Senior Vice President, Technology
This past June, the ICF Olson team was out in full force at Twin Cities Drupal Camp 2016. In addition to much of our Minnesota-based Drupal team, ICF Olson attendees came from as far away as Richmond, VA and Cary, NC. TCDrupal has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best camps in North America, and it was easy to understand why. There were more than 200 attendees representing every level of experience with Drupal. It was a time to connect with old friends, meet new ones, and share knowledge about a platform our team loves.
The theme of the camp this year was accessibility. Did you know that the number of severely disabled people in the U.S. (38.3 million) is almost twice the population of the state of New York (19.8 million)? Would you launch a new digital experience if someone told you that no one in New York would be able to use it? Of course not!
Helena Zubkow's keynote was built around her conversations with web users who have varied visual, cognitive, mobility, and aural impairments. First, Helena noted that improved accessibility often means improved usability. Most fully sighted people can agree CAPTCHAs are terrible. Second, if we are going to call ourselves a caring and inclusive community, we have to be willing to spend the small amounts of extra effort necessary to deliver easy wins to the people who use our creations. It was a proud feeling to be part of a community that values people so much that accessibility was a major initiative for the Drupal 8 release. Let's be consistent with that as we use Drupal to build our digital products!
ICF Olson's contributions to the camp focused on accessibility of a different kind. In some ways, becoming a Drupalist has its own set of accessibility problems. When one is starting out with Drupal, it helps to have someone teach you Drupal's sometimes weird vocabulary or how to set up a good toolset for Drupal work. Chris Haynes presented a talk on setting up PHPStorm and XDebug for PHP and Drupal development. Rob Huffstedtler introduced the concepts and methodology for building a taxonomy that can improve the exposure of content in a Drupal site.
There were many other great talks and training sessions. You can watch the video of them at http://2016.tcdrupal.org. It was a privilege for ICF Olson to be a Platinum sponsor. We're already looking forward to next year.