Youth event website designed with access in mind
- Qatar: Monday, September 10 - 2012 at 16:08
- PRESS RELEASE
As part of their commitment to creating a community for every young person in Qatar, the organizers of TEDxYouth@Doha, an annual event where youth driven ideas are exchanged, are ensuring that their website can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
Uzair Mohammad, Co-Curator of TEDxYouth@Doha, said: "By working with Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center), the TEDxYouth@Doha web development team was able to design a website which allows people with different needs and abilities to access the content of the site, which tells you everything you need to know about TEDxYouth@Doha.
"Our desire is for TEDxYouth@Doha to become an intrinsic part of Qatari society. That is why ensuring that all of our outreach material, including our website, are accessible to people with disabilities is engrained in our communications strategy. All our marketing materials are a reflection of this primary goal- to reach all youth in Qatar." said Mohammad.
Among other things, having an accessible website means that users who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers or Braille displays, are able to navigate the content in a clear and barrier free way. E-accessibility experts at Mada provided the advice that was required to ensure that the TEDxYouth@Doha website was universally accessible to all.
David Banes, CEO of Mada said: "We are pleased to see popular initiatives such as TEDxYouth@Doha making such a strong commitment to e-accessibility. The fact the event, and all of its content, is organized by young people is a sign that Qatar is making real progress in building an accessible ICT environment in the near future."
The Digital Development team at TEDxYouth@Doha is mainly comprised of students. Many of these young people attended a workshop on e-accessibility organized by Mada. The day-long session is regularly offered by Mada, free of charge, to web developers and content managers, covering a wide range of topics on how to build accessible digital platforms.
Nazar Salim, Lead Web Developer for TEDxYouth@Doha and a student at Qatar University, said: "The Mada e-accessibility workshop enabled our team to envision a website that balanced aesthetics and functionality in a way that we never thought of before. Our innovative design will include several accessibility features, and will hopefully be a trend-setter in the Qatari digital sphere."
The impact of building an accessible website will be felt beyond the success of the event. Many of the young people working on the project are on a career path in the world of web development, and will use the skills they have learnt through TEDxYouth@Doha and Mada in their adult lives and jobs, whether in Qatar, or beyond.
A student at Doha's Ideal Indian School, 18-year-old Shaikh Farhan was one of the young volunteers who attended the Mada-run workshop.
He said: "Mada's workshop was fantastic. I learnt so much about designing websites that I hadn't even thought about before, not just from an e-accessibility perspective, but otherwise too. A lot of the lessons our team learnt at the Mada workshops are displayed on the website.
"I would never have had a chance to learn these skills without TEDxYouth@Doha. It has been a really worthwhile effort in which to be involved. I find that my friends are really interested in what I am doing and a lot of them want to be involved next year."
Farhan and the rest of the team have ensured that their website takes into account issues such as color contrast, enabling low vision and color blind users to access the site. The website will also include alternative text, which is essential for blind users who depend on assistive technology to access the site.
For its part, Mada has acknowledged the level of accessibility achieved by the TEDxYouth@Doha website by awarding it the "Access Committed" badge as part of the National Web Accreditation Program. Through this program, websites across Qatar are recognized for different levels of commitment made towards ensuring that their platforms are accessible to people with disabilities. As a result of this recognition, the TEDxYouth@Doha website joins a small group of websites in Qatar that have been able to achieve this level of accessibility.
"We are really honored to be recognized by Mada for our work in the area of e-accessibility. Working with them has enabled us to fulfill our commitment to creating an event that is relevant and accessible to all," added Florent D'Souza, Director of Communications at TEDxYouth@Doha.
TEDxYouth@Doha will be held on November 17, 2012 in Doha, Qatar and is being organized entirely by young people, for young people.
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