Current Events Design Programming Tampa Bay

Our presentation at the Tampa Bay UX Group meetup: “iPhone Accessibility: What’s New?” (January 30, 2020)

Last night, Anitra and I gave Tampa Bay UX Group’s first presentation of 2020: An overview of the accessibility features in iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

A good crowd — including a handful of people new to the Tampa Bay area — were in attendance at the event, which took place at Kforce, who have a very nice meetup space. I’ll have to talk to them about using their space for Tampa iOS Meetup:

Anitra and I tag-teamed for our presentation. She presented from the ux/ui specialist point of view, while I presented from the programmer/implementer angle:

Photo by Beth Galambos. Tap to see at full size.

Here are the slides from our presentation:

We started with a couple of definitions of accessibility:

  • The ISO 9241-20 definition: “The usability of a product, service, environment, or facility by people within the widest range of capabilities.”
  • A more general definition, and a good way of approaching the topic: Accessibility is making your apps usable by all people.

We then provided a set of personas, around which we based the demos:

  1. Jacob, a 32 year-old paralegal who has been blind since birth. As a paralegal, he’s college-educated and writes case law summaries. He lives with a roommate. He’s tech-savvy and an early adopter with the latest gear.
  2. Emily, a 24 year-old college student with cerebral palsy. She finds it difficult to use her hands and has occasional difficulty speaking clearly. She wants to be independent and lives in a small, independent living facility.
  3. Trevor, an 18 year-old student with autism spectrum disorder who is uncomfortable with change. He loves videogames, but strongly prefers ones with which he is familiar. In fact, he prefers having an established routine.
  4. Steven, a 39 year-old graphic artist who is deaf. He is annoyed by accessibility issues, which include video without captions and other systems that require hearing.

Our first demo was of VoiceOver, the gesture-based screen reader. We demonstrated its ability to not only read text on screen, but to facilitate navigation for people who have no or low vision, as well as to describe images — even if no “alt text” is provided. If you’re curious about using VoiceOver, you should check out this quick video guide:

Our second demo was of Voice Control, the new voice command system, which is separate from Siri. It offers an impressive amount of control over your device using only your voice; I was even able to demonstrate playing Wine Crush, a Candy Crush-style app that I wrote from Aspirations Winery, using only my voice. To find out more about Voice Control, see this promotional video from Apple:

We also wanted to show that accessibility can be aided using iOS features that weren’t specifically made for that purpose. We demonstrated this with an app that allows users to click on buttons using a head-tracking user interface based on the face-tracking capability built into Apple’s augmented reality framework:

I’ll post of video of this demo in action soon, but if you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can find it on GitHub: it’s the HeadGazeLib project.

We followed these feature demos with a couple of coding examples, where I showed how you can use SwiftUI’s accessibility features to further enhance the accessibility of your apps:

One of the coding examples from our presentation. Tap to see at full size.

And finally, we closed the presentation with links to the following resources:

We’d like to thank Krissy Scoufis and Beth Galambos for inviting us to present at the Tampa Bay UX Group meetup. They’re a great group that promotes an important — yet often neglected — part of application development, and we’re always happy to take part in their events. We’d also like to thank everyone who attended; you were a great audience with fantastic questions and comments!

More photos from the event

Joey deVilla and Anitra Pavka present to the Tampa Bay UX Group Meetup. Taken January 30, 2020 at Tampa Bay UX Group meetup at the Kforce office in Tampa.

Photo by Krissy Scoufis. Tap to see it at full size.

Joey deVilla and Anitra Pavka present to the Tampa Bay UX Group Meetup. Taken January 30, 2020 at Tampa Bay UX Group meetup at the Kforce office in Tampa.

Photo by Krissy Scoufis. Tap to see it at full size.

Joey deVilla and Anitra Pavka present to the Tampa Bay UX Group Meetup. Taken January 30, 2020 at Tampa Bay UX Group meetup at the Kforce office in Tampa.

Photo by Krissy Scoufis. Tap to see it at full size.

Close-up of the presentation screen, showing Joey deVilla demonstrating the head-tracking app. Taken January 30, 2020 at Tampa Bay UX Group meetup at the Kforce office in Tampa.

Photo by Beth Galambos. Tap to see it at full size.

Close-up of the presentation screen, showing the presentation title slide: 'iPhone accessibility: What's New? by Anitra Pavka and Joey deVilla'. Taken January 30, 2020 at Tampa Bay UX Group meetup at the Kforce office in Tampa.

Photo by Krissy Scoufis. Tap to see it at full size.

Recommended reading

You might also want to check out the other presentations we did at Tampa Bay UX Group’s meetups:

  • Building Augmented Reality Experiences: Our presentation on building AR apps for iOS devices using ARKit
  • Apple TV: Our presentation on building good interfaces for Apple TV apps. I had to attend a work event that evening, so Anitra ended up presenting this one solo.
Current Events Tampa Bay

Ignite Tampa Bay 2020: Thursday, April 16th at Palladium Theater, St. Pete!

Mark this on your calendars: Ignite Tampa Bay — the event where Tampa Bay treats itself to tapas-sized TED talks — returns on Thursday, April 16th to the Palladium Theater in St. Pete!

Ignite Tampa Bay is an evening of talks that follow the philosophy of “Enlighten us, but make it quick!” It turns the standard speaker-and-audience format on its ear by adding some interesting constraints:

  • Each speaker is limited to exactly 5 minutes for his or her presentation.
  • Each presentation is accompanies by 20 slides, no more, no less.
  • The speaker has no control over when the slides advance; they automatically advance every 15 seconds.

The five minute limit forces speakers to whittle their presentations down to the essence of their talk, and the auto-advancing slides make it necessary to practice, practice, practice.

Want to see an example of an Ignite presentation? How about mine from Ignite Tampa Bay 2015, in which I explain in five minutes why the existence of Florida Man and Florida Woman is a good thing:

If you’d like to see talks from past Ignite Tampa Bay events going all the way back to the first one in 2011, they’re gathered up on this YouTube page.

I’ve been attending Ignite Tampa Bay since moving here in 2014, and it’s never failed to be a great evening of interesting talks, chances to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and even make some new connections. As a newcomer to Tampa, Ignite Tampa Bay helped me get the lay of the land, get to know key people in the Tampa Bay tech and entrepreneur scene, and even played a part in landing a couple of jobs and other opportunities — and that’s not counting the profile boost that I got from my talk in 2015. Ignite Tampa Bay is more than a fun evening out; it’s a key part of what makes Tampa Bay a great place in which to live, work, and play.

With the event a couple of months away, Ignite Tampa Bay is looking for two things that it can’t operate without:

  1. Sponsors: Companies (or well-heeled individuals) who are willing to provide Ignite Tampa Bay with the money it needs to promote and run this event. Want to sponsor Ignite Tampa Bay? Visit the Sponsorship Opportunities page to find out more and email to get it touch with them!
  2. Speakers: People who are willing to give a talk in the Ignite format in front of an audience — and reap the rewards for doing so! Want to speak at Ignite Tampa Bay? Sign up here!

Keep an eye on this site for more details about Ignite Tampa Bay and tickets!

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

Current Events Tampa Bay

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, January 27, 2020)

Every week, dedicated individuals and organizations in around the Tampa Bay do more than just their “day jobs”. They get involved in events where they share their knowledge, make connections and friends, and gather together to build strong tech, entrepreneur, and nerd communities. That’s why I do this every week: I put together a list of tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events to make sure that they can be found and you can attend them!

Here’s what’s happening in Tampa Bay this week!

This weekly list is posted as a voluntary service to the Tampa tech community. With the notable exceptions of Tampa iOS Meetup and Coders, Creatives and Craft Beer — both of which I run — most of this information comes from, EventBrite, and other local event announcement sites. I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the dates and times listed here; if you want to be absolutely sure that the event you’re interested in is actually taking place, please contact the organizers!

Monday, January 27

Looking to talk about the craft of developing software over a nice drink? Monday’s Lean Beer for Software Craftspeople in Dunedin might be just what you’re looking for! Following the “Lean Coffee” structure but with beer, this gathering is a great way to meet your fellow local coders, share ideas about software development, and perhaps learn something new.

Tuesday, January 28

The Java Junkies meetup combines with Tential Tuesday for a session featuring Elastic’s Nathan Reese, who’ll talk about Elastic Maps, which combines traditional search with geoquerying to create a singularly powerful information retrieval experience. He’ll also also dive into how to deliver findings and metrics through maps and dashboards using the Kibana visualization platform.

Wednesday, January 29

Thursday, January 30

In the Tampa Bay UX Group meetup of the year, Anitra Pavka (author of O’Reilly’s HTML5 Cookbook’s “Accessibility” chapter) and Joey deVilla (mobile developer at Lilypad, organizer of Tampa iOS Meetup, and author at will present What’s new in iPhone accessibility. This will be more than just a tour of iOS 13’s new accessibility features, but also an introduction to creating more accessible apps using Apple’s SwiftUI framework!

Friday, January 31

It’s time for another Demo Day at Suncoast Developers Guild! Demo Day is when the current cohort present their capstone project applications to an audience of local tech companies, engineers, and supporters of the tech community. This is your chance to see first-hand demonstrations of the applications and get to know their developers/graduates.

Saturday, February 1

After five years of fun and games, Grand Arena of Mind Expansion is closing its doors and selling off their goods on Saturday. While this is a sad event, it’s also an opportunity to buy just about anything in this games club: games, consoles, tables, chairs. shelves, TVs, projectors, and more — it’s all got to go! They’re asking for 50% MSRP on items sold.

Sunday, February 2

There weren’t any tech, entrepreneur, or nerd events listed at the time scheduled for Sunday at the time of writing.


Do you have an upcoming event that you’d like to see on this list?

If you know of an upcoming event that you think should appear on this list, please let me know!

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Current Events Tampa Bay

“What’s new with iPhone accessibility” at Tampa Bay UX Meetup: Thursday, January 30 at 6:00 p.m.

Since 2013, the Tampa Bay UX Group has been hosting the ride-or-die meetup for all things related to user experience and usability. Their first meetup of 2020 happens next Thursday, and it will feature Anitra and me talking about what’s new with iPhone accessibility!

Join us on Thursday, January 30th at 6:00 p.m. at Kforce for this talk, where we’ll not only show you these new features, but also how to write apps in order to make the best use of them.

iOS has always been the gold standard in mobile accessibility, and the latest version — iOS 13 — has a lot of accessibility features, some of which are new, and some of which have been enhanced:

The biggest new feature is Voice Control, a brand-new assistive technology that makes it so much easier to control Apple devices using your voice. Rather than describe it, here’s Apple’s video showing it in action:

VoiceOver is Apple’s screen reading/gesture technology for low/no-vision users, and it’s been improved in iOS 13. Here’s a tour of its new features:

In our presentation, we’ll not only give you an overview of accessibility features in iOS 13 — we’ll also cover the basics of developing iOS 13 apps for improved accessibility using SwiftUI! That’s the new paradigm for building interfaces for Apple platforms:

In fact, you can think of the presentation as having a bonus tutorial on the basics of writing your own iOS apps:

Join us at the Tampa Bay UX Group’s meetup on Thursday, January 30th at 6:00 p.m. at Kforce! Register to attend here.

Current Events Tampa Bay

Scenes from the “Share your mobile app with others” meetup, Wednesday, January 15, 2019

Photo by Edwin Torres. Tap to see at full size.

Last Wednesday evening, I attended the first-ever Share your mobile app with others! meetup. I’m always happy to help out a Tampa Bay tech event, especially when it’s getting started, and doubly so when it’s about something that’s right up my alley, namely mobile development.

Organized by Edwin Torres, Share your mobile app with others! is going to be a regular gathering of people who:

  • Design mobile apps or aspire to design mobile apps,
  • program mobile apps or aspire to program mobile apps, or
  • want to learn more about mobile app development

From the meetup’s “About” page:

This group is made for anyone who would like to display their mobile app to others or anyone interested in seeing local app creations. Unfinished apps are extremely welcomed!


Network with other inspired entrepreneurs/developers/app lovers about experiences whether it’s:

  1. App ideas,
  2. hiring developers,
  3. learning to code,
  4. app marketing/advertising,
  5. comparing journeys, or
  6. creating a team.

I am personally not a developer but have an IT background and have hired app developers of my own and would love to share my experience with others.

Photo by Edwin Torres. Tap to see at full size.

The discussion bounced across a number of topics including:

  • What everyone was up to, which included starting a mobile app business, working in tech recruiting, recently graduating from LaunchCode’s all-women cohort, and in my case, writing mobile apps for a living.
  • Outsourcing development: Edwin’s experience with contract developers was excellent, but I think his is a rare case.
  • Native vs. “Hybrid” app development. I was asked about what I preferred, and I gave my usual general advice: The more your app is like a straightforward line-of-business application, the stronger the argument is for “Hybrid” development. If you app is a game or leans heavily on a specific hardware or operating system feature, the stronger the argument is for Native development.
  • Tampa’s developer shortage. Great news for developers, but a challenge for local tech companies.

I showed off a number of apps including some demo apps from my AR course, the “googly eyes” app from my article, Wine Crush, Lilypad CRM, my “Frogger” game, and a goofy little “Magic 8-Ball” style app for the Apple Watch, whose code appears in the photo below:

Photo by Edwin Torres. Tap to see at full size.

The next Share your mobile app with others! meetup takes place next Wednesday, January 29th at 7:00 p.m. at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Temple Terrace. Come out and support this new meetup!

Current Events Tampa Bay

Scenes from the “Coders, Creatives, and Craft Beer” meetup, Tuesday, January 21, 2019

Photo by Alex Kelly. Tap to see it at full size.

On Tuesday night, Anitra and I hosted the first Coders, Creatives, and Craft Beer meetup of the year at our usual place: The 7venth Sun Brewery in Seminole Heights. It drew a good crowd, as you can see from the group photo above.

This meetup’s theme was named in honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year (which happens this Saturday, January 25th): The Year of the Rat. In Chinese mythology, the rat is associated with nimble cleverness, a quality that members of Coders, Creatives, and Craft Beer have in abundance.

We’d like to thank the people who came to the meetup, since they faced a couple of environmental challenges…

Photo by Bay News 9.

The smoky haze that hung over the area from the late afternoon and through the early evening. Depending on how close you were to the source — a “prescribed burn” at the Goethe State Forest in Levy County — it may have been hard to drive or breathe.

The “Low Outside Temperature” alarm on my car’s dashboard, indicating a temperature of 2°C (36°F). Photo by Joey deVilla.

Cold (for Tampa, anyway) temperatures. Temperatures dropped to just above freezing. In my old home town of Toronto, this is slightly warmer than for this time of year, but here in my new-ish home town of Tampa (I’ll have been here 6 years as of March), this is “Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining” cold.

Here are some snapshots I took of the event about a half-hour after it started:

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

We were also treated to three original numbers by Dan Crowley, scrum master and agile coach by day, rockin’ guitarist by night. His musical sobriquet is Tribal Knowledge, and like his name, his songs poke fun at corporate culture and cringe.

The first number he played was Kickoff — and yes, that’s about project kickoffs. He’s still working on the lyrics, but the music perfectly captures the enthusiastic feel of a kickoff meeting:

He had his lyrics sheets handy:

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

He followed Kickoff with a song whose title you’ve probably heard in a meeting or report: 95% Complete. You know how it is:

  • The first 95% of a project takes up 95% of the allotted time, and
  • The final 5% of the project takes up the other 95% of the allotted time.

Here are the lyrics:

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

Dan’s final number was White Dude in a Suit, a combination tribute and middle finger to, well, you know…

…and here are the lyrics:

Photo by Joey deVilla. Tap to see it at full size.

Coders, Creatives, and Craft Beer is takes place about once a month, and it’s all about socializing. Whether you’re creative through programming, project management, pixels, paint, poetry, or prose, you’re welcome to join us! You can find out more about the group on our Meetup page.

Current Events Tampa Bay

LinkedInLocal Tampa: This Thursday at Computer Coach

LinkedInLocal Tampa is happening this Thursday, January 23rd, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Computer Coach Training Center! At this gathering, you’ll get a chance to catch up with your Tampa Bay LinkedIn contacts in real life.

From the event page:

The purpose is to unite people from all walks of life, in facilitated events hosted around the world, to genuinely get to know the humans behind the LinkedIn profiles, and connect beyond the job titles, business cards and company names that are so common at most networking events.

#LinkedinLocal Tampa is about community, and community starts with building human to human relationships first, and then acting as one to give back to those in the community who need it the most.

Our facilitated events offer the opportunity to meet your local LinkedIn connections, from behind the pfoiles, and to build a true lasting relationship.

We have a no wallflower, and no clique policy at our events. You will be immediately welcomed and introduced to other business professionals immediately after arriving.

There is a fee to attend LinkedInLocal Tampa — $15 for general admission, with a $5 discount for early birds — and once the costs of holding the event have been covered, the rest of the money goes to a charity. For this event, that charity is The Center for Cyber Safety and Education.

Please note: Tickets will not be available at the door. To attend this event, you have to register in advance!

Here’s the event itinerary:

  • 5:30 – 6:00 Registration & Refreshments
  • 6:00 – 6:10 Welcome & Introductions
  • 6:10 – 7:00 Event Program & Charity Presentation
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Facilitated, Deep Networking

LinkedInLocal Tampa is organized by the following people. If you attend tech events in the Tampa Bay area, chances are you’ll know some of them:

In a nutshell