Leading Accessible Online Communities #CMAD

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On Air: 21:00 - 22:00 EST (GMT-5)
Monday, January 27th, 2014


What practices, tools, and resources can an online community use to remove access barriers for people with disabilities? Learn about barriers and solutions from community managers with direct accessibility experience and with a variety of disabilities. We’ll walk the talk with panelists on both the Hangout (which is not fully accessible) and Twitter, and volunteers helping to bridge communications between the two.


BJ WishinskyBJ Wishinsky
Bookshare Social Media Coordinator at Benetech

BJ’s passion is building inclusive community for social good. She’s worked as a social media consultant and community manager for technology-focused nonprofits including TechSoup, Anita Borg Institute, and now Benetech. Since joining the Bookshare project, she has been thinking a lot about accessibility to the social networks and websites we use for connecting communities.

Connect with BJ on Twitter at @leapingwoman or on Google+.


Cathy BrowneCathy Browne
PR Pro and Photographer at Seeing Things

Cathy Browne is a tech-savvy PR veteran and communications strategist with more than 30 years of experience. She is also a blind photographer, content creator, community builder, and accessibility advocate. Cathy is a member of the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Council for the City of Vancouver.

Connect with Cathy on Twitter at @CathyBrowne or on Google+

Jennifer ColeJennifer Cole
Director of GimpGirl and Research Associate at EDGE Lab

Jennifer Cole (SL: JennyLin Arashi) is a founding member and Director of the GimpGirl Community. Jennifer is also a research associate in the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab at Ryerson University. She has worked with Oregon Public Health to create state policy recommendations around women with disabilities and sexual health. Jennifer currently resides in Washington State with her boyfriend and his son.

Connect with Jennifer on Twitter at @gimpgirl.

Allison HillikerAllison Hilliker
Operations Associate, Bookshare/Global Literacy at Benetech

Allison Hilliker provides customer support for Benetech’s global literacy program including Bookshare, the world’s largest online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. She is president of the East Valley chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona and secretary of the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. Allison is blind and has run volunteer programs in the field of disability advocacy for many years. She is also a graduate of Arizona State University West. Allison also does assistive technology podcasts on Blind Access Journal.

Connect with Allison on Twitter at @AlliTalk.

Katherine MancusoKatherine Mancuso
Community Liaison at GimpGirl and Technology Coach at Tech Liminal

Katherine Mancuso is a professional community manager experienced with big brands, small businesses, and nonprofits. Katherine has been on the staff of GimpGirl Community for 5 years, and she frequently speaks at national events on the topic of building accessible communities. She is a founding member of the Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C)’s Cognitive Accessibility Task Force and an expert on Second Life accessibility.

Connect with Katherine on Twitter at @MusingVirtual or on Google+.

Karen PutzKaren Putz

Owner, Passion Pursuits and Contributing Writer at HearingLikeMe

Karen Putz is a speaker, author, blogger, Passion Coach, and competitive barefoot water skier. Karen is also a board member and program director at Hands & Voices, a parent-driven organization is dedicated to providing non-biased support to families with deaf and hard of hearing children.

Connect with Karen on Twitter at @DeafMom or on Google+.

Anne ReussAnne Reuss
Social Media Community Manager at 360Connext and Founder of Eyesocial, LLC

Anne Reuss is a Customer Experience Community Manager addicted to adrenaline, adventures and fitness. Being deaf has taught her to love challenge and to listen abnormally well. Anne has written on accessibility from a variety of perspectives. Knowing how it feels to miss information or to be left out, she is acutely aware of other community participants and works to ensure they feel included. Her vlogs (video blogs) are recorded in ASL, her first language, and captioned for others.

Connect with Anne on Twitter at @AnneReuss or Google+

Patty Shore Kaden
Sign Language Interpreter

Discussion Questions

  1. What are most common online community barriers for people with disabilities?
  2. What are the most important roles a community manager can play in preventing and removing these barriers?
  3. What policies have you implemented or experienced that made an online community more inclusive to people with disabilities?
  4. How does accessibility factor into your decisions about which platforms to be on?
  5. How have you mitigated accessibility issues when you don’t own the community platform, for example Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Communities?
  6. What resources do you recommend for community managers who want to know more about fostering accessible online communities?

RSVP & Watch the Hangout

Want to RSVP for the Hangout? Visit #CMAD presents: Leading Accessible Online Communities and let us know you’re going to watch. This will add the event to your calendar and remind you to attend!

The video will play on the event page when the broadcast starts.

Not sure what time this is for your location? Use worldtimebuddy.com.

Sherrie Rohde

Community Manager at Magento
As the Community Manager for Magento, Sherrie connects people with resources and with each other, and, since she’s just a bit passionate about the topic, she also co-produces a weekly broadcast for community professionals called #CMGRHangout. An ENFP, Sherrie is obsessed with innovation, terrified of status quo, and motivated by adventure. 
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