Access Now: Will You Be My Ally?

Access Now: Will you be my ally? Is a one-day conference for designers focused on integrating best practices and work-flows to design accessible digital products.

Event Overview

This conference is organized by members of the Upstate New York chapter of AIGA who passionately care about access and inclusion in design. It is our hope that this event will be the first of many to improve our community’s capacity and commitment to create accessible products from pdfs and e-publications, to websites and applications. The conference will focus on best practices, including designing with access and inclusion in mind from the start of the project and throughout the process. The morning will get the group up to speed on contemporary standards and practices as well as introduce legal and ethical considerations.  While the afternoon will contextualize those practices through four case studies of real people doing real accessibility work throughout Upstate New York. The conference is designed with those new to or inexperienced with accessibility techniques in mind but will also offer plenty of tips, strategies and stories for those who are immersed in this world.




Meet and mingle with colleagues from across upstate New York with a side of coffee, tea and light snacks.

Accessibility: The good, the bad and the invisible

10:00AM –12:00PM    

This interactive talk will provide a broad overview of the current state of accessible design practices, introduce helpful tools, and most importantly, will allow you to practice fundamental accessibility principles.

Facilitators: Rebecca Mushtare, Associate Professor of Web Design at SUNY Oswego and Kate Percival, Accessibility Analyst at SUNY Oswego



Lunch is on your own.  Bring your lunch (there is a refrigerator), order-in or visit one of the restaurants within a four block radius of the conference facility in nearby Clinton Square or Armory Square. We will have a list available at the conference of close restaurants that have accessibility features.

When Assumptions Get in the Way


Making assumptions of what our students, clients and customers want and need is a common mistake that many of us make. Working with deaf students, I quickly learned to put away my assumptions and to ask them what it was they wanted to get out of my class; this simple action opened up a dynamic dialogue, not just with me, but also with the rest of the class. This caused me to reevaluate my teachings and how I approached my classes.

Speaker: Keli DiRisio, Assistant Professor Of Graphic Design, Rochester Institute of Technology 

Making a more accessible


In this session, we will talk about how SUNY Oswego remediated accessibility errors on the main website and created a culture of accessibility on campus for our web editors and stakeholders. We’ll discuss how we’re working to educate the campus community and strategies for how we set editors up for success while building pages using component-based design.

Speakers: Joe Fitzsimmons, Front-end developer at SUNY Oswego and Pranay Chapagain, Web application developer/Analyst at SUNY Oswego



Eat an afternoon pick-me-up and mingle with colleagues. Introduce yourself to someone new. Find allies to unite with. 

Shift accessibility thinking left


Agile and accessibility really should go hand-in-hand, but for some reason practitioners of Agile have a hard time figuring out how and when to include accessibility. As a UI designer who has been involved in various approaches to being compliant, we’ll discuss in this session, various transformational practices that you can use in your process to propel your accessibility game forward.

Speaker: Sarah Alread, Web Designer at SS&C

An Approach to Accessible Web Projects


Description With responsive design, the web entered a new age where websites work on any device. But what about creating websites that work for every person on those devices? In the U.S. alone, 1 out of every 5 adults live with some form of disability. Formalizing your approach to accessibility is key to creating websites that can be used by everyone. From educating clients to integrating accessibility methods throughout your process, Ken will outline Aten's approach to creating beautiful, accessible websites.

Speaker: Ken Woodworth, Vice President of Design and a Partner at Aten Design Group.



It is time to share closing thoughts and brainstorm ways to move accessibility forward in our region.

Happy Hour

Join us for after-conference conversation at a local restaurant only a few blocks from the conference facility.


Syracuse Campus of SUNY Oswego
Room 129 (ground floor) of the Atrium Building
2 South Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

Getting There

The conference will be hosted at the Syracuse Campus of SUNY Oswego in the Atrium Building in downtown Syracuse. Using a GPS? Use 100 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 as the address. Enter the Atrium building from the corner of Clinton Street and Washington Street. This entrance is ADA compliant and accessible.


There is limited parking available in the lot on the corner of Clinton Street and Washington Street for those with limited mobility (don’t worry about the signs that say you need a permit to park there). Street parking immediately next to the building is free on Saturdays.

Extensive parking available in the municipal lot across from the conference facility on Washington Street with entrances from both Washington Street and Clinton Street.  The current rate is $1.25/hour (you may only pay for 2 hours at a time); payment may be made with cash or credit/debit card. Drivers can also use the Whoosh! app to manage parking via their smartphones in this location. 

Another option is the Atrium Parking garage at the corner of Franklin and Washington Streets (enter from Franklin Street). The Atrium Parking Garage is ADA compliant and secure; this garage closes at 9:00 pm. 

Exhibition On View

Resistance, Love and Show Tunes will be on display at the Syracuse Campus of SUNY Oswego through October 31. The exhibit honors the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, LGBTQ and enduring activisim and is a great extension of our conference’s theme of access and inclusion.


Restrooms are accessible, however there are no single stall options available. There is a coat room and small refrigerator available in the coat room. An office can be made available for breastfeeding mothers if in need of a lactation room. There is wi-fi available in the conference facility. All presenters will wear microphones. Please contact Rebecca Mushtare ( with any inquiries about the physical space or accommodation requests you may have.

Conference Climate

By participating in this conference you agree to foster a supportive environment that respects all participants. We encourage everyone to thoughtfully listen, ask honest questions, and demand productive conversations. Please be respectful of all attendees by not wearing perfumes or colognes to the event or using lotions, hand-sanitizers or other items with strong fragrances. By attending this conference you agree to abide by AIGA’s code of conduct. Please reach out to conference organizers before or during the event if there is something we can do to help improve your experience.

When & Where
Sat, Sep 14, 2019 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM EDT
Syracuse Campus of SUNY Oswego
2 South Clinton Street
Room 129 (ground floor) of the Atrium Building
Syracuse, NY 13202