eQuality Time has been at ISAAC 2016, the major (and indeed, probably only) international conference for people interested in AAC.
We were there to try and find helpers and get a real sense of AAC outside of the UK. It’s hard to know how that went, we met some great people, but only time will tell if they become part of the plan.
In numbers: we spoke to at least 127 people and gave the full demo a little over 40 times. This is probably about four times more than would have happened if we had just gone to the conference without the stand. By day four we were having more and more people saying things like “Oh, my friend told me about this” which is probably a good sign.
I was pleased that some developers and other people interested in open source found each other in time to hold an early morning meeting. I’d like to see that happen more and more. – at the thing, and that was pretty good. Certainly there are some real things in my own work that will change because of that. Indeed, it was nice in a quiet moment to sit down and play with some code with new people.
Kate was going to every talk she could for work and even came down to spend time on the stand in the breaks, which was when it was seriously busy.
It is the lot of all events like ISAAC get their share of bad press. I will say that things went wrong, but far fewer than I would have got wrong had I been running the event.
We wanted to make a little bit of art while we were there, so we brought along a map and asked people to put a pin in for their home town. The results were somewhat predictable and mildly worrying. Toronto, our home for the week, was a mass of pins, New York was well represented and so was quite a lot of Weston Europe.
I spoke to nobody from a Spanish speaking country. Nobody. I spoke to one guy from Africa (working in Toronto, so that hardly counts). and only of three people from Asia. Over four days it became very hard to hide that most of the world is priced out of their right to speech. While we have a design that we know can help, I was really hoping to meet some people at ISAAC who where working outside of the rich countries. We clearly need to go back to the drawing board with that.
In a somewhat low moment on one of the days, I was really cheered that my little brother, himself an AAC user, decided to video-call me in the middle of a demo.
I have no, idea why that cheered me up so much, but I got to take him on a virtual tour of the hall and show him some of the new things that were going on