Volume XII Number 1, June 2008

In Memory Of John Slatin


John Slatin, who passed away in March, was a member of Information Technology and Disabilities' Editorial Board. This issue of ITD is dedicated in his memory.

John Slatin, our friend and colleague, passed away before the article in this issue was published. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005, and, after treatment, remission, recurrence, and more treatment, he passed away March 24, 2008, at the age of 55. It was a long, hard battle that John and his wife Anna took on with positive determination.

John taught at the University of Texas at Austin for 29 years and was the founder and director of the Accessibility Institute on campus. He was a world-renowned leader in the field of accessibility and had a tremendous impact at both national and international levels. He was very proud of his work as a member and co-director of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group as it updated and revised the W3C accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0). He served as a consultant on a wide range of projects for students in his classes, web developers on campus, local and national companies, and international businesses. He was always willing to support those who wanted to learn more about accessibility.

When people speak of John, they always note how positive and encouraging he was. He was a very accepting person with a variety of interests such as poetry, technology, accessibility, support of the arts, and improvisational dance. The people who gathered at his memorial service included English professors, Web developers, artists, and performers—an eclectic group that together represented the spirit of John.

Even in his passing, he has inspired others. Several opportunities to give back have been organized in his name. There is The John Slatin Fund Accessibility Project, which matches accessibility experts with companies that would like a brief accessibility review of their websites. The site owners then contribute to the fund, which will help Anna recover from the medical expenses of his long illness.

For those interested in furthering John's legacy, Anna is seeking input to brainstorm and nurture the development of a project that will continue John's accessibility mission. Her contact information is available on John's blog, and there is a wiki for posting ideas.

Donations can also be made in John's name to (1) VSA Arts of Texas, a nonprofit organization that "strives to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts" and (2) Guide Dogs for the Blind.

VSA Arts of Texas
3710 Cedar Street
Austin, TX  78705

Guide Dogs for the Blind
P.O. Box 151200
San Rafael, CA  94915

Through his poetic writing, collaborative work on the WCAG 2.0, and inspiring teaching, John offered his expertise, guidance, and enthusiasm about accessibility. He made it easy to be excited about the possibilities of accessible IT. A tireless advocate for accessibility, he is greatly missed.

Information Technology and Disabilities Editors (2008). In Memory of John Slatin. Information Technology and Disabilities E-Journal, 12(1).