibilitéWeb (@AccessibiliteWb), Ana Isabel Paraguay (@projetoinclusiv), Anna Belle Leiserson (@happywebdiva), Elle McPherson (@nethermind), (also includes Joe Dolson and Amanda Rush).

The list goes on and on…

What new feature would you like to see in the future?

Accessibility built-in to core and every theme WCAG 2.0 AA accessible.

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