SXSWi 07 Notes: WaSP Annual Meeting Takin' it to the street

The following are my panel notes from SXSW. As I am not the fastest typer I have paraphrased what was said. Should you notice any mistakes please do point them out in the comments for corrections.

Kimberley Blessing - Co-Lead
Derek Featherstone - Accessibility Task Force Co-Lead
Dori Smith - DOM Scripting Task Force Co-Lead
Stephanie Troeth

Molly Holzschlag:

As many of you know I've been group lead for 2 years and I've been working very hard to bring WaSP into the modern world. There was a point where Steve Champeon said if you open up comments on the site at some point I will slit my wrists. increadible things have happened this year. Let's highlight a couple of that have happened this year

WaSP Cafe - getting people together
IE7 - what an amazing experience to see a comapany that I worked for in the past, they used to joke that the moment you walked in the door you sewed your lips shut. Now they are avery forward facing company.

WCAG 2 has been a very controversial area that we are sifting through.

Opera passed the ACID 2 test

CSS is 10 years old. How many people don't use CSS? (no hands)

And now HTML is moving forward. For those of you that don't know theres the W3C and WHATWG and no there's a dialogue opened up between them.

Kimberley Blessing:

Everyone in this room owes Molly a hugh debt of gratitude. (Standing ovation)

Derek Featherstone

We've had a number of iniatives in the ATF. We struggling with whether we could come to a consensuse over WCAG2.

These are the things we will be focusing on in the next 6 months etc.
People want more. To learn more about a topic that's very important. We are going to be doing more conference and workshops and publishing tutorials etc.

We wrote an open letter to assistive technology to Assistive tech companies to ask them if we can work with them to make assistive technogies better. Things like test suites, so that when we're out there doing the right thing, we will know the technology will work together.

We are going to be publishing more articles on the WaSP blog and watch what's happening in the industry.

WCAG2 has 4 solid core principles. There are other areas that don't meet the needs of developers. What we want to do is say we know the techniques we know development. We want to help WCAG to write techniques that are more practical for developers. There's a lot W3C things with regard to WCAG that are a lot of good. There's a lot of time that's gone in to that, I don't want to see it wasted.

We are looking to tackle some of the leftover things that happened with the last redeign of the WaSP site.

DORI Smith

I was looking back at last year's AGM, we've had some big ideas. But we've been so darn busy. JavaScript has been huge. Last year we thought we were going to have to tell people that javaScript is a cool language. There's still a long way to go with regard to best practices. The world doesn't need 60 different JS libraries. Or 3 different HTML working groups.

We've been speaking at conferences and teaching classes. We've been writing books on best practices. Hopefully less books by (ed: less informed authors.)
Beginning JS by Chris Heilmann, Buillet Proof Ajax JK, PPK on JS etc.

We need help, if you write some good stuff or documentation then let us know and we will put it on the WaSP blog.

We are working with MS on the next version of IE. IE7 didn't do a lot with JS we are going to work with them on that.

Stephanie Troeth

Education task force.

This is my first SXSW actually it's nice to meet everyone.

Our focus has been on higher ed and colleges. We are interested in teh landscape of eductiona. In 2006 we've done one interview per month. The people that we interviewed are teachers. We are raising awareness. highEdWeb poster presentation by Rob Dickerson. Students are wondering why they are failed for using widely published CSS techniques. We want to do a curriculum survey so people can tell us what they are missing. Slides, info etc. We want to hear this from the teachers themselves. We want to collaborate with teachers and point to existing resources online.

We also want to look at content management systems. CMS' often don't produce good code. We'd like to address that this year

We need new members that can commit the energy and time. If you're interested, contact us on the EDUTf page on the WaSP site.

International Liaison group

(slide with 35 members)

21 languages available with more coming. The ILG consists of memebers that live and work in the various contries who are evangalising Web standards. We ahve these obectives for the following year. We want to focus on outreach. Obviously english is not the language that everyone communicates in. We are going to internationalise

WaSP are promoting web standards via WaSP Cafes. These are organised by affiliates or by web standards group members themselves.

KB: We stole an idea from record companies. We give you the WaSP street team. Giving you ways to get involved with Web Standards evangelization.

We are now looking to reach out to libraries to make sure that the books that are there are up to date. We can create some bookmarks that inform the person that other books are available.

Subscribe to the RSS feed.


Q: Can you talk to the CMS Vendors that highED uses?
A: (KB): This is something that comes up all of the time and we are looking to open dialogue with Education facilities.

Q: how do you join WaSP?
A (KB): It's invitation only. To get involved make yourself known. Teaching, something at your company. You need to demonstrate that you are making an effort. You also need to have time available to commit to WaSP. I would say 3-4 hours a week is required. If you're just getting started then there are other ways that you can get involved.
DF: The one caveats with all of this, is don't do all of these things to become a WaSP do it because it's the right thing.

Q: What about e-learning? With regard to accessible modules?
A: We're not directly addressing this. But we are looking to address this. …
Qcont: Adobe has captivate and it allows people to create modules that aren't accessible.
Acont (SK): Let's talk abou this afterwards

Q: Is WaSP working with Adobe on Apollo.
A: No
A (cont): Actually we are starting to speak to some people.

James Craig: I'd like to address the CMS question. One of the things is that WaSP can't put out a list of CMSs we have to remain neutral. that's why Molly left the group lead position when she started working with Microsoft.
KB: James put that very well. A policy of remaining neutral is important.
SK: We can't recommend one University or another. We can't endorse a specific university.
From the floor: There are other lists out there DIR?

Q: There are some obvious crossovers with the WSG, are there some ways we can work together.
A (SK) We already are, as there are members of the WSG in the ILG. So if you don't know about it come and talk to us.

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