WordPress Accessibility Day 2023: Diverse Speakers & Doubled Sponsors

WP Accessibility Day (WPAD), a highly anticipated virtual conference, has released its schedule for the upcoming event on September 27, 2023. With over 1,248 registered attendees from 30 different countries, WPAD is set to be a global gathering of accessibility enthusiasts and experts. This year, the conference has attracted a diverse lineup of speakers, with all speakers (excluding sponsored sessions) being first-time presenters at the event.

The keynote address will feature a conversation between Jennison Asuncion, co-founder of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and Joe Dolson, an accessibility consultant and co-founder of WordPress Accessibility Day. Attendees can expect to learn valuable insights on performing usability and accessibility tests on their websites, building accessible WordPress pages and posts using the block editor, making email more accessible, understanding color and contrast requirements in WCAG 2, and much more.

WPAD has made significant efforts to ensure a diverse representation among its speakers. Based on the available statistics, the organizers have successfully recruited speakers from 10 different countries. The speaker lineup consists of 67% female, 30% male, and 3% nonbinary individuals. Additionally, 14% of the speakers identify as LGBTQ, while 41% identify as non-white. It is worth noting that 11 out of the 27 speakers have disabilities themselves, representing 41% of the total speakers. This diverse range of perspectives promises to offer valuable insights for developers, policy makers, content creators, and community organizers alike.

Earlier this year, WPAD achieved non-profit status through a fiscal sponsorship partnership with Knowbility, an Austin-based digital accessibility advocate and services provider. This independent status allows WPAD to make decisions such as compensating speakers for their time and expertise. The event is supported by corporate and community sponsors, many of whom responded positively to the sponsorship opportunities this year. The addition of a microsponsorship option earlier in the year has also allowed WPAD to attract more businesses as microsponsors.

The goal of the sponsorship team was to secure enough sponsorships to cover the event’s costs, make a donation to Knowbility as part of their fiscal sponsorship agreement, and have funds remaining for year-round expenses. Thanks to the hard work of the sponsors team leads Bet Hannon and Joe Hall, as well as the support of the community, WPAD has successfully met its sponsorship goals at most tiers. The increased number of sponsors reflects the growing awareness of accessibility as an important issue and the WordPress community’s commitment to supporting high-quality accessibility education.

In a new development for 2023, WPAD will be broadcasting the event via Zoom. This change was prompted by feedback from attendees who found the previous YouTube broadcast format limiting in terms of layout and accessibility options. Zoom’s sign language interpretation view allows hosts to assign interpreters, providing a better experience for attendees who rely on sign language interpretation. Attendees can customize their view to prioritize speakers, slides, signers, and captions according to their preferences.

Registration for WP Accessibility Day is still open and free for all attendees. As a token of appreciation, attendees who make a donation during registration will receive a special WPAD t-shirt. In addition to attending informative sessions, attendees also have the opportunity to receive virtual swag and win prizes from the event sponsors. Furthermore, the conference has been pre-approved for continuing education credits for the International Association of Accessibility Professionals’ Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) and Certified Professional in Core Competencies (CPACC) certifications.

WP Accessibility Day 2023 promises to be an inclusive and informative event that brings together accessibility advocates and experts from around the world. With its diverse lineup of speakers, comprehensive schedule, and commitment to accessibility, WPAD continues to be a leading platform for promoting inclusive web practices and raising awareness about digital accessibility. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this groundbreaking event. Register now and join the global accessibility community on September 27, 2023.

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