OZeWAI is a strong and well-established network of people with broad interests in and expertise with accessibility.

Confirmed speakers:

Alastair McEwin (@almcewinddc), Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission (Monday keynote) - Empowerment through technology: why digital inclusion matters [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • Alastair McEwin is Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner. He commenced in this role in August 2016. Alastair’s educational background is in arts, law and business administration. Following his undergraduate studies in Adelaide, he spent time in Vancouver, Canada, pursuing postgraduate studies. Prior to moving to Sydney to commence as a consultant with Accenture, a global management and IT consulting company, he worked as Associate to the Hon. Justice John von Doussa at the Federal Court. Alastair has a strong background in working with non-profit organisations. He was the Executive Director of Community Legal Centres NSW, the peak body for Community Legal Centres in NSW. Other roles include CEO of People with Disability Australia and Manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law. Prior to commencing in his current role, he was the Chairperson of the NSW Disability Council, the official advisory board to the NSW Government on disability issues. He was also the President of the Deaf Society of NSW and Chairperson of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf. He has also been the coordinator of the World Federation of the Deaf Expert Group on Human Rights and an adjunct lecturer for the Masters of Community Management degree at the University of Technology Sydney.

John Sheridan (@sherro58), Australian Government Chief Technology Officer - Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services (Tuesday keynote) [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • John Sheridan joined the APS Senior Executive Service in 2002, after 22 years in the Australian Army and three in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. In Defence, he was the lead IT architect and, later, responsible for the design and development of IT systems. In the Australian Government Information Management Office, John negotiated the Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement, managed major ICT budget reductions, and led whole of government matters such as australia.gov.au, data centre strategy, coordinated procurement, industry engagement, and telecommunications services. In February 2013, John became the first Australian Government Chief Technology Officer. In addition to his responsibilities for ICT, coordinated and general procurement policy and operations, John assists the business community as the Australian Government Procurement Coordinator.

Professor Peter Radoll (@peterradoll), Dean of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy, University of Canberra (Wednesday keynote) [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • Peter Radoll is a descendant of the Anaiwan people. He is the inaugural Dean of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy at the University of Canberra and Director of the Ngunnawal Centre. Prior to this position, Professor Radoll was the inaugural Dean of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Research at the University of Newcastle, and Academic and Research Director of the Wollotuka Institute. Being one of Australia’s early Aboriginal graduates in Information Technology, Professor Radoll is recognised as a national and international authority in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Indigenous research and Digital Inclusion, and is one of the most influential Indigenous educationalists in Australia today. He holds a concurrent role as Professor of Information Technology at the University of Canberra, was Professor of Information Systems at the University of Newcastle, and has taught and researched in Information Systems in the College of Business and Economics at Australian National University and the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. His PhD examined the adoption and effective use of ICTs in Remote, Rural and Urban Aboriginal households.

Wilco Fiers (@wilcofiers), Deque Systems - Accessibility testing, in the eye of the beholder [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • Wilco is an accessibility technology expert at Deque Systems, Inc. He is founder and chair of the Auto-WCAG community group. Wilco has participated in a variety of accessibility projects such as WAI-AGE, WAI-ACT and EIII as well as being a developer in open source projects such as QuailJS and WCAG-EM Report Tool




Leona Zumbo (LinkedIn), Senior Digital Inclusion Consultant, Vision Australia (@DigitalAccessVA) - Self-service Banking

  • Find out what the future of self-service banking might look like, and how to improve the experience for people with different abilities. Vision Australia will share the methodology and general findings from their recent Accessibility Observational Study of National Australia Bank’s ATMs. We’ll discuss the challenges of touchscreen technologies, how ATM audio scripts and systems can be improved, and what factors constitute a wheelchair-accessible ATM.

Sarah Pulis (@sarahtp, @Intopiadigital) Director of Accessibility Services, Intopia

  • By day I work to make the digital world more inclusive as director and cofounder of Intopia. By night I am an a11y avenger, working in the shadows to bring you the awesome accessibility events, A11y Bytes and A11y Camp. I work with organisations at a strategic and a technical level to create more inclusive experiences for people and make accessibility business as usual for organisations. I’m described as passionate about accessibility… and then some. I also like reading WCAG – don’t hold it against me.

Chris Pycroft, (@chrispytweets, @Intopiadigital), Intopia: Barrier free mental health through inclusive design

  • With mental health becoming a core component of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and many leading mental health and suicide prevention organisations increasing service delivery and support through digital platforms, how organisations are making their services both inclusive and accessible. This presentation will outline current digital service demand in the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, organisations delivering mental health services specifically for people with a disability, and analyse leading organisations who are already incorporating accessibility into their service offerings.

Vithya Vijayakumare (LinkedIn), Digital Production Coordinator, Accessible Information Services, VisAbility - Accessibile ePub3: The Road to "Inclusive Publishing"

  • Vithya has extensive experience leading the accessible digital and audio production line. She delivers projects using accessible formats including DAISY, ePub3 Audio Books and other eBook formats (Accessible PDF, Word, RTF). With a Masters of Innovation Technologies from ECU, specialising in multimedia, sound design and 3D Surround Sound, Vithya has developed a great passion for digital accessibility and inclusive publishing ever since 2009. Vithya is currently working as a Digital Production Coordinator for VisAiblity’s Accessible Information Services Department. She is in-charged of overseeing the production of accessible talking books and the conversion/production of print materials into alternative formats for people with print disabilities. Vithya’s goal is to further research on accessible publishing and continue producing publications that are inclusive, interactive and “Born Accessible”.

Herin Hentry (@HerinHentry), Accessibility Consultant - Agile and Accessibility - Water and Oil?

  • WCAG is not scary anymore (https://goo.gl/kBepUL) was an effort for a progressive approach to Accessibility in SDLC web development methodology.  Agile is becoming popular as the applications are built, checked and modified in an iterative way for business processes. But, when it comes to accessibility, an agile approach can avoid the most common issue of retrofitting accessibility. In "Agile and Accessibility - Water and Oil?" presentation, Herin discusses the challenges in integrating Accessibility principles in Agile manifesto.This presentation includes - how the scrum team can integrate accessibility in backlog, how the accessibility responsibility can be broken down, how to include accessibility in Definition of Done and more.

David Masters (@mastersofdavid, @MSFTenable), Corporate Affairs Manager, Microsoft Australia - Inclusiveness and Transparency: Microsoft’s approach to accessibility [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • David has worked in the technology industry for close to two decades. He has been a Ministerial policy adviser, a consultant, a journalist and a public servant in previous incarnations. In his current role he is increasingly passionate about the ability for technology to empower people with a disability


Russ Weakley (@russmaxdesignGithub, slideshare), Ambiata 

  • Russ Weakley has worked in the design field for over 20 years. Russ is a User Experience professional, User-focused Web Designer, Front-end Developer and trainer



Roger Hudson, Web Usability

  • Roger Hudson established Web Usability in 2000, and has provided website usability and accessibility services to many corporate and government clients. He has a detailed understanding of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and is familiar with the needs of web users with disabilities and how these needs can be most effectively met. Roger has reviewed the accessibility of over 200 websites and online applications and conducted many task-based usability and accessibility evaluations with a wide range of web users, including those with disabilities. He has also done a range of accessibility research projects and presented papers and workshops on his work at conferences in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Roger is also member of the Amateur Beekeepers Association of NSW.

Andrew Downie, TAFE NSW

  • Andrew Downie is TAFE NSW's Adaptive Technologies Officer. He is a psychologist with a post-graduate diploma in education. He appreciates the benefits that both mainstream and specialised technology offer. He is not, however, a fan of gadgets for their own sake - equipment should be useful rather than gimmicky. An issue that Andrew is passionate about is the potential benefit to people who have disabilities by the effective use of technology.  


Dr Vivienne Conway (LinkedIn, @vivienne_conway, @webkey_it), WebKeyIT - The trouble with private health company websites : getting it right

  • You would think that private health companies would really understand that many of their members have health conditions, or would you? It seems that this isn’t the case in Australia. We will have a brief look at three public health websites, HBF, Medibank Private and Bupa from both a technical compliance and a user with disability perspective, and then learn the response from these companies when contacted with the issues.


Mark Rogers, Powermapper (@powermapper) - Screen Reader Support for WCAG Techniques – Trend Data since 2013

  • Support for some WCAG techniques is good and improving, but support for others techniques is getting worse. As support for some techniques decreases websites using those techniques become more inaccessible even if they don’t change



Amanda Mace (LinkedIn, @webkey_it), WebKeyIT - Can you find your way? A hands-on challenge using your smartphone and screen-reader

  • An interactive workshop using built in voice technology on mobile devices (either iOS or Android) to plan a journey in a public transportation application 


Zel Iscel, InclusiveWorld - Navigation apps from a user's perspective: How much information is accessible and what is still missing

  • Zel Iscel runs her own disability consultancy, Inclusive World, where she provides specialist disability advice around Australia and abroad. She has also recently joined the staff of Web Key IT as website analyst / consultant.
  • Blind from birth, Zel has first hand understanding of the challenges involved when using adaptive technology as well as the opportunities that technology has made possible. The mobile phone in particular has become invaluable for Zel.
  • Zel’s work requires her to travel to different offices. These are usually places she has never visited before. Zel uses several navigation aps to plan a route and find her way to these places.

Julian Rzechowicz, (@adelphidigital), Adelphi Digital - The forgotten users

  • Julian Rzechowicz is currently a Digital Consultant at Adelphi Digital. However, it was only recently that a shift brought him into this space after having worked instead as a front-end developer. He has approximately 3 years' worth of experience working in the front-end development space, including time in the Online Services Branch at AGIMO. It was here that he was first exposed to the rules and reasons behind web accessibility.
  • However, Julian's experience is not just limited to the online space. From 2012 until 2015 he broadened his skills by hopping over to Japan to teach English. It was over this time that he not just furthered his understanding of the rules of English, but the elements that often make professional writing exclusionary. Since returning to Australia he has also maintained a presence as a writer on a gaming news, review and media website.

Darren Britten, La Trobe University - Accessibility standards and user skills; a tertiary perspective

  • Darren Britten has been involved in inclusive practice and the development of accessible resources at La Trobe University for the past 13 years. Darren has been active in designing and developing learning objects for online learning, student evaluation systems and has been instrumental in developing the Inclusive Resources Development (IRD) team that provides accessible resources support for students with print and hearing impairments. IRD has won several awards for student support including: 'Making a Difference' award from Vision Australia, an 'Excellence in Transition Award' from Pathways 9 and a La Trobe University Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Mat Mirabella (@matmirabella), NV Access Ltd: NVDA screen reader workshop

  • Mat has been a part of the accessibility community since 2000. Mat worked at Telstra for more than 12 years in the technology and usability space. As well as research and development into new and emerging technologies, Mat has focussed on user experience across the entire product lifecycle. Mat was a participant on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines working group and became Telstra's subject matter expert in Accessibility and inclusive design across a range of technologies.

  • In 2007, along with Michael Curran and James Teh, Mat helped to found NV Access ltd. NV Access lowers the economic and social barriers associated with accessing Technology for the blind and vision impaired by developing free assistive software. One such software package is NVDA - the free open source Windows-based screen reader. At OZeWAI this year, Mat will be demonstrating how users use NVDA and will discuss how the screen reader can be used to help you test your websites for accessibility.

Derek Featherstone (@feather, @SAteaches), Simply Accessible - Presentation: Inclusive service design: The outcome and the process. Workshop: Inclusive UX design: At the elbows

  • Derek Featherstone has been working as a web professional since 1999 and is an internationally known speaker and authority on accessibility and web design. He leads the team at Simply Accessible, based in Ottawa, Canada
  • Derek always puts the user first and strives to make the web a better place by designing experiences that are easy to use for everyone, including people with disabilities. Derek’s ideal accessible experience combines engaging and rich content with brilliant design and technical development excellence. That user-centred focus sets the course for Simply Accessible, and—more importantly—their clients.

Matthew Putland, (LinkedIn), Media Access Australia: WCAG 2.0 Woes

  • Matthew Putland has established a passion for providing accessible solutions to websites and applications to ensure that everyone can benefit from an inclusive experience. With a background in I.T and experience in working with people with disabilities, Matthew works to ensure that technology can enable access for everyone.
  • Matthew conducts accessibility audits of websites and applications based on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) internationally recognized recommendations and guidelines. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG 2.0), are two major set of guidelines that Matthew utilizes in combination with professional knowledge to ensure that digital media creates an inclusive experience for all users. Matthew also works closely with clients training them in accessibility fundamentals and can provide recommendations to organizations on how best to make their content accessible to everyone. Matthew's work in his Senior role incorporates working in ensuring Media Access Australia's Accessibility Auditors have the best possible resources and assistance to accurately conduct accessibility audits of digital technology

Gian Wild, (@AccessibilityOz), CEO AccessibilityOz - Making video accessible

  • Gian Wild is the CEO of AccessibilityOz. She has worked in accessibility industry since 1998. Her major achievements include: the very first Australian accessible web site; the accessibility compliance of the Melbourne 2006 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; her six years’ active membership in the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group; and her speech on the importance of web accessibility at the United Nations Conference of State Parties in June last year. Gian has spoken at conferences in Australia, US, Canada, South America and Europe

Leigh Gittoes (@leigit_), Senior Frontend Engineer at Oakton - AngularJS A11y: A technical guide

  • Leigh Gittoes is a passionate OpenSource and Accessibility advocate currently working on the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade Passport Redevelopment Program using Angular 2. 



Adam Spencer, (@accessibilit), Head of Document Accessibility Services, Accessibil-IT: PDF vs. HTML…Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  • As organizations have tried to develop their approach to ensuring all their digital content is accessible, many have made extreme decisions based on limited understanding or consultation with differing subject matter experts. The war of HTML vs. PDF vs. Source Format Accessibility has gotten out of control and organizations are not making well thought out decisions. Too many organizations and government agencies have made sweeping unidirectional decisions which are costing too much, are unsustainable, and don’t actually deliver content the way that people expect. This session will explore how these decisions have impacted overall accessibility of content, and how they will reduce overall accessibility

Scott Hollier (LinkedIn), Specialist Advisor, Digital Accessibility: Will your toaster become WCAG 2.0 compliant?

  • Dr Scott Hollier specialises in the field of digital accessibility and is the author of the book ‘Outrunning the Night: a life journey of disability, determination and joy’. With a Ph.D. in Internet Studies and project management experience across the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors, Scott is an internationally-recognised researcher and speaker.   Consultancy areas include  consumer-based support for service organisations, developer-based support for ICT professionals for web and app-related work and support across different organisational roles to achieve compliance with digital accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0.  Services include direct consultancy, project management, accessibility training and resource development.  Scott also lectures at Edith Cowan University and the University of South Australia in the areas of information management and web accessibility

Andrew Normand (@Andrew_Normand), University of Melbourne: Accessibility of Virtual Reality Environments

  • Andrew is the Web Accessibility Lead at the University of Melbourne. Over the past 6 years he has employed 30 students with hearing, vision, mobility and cognitive impairments, to conduct user experience testing. Together they identify barriers to access, prepare guides for academics and provide training to University staff



Tony Abrahams (@accessinclusion), CEO, AI Media [This presentation will be live streamed]

  • Tony is the Co-founder and CEO of Ai-Media, a for-profit social enterprise operating in the media and EdTech industries – delivering accurate speech-to-text and related analytics. Established in 2003, Ai-Media employs over 200 people in Australia and the UK and provides closed captioning services for television clients including Foxtel, BBC Worldwide Australia, Nine Network Australia, Seven West Media, and Discovery.
  • Tony is a non-executive director of Northcott Disability Services and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. As a Rhodes Scholar, Tony received an MBA (2001) and MPhil in Economics (2000) from the University of Oxford. He received an LLB (1998), BCom (Hons I) (1996) from the University of New South Wales. He was awarded the University Medal in Accounting and served as Editor of the UNSW Law Journal. In 2013 Tony was appointed a Young Global Leader.

Panel members:

Sue Salthouse

David Saxberg

Pascal Klein, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA)

Andrew Arch, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), (@amja)

  • Andrew Arch currently works in the Digital Transformation Agency. He has the primary responsibility for accessibility and inclusivity issues and works across the product teams to ensure diversity is considered in their user research and service design. He also a strong interest in broader digital inclusion issues.
  • Andrew has worked with the web since 1994 and has a long history with web accessibility, including working with the W3C and with Vision Australia. More recently he was part of the team in the Dept of Finance responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy for Government to adopt WCAG 2.0

Charles Nevile (@chaals), Yandex

  • Chaals (Charles) McCathie Nevile works in the Yandex CTO office and is their primary representative at W3C. His experience includes seven years as Opera's Chief Standards Officer, six years on W3C's staff, and stretches back to a tall boy in short pants working on pre-web systems in Australia in the 1980s. He is co-chair of W3C's Web Applications Working Group and has a wide range of interests based around technology to support applications. He currently lives in Spain and is learning Russian in his spare time

Ian Laslett, Managing Director Australia, (@adelphidigital), Adelphi Digital

  • Bringing experience in 100’s of web projects for government and large corporates, Ian will provide insight into digital trends for the future and some anecdotal experience on award winning projects in government



Brigitta Norton, Digital Consultant and Marketing Manager Australia, (@adelphidigital), Adelphi Digital

  • Bri Norton is a Digital Consultant with Adelphi Digital Consulting Group. She has a wealth of experience in developing small and large websites, from initiation to launch, for private, government and non-profit organisations. Her expertise allows her to take a company’s vision, decode it for the programmers, structure it into a framework for designers and front-end developers. Most importantly she understands that the information on the website must be searchable, accessible and user-friendly for all visitors to find and access using all kinds of devices from anywhere around the world.

Liddy Nevile

  • Liddy's particular interests in recent years have been the accessibility to all of digital resources and the use of metadata. She has been working as an author and editor for accessibility and accessibility metadata specifications with W3C, the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, the European Committee for Standardization and the IMS Global Learning Project. She was metadata and accessibility developer for several major portals prior to this work. Her lifelong interest has been in new technologies and how they can be used to serve human purposes, what she calls 'convivial' technologies. This interest has led to on-going work with the goal of finding ways to enable a remote Aboriginal community to repatriate its culture. It also has involved a significant amount of work with young people and prototype computer environments.