Thursday, July 25, 2024

ScotWeb2 09: Getting up close and personal with Stuart Harrison on Twitter and Jadu & James Coltham on usability and accessibility issues

ScotWeb2 was certainly a different experience from any other unconference I’ve been to. Usually an unconference would consist of a big group but this event was quite an intimate one, which I believe worked towards their advantage.

ScotWeb2 was certainly a different experience from any other unconference I’ve been to. Usually an unconference would consist of a big group but this event was quite an intimate one, which I believe worked towards their advantage.

This was the snipet about the event just in case you’d like to know what it was all about!

The event showcases enterprising, innovative and entrepreneurial behaviours in the web 2 world

Come and listen to w00tonomy, Mike McTernan on mobile devices and the web, schoolchildrens’ perceptions of the future and the web, Games designers, Alistair Tibbett from web 2 user charity Greener Leith , Iain Henderson on VRM from Mydex, Duncan Stephen who blogs as Scottish RoundUp, Pezholio, leaders in twitter use from Lichfield City Council ,

This time we will again be focusing on individuals, organisations, communities, social enterprise, businesses, local and central government, and other public sector agencies working with web 2.0 to grow a sustainable economy and deliver public services and public value to the people of Scotland.

Check out Alex Stobart’s ScotWeb2 coverage of this event as well!

The main supporters of this event were Jadu and LearningPool who also presented at this event. It was such a pleasure to see familiar faces in Scotland 🙂 I even managed to capture this cheerful picture of Mary McKenna (MD of LearningPool), which PSLC event I covered for not too long ago here. I also did a another post on Paul McElvaney’s presentation at ScotWeb2 on “Collaborative Learning and Saving Money” complete with video! Be sure to check that out !

Once again, I’ve managed to bump into @SurajKika from CEO Jadu, who I also met at another event recently, which I also covered here.

It was certainly great to finally meet Stuart Harrison – Lichfield District Council (@Pezholio) after months and months interacting on Twitter and telephone! He did a great presentation on “The Twhys, Twhows and Twherefores of Twitter”.  Gosh, isn’t that just my favourite subject 😉

Anyways, Stuart gave us a great little introduction on twitter using examples on how people use them then slipped in this useful little video explaining twitter, which I have shared on this blog before, but there’s no harm in sharing it again with any new readers out there. So here you go. Enjoy!

Its @Pezholio in the flesh!

As you can see above, Stuarts got 44 slides in his presentation! So there’s alot on there that will give you a greater understanding on how individuals, local councils, organizations and even customer services are using Twitter to engage with either each other, citizens or even their customers. I know for some of you, this might all sound a bit alien, frightening and wonder how Twitter actually works but don’t fear, it certainly doesn’t bite!

From Stuart’s presentation and certainly my own experiences weaved into it, I certainly feel Twitter is “Whatever you’d like it to be!” Take this for example, when you meet people in a certain space/room and have a conversation, you could either decide to engage with those people and those conversations and you could also choose to leave the conversation or room if you feel it is not benefiting you in any way.  You could also choose to be in the room and start listening in on those conversations and possibly enlighten yourself and learn something valuable or useful.

Flick through the slides to find the hidden gems….

If you flick through his slides you’ll see the various examples on how local councils can start using twitter and benefit from those fruitful and insightful conversations happening online about their own local council.

Stuart’s glory and fan club…

I was happy to see Stuart also talk about the now widely used and popular Twitterplan! You can check out my interview with Stuart sometime ago here.  I applaud Stuart’s efforts and hope to see more developments like this in other local councils in the near future. If you are interested to join Stuart and Friends in developing more new exciting mashups, you can join this group to keep up to date and join in on all the fun!

Let’s talk about usability and accessibility of local council websites

Its definitely useful to talk about issues of usability and accessibility when it comes to local council websites. Some might say that this issue is not talked about enough. I mean I feel I certainly haven’t made enough effort to draw out the issues emerging from social media when it comes to social media effects on usability and accessibility.  So it was great to hear somebody else being aware and bringing this topic to the surface at ScotWeb2.

James Coltham – the Pretty Simple guy….

James (follow James on Twitter at @prettysimple) had written a brief blog post about “Auto-play: a usability and accessibility failure” that supports his presentation. I thoroughly recommend everyone to read it as he highlights some good tips for good usability and accessibility such as….

James does talk about the fact that with the rising usage of social media, there are people who are being left behind thereby widening the effect of digital divide. Among the issues are:

  • Captcha signups
  • Dynamic webpages
  • Pages updating automatically as new content comes along. How do screen readers manage that? Do they know the screen readers are being updated?
  • The pure volume of content out there, videos on youtube and tweeting on twitter.

Social media cybersquatting anyone….?

James also recently made a great comment on one of my blog posts on Edinburgh City Council’s Twitter Identity theft here as well as writing a blog post on his own thoughts on the subject here – Cybersquatting 2.0 – protecting your name in Social Media. I highly recommend checking this post out, James makes some great observations here that is very useful.

Check out the video below to catch a snipet of James presentation. (The saxophone playing in the background was not added in, it was an added bonus coming from the streets of Edinburgh! 😉 ) James has kindly done a transcript of this video which you can find on his blog here. Here’s a man who truly does what he preaches! Well done James!

Jadu is addressing the usability and accessibility issues for local council websites

Jadu also talked about usability and accessibility issues by using East Lothian Council’s website as an example. Have a look at this snapshot of East Lothian’s website for accessibility settings. I’ve always loved the look and feel of Jadu councils websites… they always seem really clean, simple and very web 2.0 ! 😉 Check it out! You can go straight to the webpage by clicking on the picture.

Jadu also was recently quoted by Robin Christopherson (Head of Accessibility Services at AbilityNet) in an interview I conducted at the “Building Perfect Council Website 2009” at Olympia as being one of the more ‘accessibility’ friendly CMS suppliers for local council websites. You can check out the blog post here and the video interview below.

There is currently a problem playing this video on this website. Kindly click on the video to be directed to the video on Vimeo’s website. It is working there. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Robin Christopherson: New approaches to accessibility from Liz Azyan on Vimeo.

So that rounds up my “up close and personal” sessions at ScotWeb2.

Hope this was useful! 🙂