Tuesday, June 29, 2004

TechEd Europe Keynote

The keynote for TechEd was interesting. The conference theme is 'feel the rhythm' - so to underline this, each delegate received a hand made African drum. On stage, and in the hall, were more drumers (with larger drums!). 6000 geeks banging on their drums was a definate wake-up call.

After the drummers, the room went dark, and the next speaker came onstage and started to give his talk. He said he did not care if there were lights on - because he was blind. He first threw away his mouse (what value is a mouse to someone who is blind?)then gave a short demo of a screen reader and braille bar. When you see both MS software and the web, through the 'eyes' of a blind person, it makes you realise just how much visual appeal there is. And how useless it is to the blind. It was a short, but effective reminder that the development community does need to remember all the user community, not just the sighted. The rest of the keynote was interesting and animated, but these two things did rather stand out.

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