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Will Accessibility Rain on Your Cloud Parade?

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The hype around cloud computing has created a storm of standards and open source activity. Many IT and business leaders have either defined or are in the process of defining their cloud strategy. At the same time government legislation and high-profile lawsuits are emphasizing the need for accessibility. Although significant energy has been put into defining the business case and value for cloud computing, adopting cloud computing and implementing cloud computing, very little focus has been given to ensuring the accessibility of cloud computing models. At first glance, it may seem that adhering to W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines will ensure accessibility of cloud services; however, those guidelines apply to browser-based access. Other models of access, including remote desktop connections, require additional thought and planning. Also, by including assistive technologies as part of the service, services can be enhanced to more broadly meet the needs of all users. This session identifies the “gotchas” and provides guidelines to help with planning and implementing an accessible cloud computing service.



Elizabeth Woodward Research Software Engineer IBM

Elizabeth Woodward is a Senior Software Engineer with the IBM Research Human Ability and Accessibility Center (HA&AC) Advanced Technology team with a focus on inclusive, accessible mobile and cloud computing. She leads development of a Software as a Service (SaaS) mobile project, has helped defined the cloud strategy for her organization, and is establishing a channel partner program for scalable, cloud delivery of research technologies. She served as the lead technical editor for the Cloud Standards Customer Council’s Practical Guide to Cloud Computing, sponsored by OMG and delivered in September 2011. Elizabeth is also an IBM inventor, advocate of agile methods and co-author of an agile development book, A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum.

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