News

National Endowment for the Arts to Present Webinar on Accessibility in Media Arts

May 15, 2013 session explores making online content broadly accessible

Washington, DC -- The vast connectivity made possible by today's digital devices and programs creates tremendous opportunities and considerable challenges. Although organizations can engage their audiences in many and powerful ways, individuals with differing vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive abilities may need appropriate accommodation in order to participate fully. The National Endowment for the Arts will host a webinar on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET at arts.gov to discuss best practices for making websites and digital content widely accessible to all audiences.

The webinar will feature experts from the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH and the AbleGamers Foundation. The panelists will discuss steps that organizations can take to build accessibility into the design of websites, mobile apps, videos, and video games. Beth Bienvenu, NEA's accessibility director, will moderate a panel that includes:

Mark Barlet, President, CEO, AbleGamers Foundation
Larry Goldberg, Director, Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH
Johnny Richardson, Industry Outreach Director, AbleGamers Foundation

How to join the webinar Date:  May 15, 2013
Time:  3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 p.m. Central, 1:00 p.m. Mountain, 12:00 p.m. Pacific)

Participants will need to register for the webinar prior to the session.

You can listen to the webinar using your computer speakers or dial in toll-free at 1-877-685-5350, participant code: 739587. Attendees will be muted but able to type in questions and comments through a Q&A text box. The webinar will be captioned and archived for later viewing on the NEA's website.

Presenter Biographies

Beth Bienvenu is the director of the Office of Accessibility at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she manages the NEA's technical assistance and advocacy work devoted to making the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people in institutional settings. She provides guidance and support to state arts agency staff and other professionals working the fields of arts access, creativity and aging, arts and health, universal design, and arts in corrections. Prior to coming to the NEA, she worked as a policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), where she analyzed public and private sector policies and practices related to the employment of persons with disabilities. She also served as an adjunct professor for George Mason University’s Master of Arts in Arts Management program, where she taught courses in arts policy and comparative international arts policy, and she has a background in performing arts management.

Larry Goldberg is director of the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH. There he oversees WGBH Boston's National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM, the research and development arm of WGBH's media access activities). He previously directed WGBH's two media access production/service departments: The Caption Center and Descriptive Video Service®, now known collectively as the WGBH Media Access Group. He regularly publishes on media access issues, presents WGBH research at conferences, and consults for government and media and technology companies on access issues. Goldberg was a pioneer in the development of the digital television and Internet closed captioning standards now required by the FCC and has been a member of numerous advisory boards at the FCC, for major corporations, and national consumer groups across the country. Goldberg's team was awarded a patent in 1996 for "Rear Window®," the first closed captioning system for movie theaters and theme parks and in August 2007 was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.

Mark Barlet is the co-founder of the AbleGamers Foundation. Disabled while serving in the United States Air Force, he refused to let disabilities take away the joy of gaming. Barlet is seen as one of the pioneers of game accessibility, speaking on the topic from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to Microsoft Pacific/Asia Conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. He is the winner of the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD), Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award for 2012. Barlet has used the opportunities this prestigious award brings to shine a stronger light on the need for greater accessibility in the game space. He brings 18 years of software development behind his passion for game accessibility. During the day he is senior accessibility engineer for The Paciello Group, a global leader in software accessibility.

Johnny Richardson is a games and web media developer and consultant based in Boston. Currently he is the lead user interface engineer at Disruptor Beam, whose latest game, Game of Thrones: Ascent, recently entered open beta on Facebook. He is also the director of industry outreach for The AbleGamers Foundation. Previously, he was a developer at experiential marketing agency Jack Morton Worldwide, where he built dozens of branded online/social media and game experiences for a wide range of clientele. Having worked on many sides and in every stage of the development pipeline, Richardson specializes in creating accessible software and games. He continues to work independently with small, indie developers and major publishers alike on issues related to accessibility -- from broad conceptual methods to nuts-and-bolts engineering. He is also highly interested in the continuing diversification of game audiences and the development workforce, games as tools for social change, and industry quality of life.