NVDACon 2016: Closing remarks from the outgoing chair, regional NVDACon plan, Derek Riemer appointed next international NVDACon organizers chair


Dear members of the NVDA community:


Thank you for taking part in NVDACon International 2016 (Tenth Anniversary Edition). I still can’t believe how successful this gathering was: reflecting upon NVDA’s history, looking at its potential and launching NVDA movement campaign.


I’d like to take this time to thank those who’ve helped out with NVDACon:

·         NVDACon group: for your amazing assistance with organizing, promoting and participating in NVDACon 2016.

·         Presenters: Lucy Greco, Pranav Lal, Dave Williams, Sean Randall, Fernando, Sina Bahram, Davy Kager, Mick and Jamie from NV Access and others. Also I’d like to thank Marco Zehe from Mozilla for showing interest in participating in this conference.

·         Engineers: Michael Hansen (Applevis) for audio editing.

·         NVDA translators for spreading the news about this conference to various language communities.

·         All NVDA community members.


Second, there is a famous Korean saying that translates to, “it takes a decade to change a mountainous landscape”. I believe that, as we continue to celebrate NVDA’s tenth anniversary (throughout 2016), we need a fresher face of NVDACon leadership. As you may know by now, it takes dedication to lead an effort like this, and being the chair of NVDACon organizers means you are answerable to the community and will need to collaborate with many people.


As I was thinking about who’ll take this operation to the next level, one person stood out the most: a student who have shown potential to become the next Mick and Jamie, the next leader in promoting screen reading excellence, an influential member of this community with NVDACon presentation experience, and a born leader who understands the challenges associated with this role and is ready to embark on this journey. And I found this person in Derek Riemer (University of Colorado at Boulder), thus I hereby appoint him as the next chair of international NVDACon organizers. He’ll also be in charge of NVDACon US, which will take place later this year.


In regards to regional gatherings, they can range in scope from a single meeting (like NVDACon Korea) to one or two day event featuring well-known speakers. When formulating this plan, NVDACon organizers agreed that the international gathering (to be held annually from now on to reduce burden on NV Access) shall have precedence over others (mostly in terms of length), and that the chair of the international NVDACon organizers shall serve as first among equals in the group of regional NVDACon leaders. The chair of the international NVDACon organizers can also serve as a member of the organizing committee for one or more regional conferences.


Few guidelines for regional gatherings:

·         If a multinational NVDACon or a meeting with wide geographic impact (including international one) is to be held, it should be organized by a committee, with NVDA community members, presenters, engineers and others serving as members lead by one or more chairs (if in doubt, take NVDACon 2016 organizing committee (NVDACon group) as an example).

·         Unless an exception is granted, archives of regional gatherings and presentations thereof should be made available to members of the public.

·         Organizing committees for regional gatherings should have regular planning meetings to discuss various topics, including presentations, schedule, promotion and others.

·         If a gathering will feature multiple presentations, the committee should organize a “speakers luncheon” or a similar event to meet with presenters two weeks to a month before conference is due to begin. The purpose of such a meeting is to meet presenters and hear about their topics and to finalize the conference schedule (in case of Lightning Talks, to negotiate speaking order).

·         Organizing committee members should be willing to serve, listen to feedback, and be ready to answer questions from members of the public regarding their conferences.

·         Most importantly, have fun.


Lastly, as I’m stepping down from chairmanship of international NVDACon organizers (not the Tenth Anniversary Planning Committee, which I’ll continue to lead until end of this year), I’d like to talk about one important topic brought up throughout NVDACon 2016:


NonVisual Desktop Access is more than a screen reader now. NVDA is more than a free, open-source, community-driven assistive software package for Microsoft Windows. NVDA is more than a tool used by thousands of people around the world.


Rather, NVDA is a global phenomenon. NVDA is a global thing. NonVisual Desktop Access is a movement: access to information by those who couldn’t enjoy this gift, a group of people taking the initiative to serve others rather than be served, a group of enthusiasts willing to open the doors to employment, education and more to other people, and an initiative to show that blind folks can make a difference by utilizing their talents. And this movement has been in the making for the last ten years, and I believe it is time to move this momentum forward. Let NVDACon International 2016 serve as a Launchpad for this movement for years to come.


In closing, I’d like to evoke a quote from Jesus of Nazareth which summarizes the core message of NVDA, NVDA movement, NVDACon 2016 and other tenth anniversary events:` “I did not come to the world to be served, but to serve and to lay down my life for all. Whoever wishes to be greatest among you must become a servant of all.”


Thank you. Please help Derek and his team as they organize the next big adventure in NVDA’s history: NVDACon International 2017 and other gatherings.



Joseph s. Lee

Translator, code contributor and community add-ons reviewer, NVDA screen reader project

Chair, NVDA Tenth Anniversary Planning Committee

Former chair, NVDACon International organizing committee

Chief organizer, NVDACon Korea


P.S. The NVDACon group will continue to serve as a discussion venue for other tenth anniversary events, and will serve as a committee room for NVDACon 2017 during its planning phase.

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