IST Conference 14th September 2022 Part 2

This post should have been published back in September – apologies for it appearing late!

Spinner Construction Lab

Senior Technician in Electronic Engineering Mark Hough, pictured, led the demonstration.

This session was a brilliantly fun lesson in which we soldered circuits under the supervision of technical staff in Electronic Engineering. Normally used as a show piece for incoming students, this resulted in light-up “spinners.” Spinners respond to centrifugal force by lighting alternate bulbs on a wand to spell out “York” or alternately display a smiley face dependent on our button presses. Having not soldered in over a decade, the lab renewed my confidence in this task. It was so much fun, I’m sure where I to rewind the clock back to my school days I might easily have been swayed from Biology!

The spinner lab is pictured below, with conference attendees at their stations. Technical staff from York including Mike Angus (far left) are seen standing in the moments before the class began.

(contributed by Andrew Angus-Whiteoak)

IST Conference 14th September 2022 Part 1

This post should have been published back in September – apologies for it appearing late!

Delivering Clearer Results through Accessibility

This session demonstrated how to write technical documentation for visually impaired and blind people. For EDI purposes, accessibility levels the playing field for people of all abilities, and further, using accessibility features also makes documentation more useful for non-disabled and sighted people.

The premise was based on the website SCULPT for Accessibility, which proves a very useful beginner’s guide. I found it a very useful demo and worth reading into more deeply. The acronym, SCULPT, was covered as follows.

Structure Using headings and styles appropriately. It was pointed out that a screen reader doesn’t just read out loud, word for word. It also simulates a navigation menu of chapters and topics dependent on the use of headings and styles. With such navigation visually impaired people can more easily tab through to get the information they need.

Colour and Contrast (skipped over)

Use of Images This meant using images that support the text, never instead of text, and the use of alt text to describe images.

Links Make links more accessible by having them named for the location they’re headed to, and not part of a stream of continuous text.

Plain English This not only helps with sight loss but also with those under time pressure or who might be multi-tasking.

Tables Finally we went over how to make tables clearer and more succinct, and never as a way of formatting a page as is so often the case with Risk Assessments!

Pictured above, a selfie of me (Andrew Angus-Whiteoak) enjoying the IST conference.