Spring <br /> and Life Lists

In high school, I was very comfortable speaking in front of groups. I was in debate and drama, and had to do several presentations when I was an exchange student (often in French!). For some reason, however, when I got to University I developed a slight fear of public speaking. I struggled with an inability to connect with members of an audience if the group was too large.
Since then I’ve become more comfortable with public speaking, and within the past few months I added a task to my “life list” — “be solicited for a speaking engagement (and not be deathly nervous about it!)”.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer would have me believe, what you focus on manifests itself in your life. Within the past three weeks I’ve been asked to speak to Columbus Digital (the Central Ohio Adobe Users Group), and several colleagues at work have encouraged me to suggest something for Spring <br />.

Even before my recent paper on accessibility for rich internet applications, I was eager to share my knowledge about accessibility with others. I’m even more excited to speak about it now. If anything, it helps me appreciate the hard work I’ve put into my graduate program for the last few years. This is not to say that this is information I was specifically instructed on, but I feel fortunate that I am at a point in my life and my career that I have information to offer others.

I put a little thought into it, and proposed the following three topics for Spring <br />:

  1. “For Human Consumption Only? Building for Search Engines and Screen Readers”
  2. “Making RIAs Accessible”
  3. “Web Accessibility Acronyms (WCAG, WAI-ARIA, JAWS) – WTF?”

I will be eager to see if any of these topics are deemed appropriate for the conference, but I hope they will. I saw the courses as each slightly different, and varying in their level of detail and expected background knowledge. I’ve been working in the accessibility arena for several years now, so it’s sometimes hard for me to remember that not everyone has the same appreciation for the nuances of the field. I see the proposed topics as appealing to different groups, as well – I’d argue that the last one could be for non-technical attendees, whereas Making RIAs Accessible would definitely be technical, and the other session would fall somewhere in between.

While I’ll be waiting to hear if my proposed topics are of interest, I may consider developing them out regardless. I haven’t yet decided exactly what to speak about at Columbus Digital, so there may be some overlap there.

I’m definitely excited about this opportunity, so I hope it will all pan out..