TypeScript & Community Love @ Commsverse

Well, well, what a crazy 18 months ahead. 18 Months of in person conferences lockdown, mental and health challenges all over the world. I admit I didn’t blog enough. As an extrovert I need incentives to create nice blog posts. I spoke at a lot of virtual conferences, so I served the community with my insights. Speaking at (even virtual) conferences is for me easier than blogging because I have more balance between energy giving
and energy receiving comparing speaking next to blogging. 

Enough of nagging for an optimist like me, because last month I’ve been to my first in person conference after those crazy 18 months. I’ve been to Commsverse in Weybridge in the UK. 

We’re running on Teams! 

Commsverse is a community conference dedicated on Microsoft Teams. And I know, I am a Developer Technologies MVP coming from Xamarin, moving more and more to Blazor, what did I do at a Microsoft Teams conference? Well, one easy answer: During the pandemic my nonprofit – DDSoft – grew and served a whole new customer base via Microsoft Teams. I’ve been responsible to adopt self-support groups on virtual meetings. It was a lot of fun! Helping customers from the social scene – where a lot of them are digitally illiterate – to continue their cause via Microsoft Teams, a tool that is built to thrive companies. And we succeeded! Honestly that was a lot of fun, and one of the big reasons I survived the pandemic (quite) mentally strong.  

And working with non-tech customers on a tech tool gave us a lot of insights. So much insights I really wanted to know more and more about Microsoft Teams, about making my own plugins, about meeting best practices, and of course about finding work-life balance if you only have contacts with your co-workers wia digital tools. During the lockdown in Belgium coming together with volunteers in a nonprofit was not allowed, so our DDSoft team as to co-work via Microsoft Teams too! 


Let’s close the gap between Developer Technologies and Microsoft Teams with TypeScript. I am a C# developer. I said in the past (at way too many conferences) that JavaScript isn’t my thing. I blame this to my autism and context switching. Enough about finding reasons why not working in JS, let’s talk about where I need it, and how to fix the need. 

In Microsoft Teams you can build specific Microsoft Teams apps. I believe those apps can be useful for some of our customers. But… Building those apps requires JavaScript, or… TypeScript.  

In Yannick Reekman’s talk: “Build A Microsoft Teams meeting Bingo app” the need and inspiration about using TypeScript to build Microsoft Teams apps was more than triggered enough! Yannick showed us how to build an in-meeting app from scratch. This session was for me a strong motivation because I found purpose to build this kind of apps for some of our customers. 

In addition to this Tom Morgan told us how to build applications with Azure Communication Services (ACS), again, also with TypeScript. So, reasons enough to start to learn TypeScript. Honestly with ACS I have a lot of fantasies to help people with learning disabilities. Dennie, what are you waiting for… 

The Microsoft AI Stack 

Let’s go to another intersection of Commsverse and what I am doing in my developer life: AI! There’s AI everywhere AI Services, AI on the Edge, even AI build into Microsoft 365 and Office 365. And guess what… Those are all the same AI ideas on the same backend from Microsoft! In Bill Ayers talk: “Viva la Vida! How AI is changing the World of Work” Bill explained the overall picture of the Microsoft AI stack across their products. He explained the AI-basics (What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What is Machine Learning (ML)? What is Deep Learning (DL)?). After the basics Bill explained how AI is integrated into Microsoft Graph, the API behind the whole O365 suite where Microsoft Teams is part of. He ended his talk with showing how Microsoft VIVA is even takes AI a step further to increase the way of work with pillars like wellbeing, collaboration, learning and more. 

Community Love 

What I felt next to the (awesome) technical sessions was a strong connection in the Microsoft Community! During the virtual conferences in the pandemic there was great content too. It is not because I didn’t blog about those virtual conferences that there were no good ones, there were amazing conferences! Amazing sessions and content everywhere! But the real energy comes from the community love. People are talking in the hallway, people that are sharing personal insights, tips and advice after and in-between the sessions. And of course… APPrecation! I felt very welcome as international attendee making the effort to come. Mark Vale, (one of the) mind(s) behind Commsverse showed his APPrecation for my trip. The sponsor booths, the speakers, no, no, no in virtual alternatives you can’t do this!  I am sure I made the right decision to come to this conference!  

Cross – Sectionally 

What will the future of conferences be? What I see currently is a strong focus on combining sectors, combining completely non-developer concepts with developer life. Commsverse was at the Mercedes Benz world, and there were loads of non-IT side activities. People need more than IT after too many months. I guess this is the future of conferencing (citing a word that don’t exist to remember the Swedish culture where I been a couple of times, In Sweden they make verbs of everything I learned, even a verb for interacting/ learning at conferences).  

Is this combining sectors a brand new thing? No, not really. Even in Belgium we had in the past a conference like CloudBrew – combining the Microsoft Cloud with Beers, a typical Belgium thing. Although I think more and more conferences will do this. At the time I write this article I am in Mechelen, Belgium for another conference (DataMinds Connect) and they combine Data/Tech/Dev with Grand Priz and Formulla 1.  

So I end this blogpost with warm greetings from Mechelen and ‘see’ you later! 

Read about Dennie’s insights about TypeScript & Community Love at @Commsverse!

I am a .NET Foundation nominee!

After 2 years of being a Microsoft MVP on Developer Technologies I have the opportunity to add a new milestone to my #DreamingIsBelieving and Microsoft Community story. I am nominated to become a .NET Foundation Board Member.

But the Question is

What do I have to put on the table? Which value can I add? Being an MVP and a .NET Foundation board member  is not about feeling honored and is not a gift just to pleasure the person (Although I am pleasured and feel honored).

It’s all about what can I bring to the community? Which value can I add? Which contributions can I bring to the community, and why am I the right person to do this?

Well, I want to focus even more on accessibility. I want to discuss and research which functions, methods, classes, packages .NET can help developers to make more accessible apps.

“The easier it is to make an accessible app, the more developers will to this”.

In addition to this I want to advocate for people with autism in Tech and mental health in tech.

And why me? Maybe  because I am a person with Autism, and work over 8 years as a developer to increase Quality of Life of people with a cognitive disability.

So my plans are set,

… #DreamingIsBelieving to be continued

I made the following document as an MD File

Why I’m Running

#DreamingIsBelieving continues… With this awesome nomination…

I am Dennie Declercq and a strong ally for inclusion and tech for people with disabilities. Have you ever considered that 1B people in the world have a disability? A disability that is visible or invisible. I am an advocate and strong ally for people with disabilities. I believe in digital inclusion in the broadest sense.

If something doesn’t go right, go left! Think outside the box!

I have a background as a person with autism. I did it my way (the #DreamingIsBelieving way). At this time I am president of my own nonprofit DDSoft in Belgium, 2 years Microsoft MVP Developer Technologies and volunteer in a coaching center for people with a cognitive disability (Ithaka), and spoke at a lot of conferences from Sydney to Orlando.

… How far can the dream go?

My .NET Contributions

My biggest focus is telling the people at conferences about people with disabilities in the broadest sense. Talks as: “The Power of Inclusion”“Autism in Tech”“Making Accessible Apps in Xamarin” are just some of my success stories. I also work, engineer pure voluntary on accessible Xamarin Apps and just started to explore what AI can do for the better (life of people with disabilities). So to conclude, thought leadership, vision work and tech research for the people that need it most.


https://www.ddsoft.be/?page_id=31&lang=en https://accessibledreams.home.blog/ My story on Microsoft Humans of IT https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/humans-of-it-blog/guest-blog-my-story-of-living-with-autism-spectrum-disorder-in/ba-p/1369716

Contact Information

Twitter @DennieDeclercq FB: https://www.facebook.com/dennie.declercq LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennie-declercq-822086a2/

Go to .NET Foundation to vote

On Me 🙂

The Nordics: Is Cashless the way to go? An accessibility point of view.

First, I love Sweden, I love the Nordics! If I go to there as a conference speaker, I always have a great time. The Nordics are innovative. And I am really looking forward to my next 3 trips to the Nordics in the beginning of 2020. I start with Oslo (Norway) in January, Stockholm (Sweden) in February and Helsinki (Finland) in March.

Thanks to my great network I saw this movie:

Movie that triggers this blog post

As I saw this movie I was worried as an expert in accessibility and inclusion.

So, let’s open the discussion on accessibility and inclusion from my part of view: people with disabilities.

To do this, I am going to focus on 2 disabilities: autism / Asperger (youngers with autism / Asperger) and people with learning disabilities.

(Youngsters) with autism  / Asperger

For a lot of people with autism / Asperger, especially for youngsters the physical world is important. The physical view of a banknote and how this banknote can be divided into other banknotes and in the end in coins is a very important view. Also, if you are caring an amount of physical money into your wallet and you want to go to a toy store it’s very concrete, what you can combine with the amount of money and what’s beyond your budget.

People with learning disabilities

There are people with learning disabilities. This can be adults with the knowledge of children below 10. There’s a lot of theory of learning disabilities. The most famous disability on this field is people with Downs Syndrome. But Downs isn’t the only disability that causes learning disabilities. As I tell in my story as a speaker each disability is a spectrum and the knowledge and intellectual functioning is different par person. Some adults have the IQ of a child of 9, even 6 or below 3. there are also adaptive skills and so on.

But what I see in the field if I work with people with learning disabilities is also the same as with youngsters with autism: the physical form of money is very important. As a parent or coach for a person with learning disabilities it’s very concrete t give a banknote of money and help them to split this into costs. A digital translation of money can be challenging.

Do you trust everybody?

Nice question. Can you give the bank card / the mobile application to pay to everybody surrounding the person with the disability (if this is a youngster with autism / Asperger or a person with learning disability it’s doesn’t matter)?

How to control the usage of the account linked to the card / app?

How to create a visible system that the persons with the disability understand. That provides trust and transparency for parents / care givers / coaches?

How to prevent that inclusion is going backwards?

Do make the last question concrete: I mean: Currently there are quite a lot of people with disabilities going to shops / warehouses on their own. How to prevent that these persons must be surrounded with a caregiver / coach for the payment?

How to build in safety for these vulnerable persons? If you have a banknote of 50 (Dollar by example / it doesn’t matter). The largest amount of money that can be stolen is 50 Dollar. If you share a bank account / app / card with the budget of 1000 Dollar, maybe 1000 Dollar can be stolen…

Are mobile apps the solution?

I believe. There are a lot of mobile payment apps. And as you all can read on my blog (in other blogposts). There a lot of possibilities to make mobile apps more accessible. Using Text To Speech, Color by Function, Simplify The Layout, Images and pictographs and so on.

At this time. I haven’t seen one mobile banking app that implements this accessibility concepts. I hope governments and banks will investigate how they make their apps accessible for people with different disabilities.

This is very important because we don’t want inclusion is going backwards.

A demo of an accessible app that shows people with disabilities what's on the menu to eat. In this image you see that on the menu is fries and burgers. I show this via text in combination with pictographs and an accessible layout.
Accessible Demo 1: Food applications
Image of an application to communicate about emotions. The app don't have a name right now and is not published. It's a proof of concept.
Accessible Demo 2: Emotion boards

More info on my accessibility concepts:

The Need of Accessible Apps

Simplify the layout

Color by Function

More concepts coming soon!

Thanks for reading! Can’t wait for your reactions.

Meeting the community at DevDay in Belgium

In November 26th there was a conference in Belgium called DevDay. The conference was at the Cinescope in Louvain-La-Neuve. For me this was  great reason to visit the tech community at the Fresh speaking part of Belgium.

Networking at conferences

So, as you all know I made a talk called: “Networking at conferences for autistic people and introverts”. Networking at conferences is really important for me. In fact the main reason to attend this conference was to network! I wanted to meet again with Laurent Bugnion, Henk Boelman and Nick Trogh from Microsoft. Nick wasn’t speaking at this conference but was the men at the Microsoft Booth.

AI in the battle against the fakes by Henk

This talk was an amazing war story about a real solution for solving a problem at Henk’s previous job. Henk explained how he developed an AI solution to distinguish real products from a company and fake products.

The talk was a combination of a good war story and concrete steps into action to work with Azure Cognitive Services. Personally, I loved the combination of war story with concrete steps to action!

Good job Henk!

PIcture of henk presenting AI in the battles against the fakes.
Henk in his battle against the fakes.

A lap around serverless form an app developers perspective

Are you ready to go serverless? Bart and Glenn told us their story to go serverless for back-ends for mobile devices. An app with a  serverless backend can be a cheaper, more cost-effective solution. In this talk Bart and Glenn showed how they build a complete solution, but they are not only saying which tools they use but provides us a lot of insights a lot of the Azure products.

The setup of the project are some web projects hosted on Docker. Docker has advantages if you want to be scalable and are good to fix the “it works on my machine” issue.

For storage Bart and Glenn advice to use CosmosDB. CosmosDB is horizontally scalable and has a very high SLA .

The complete solution glued together with Azure Functions. Azure Functions is a serverless approach to execute code.

As good developers should advice, do Bart and Glenn advice to automate your complete development with Azure DevOps and App center.

I really loved this talk and this talks gave me a lot of insights for my next serverless backends.


As I only speak Dutch and English, and a lot of talks were in French I couldn’t attend all the talks. At DevDay a lot of talks were in French. And… It was the first time in Louvain-La-Neuve, so I made a nice city tour in the late afternoon before heading to my hometown.

Picture of Louvan la neuve by night
Louvain La Neuve by night.

I had good discussions, saw some amazing sessions (some more than the 2 I describe here and walked in a nice neighborhood. So I had a good day!

See you hopefully next year, DevDay!

Going Social at Microsoft Ignite

A month ago, I really had the time of my life. One of my biggest wishes was becoming reality. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at Microsoft Ignite, a big Microsoft conference in the US.

This trip was my second trip to USA in my #7ThYearMagic year. Microsoft Ignite was in Orlando, an awesome hood.

The climate is very warm and humid. Let’s say it was my second summer of 2019.

Because a lot of developers blog about Microsoft Ignite (and this is because it’s such an awesome conference) I am going to blog about a specific topic: social topics like Diversity and Inclusion.

Creating an inclusive community event

Lars Klint, a hero from Australia gave a session about building inclusive community events. Lars is the Organizer of DDD Melbourne. For Lars and DDD Melbourne it’s very important that the event is inclusive. Diversity and Inclusion is Key for them.

Lars explained about gender diversity, about newcomer speakers. I liked the session. It was good.

Lars explained about gender diversity, about newcomer speakers. I liked the session. It was good.

Recognize exclusion, design for inclusion

A talk from Bryce Johnson. People that know me already may know that I speak about accessibility and also visit often other talks about accessibility.

But this one was another one. This talk was exceptional good. My number one talk about accessibility I ever saw. And I saw in my last 2 years great talks about accessibility.

This talk was the story behind the XBOX Adaptive Controller, about how to enable people with disabilities to get engaged with their gamer friends  / community.

Bryce has a strong vision and the vision behind the Adaptive Controller can go way further. Bryce also told about the Inclusive Design Series from Microsoft and a bit about Inclusive Hiring, that people with disabilities deserve a paid job.

So folks, you all know that I am a volunteer. And I am really happy with my life. But the vison Bryce shared about being paid or not was strong.

Being a Social Developer

Scott Hanselman, a hero, a Rockstar. Scott presented a talk about being visible and on social media for developers. A talk about blog attitude (that is a working point for me!) and about personal branding.

I loved it. The talk had some awesome take-aways. And I try to blog more. (But can I say this, if this blogpost about Microsoft Ignite is already a month later?)

So I am on the good way going to this type of talks and try to be a better blogger.

Mental health, It’s time to talk

A talk by Ryan Yates from the UK. Very good talk. A talk about the explanation of having another state of mental health. And in this sentence I don’t say mental health issues .I say a different state. And this is with purpose!

A good talk with a lot of metaphors and theories in the field of mental wellbeing. Some concepts come back in the scope in support for people with autism.

I remember the Swimming pool theory. I try to explain: You could ask to your coworker (or your friend) how the level of their swimming pool is. Imagine that you stand at the ground (bottom) floor of a swimming pool? How high is the water? The lower the water is the safer and comfortable you are. But if the water comes to high you start to drown.

Another theory I liked is the Spoon theory. I try also to explain: Each person received a set of spoons. You need the spoon for each task you have to do during the day. But each person starts with a different amount of spoons. Also, the amount of spoons you need for each talk differs from task to task, person to person and mental health state to mental health state. If your spoons are empty, you cannot enjoy your day, complete you day comfortable anymore.

My talk: Building inclusive workplaces: Supporting coworkers with autism

My talk was about supporting coworkers with autism. About how to be the best coworker for your coworker with autism. And how to make most of your work situation. I give some theory about autism. Then I talk about specific issues people on the spectrum can have at work scenario and I give concrete advices for each of these situations. I say what to do, and what you better avoid.

People loved the talk. I got great feedback and awesome conversations after my talk.

What you don’t see

I end this blogpost with what you don’t see in blogpost and what not everybody know. But Microsoft Ignite is all about the hallway track, of how many speakers call it. It’s about being there and making connections. About talking to people from product groups you never met before .About experience sharing and helping each other.

And of course I visited a lot of technical sessions too. But I see most people telling, blogging and spreading the word about technical sessions already. I tried to deliver you another view of the conference. But in a conference of 6 day (5 + a pre day) you can visit a lot of technical sessions and a lot of social talks.

And the last night, it’s about partying. Microsoft rented the 2 Universal Studio’s park and everything was free. You could enjoy all rides and have some awesome drinks and foods.

Being an Expert at Xam(arin) Expert Day

Cologne, German Beers, German Fairgrounds and loads of fun! 25th October I had a talk at Expert Day for Xamarin. I flew in from an evening flight on the 24th straight after Microsoft TechDays in Sweden. I missed the speaker’s dinner but when I arrived at the Microsoft offices on the 25th I knew I was with my Xamarin Family

James’ Keynote

Me and James Montemagno
Me and James Montemagno

No one less than the one and only James Montemagno was invited to speak at this conference! James was James as he always is, awesome! James showed Hot Reload, and I remember a very good demo and explanation of the Android AOT (Ahead of Time) compiler.

DevOps: Continuous delivery for Xamarin applications, Azure DevOps and App Center

Picture of Stefanija who's presenting a great talk!
Stefanija is presenting a great talk!

In this talk Stefanija Popovska answered a question I had for a long time: “When do I use Azure DevOps or when do I use App Center?”.  I am a developer who’s longer on the Azure DevOps stack (from a long way ago since it was called VSTS Visual Studio Team Services. And if you are used to this tool stack and you are also developing other applications like web and desktop applications, then you can stay with Azure DevOps. If you are new the DevOps world and want to have a quick setup, you can use the fast and fluid set up of App Center.

If your choice is Azure DevOps, you can flavor your application with some special App Center features like Push Notifications and testing on real devices.

Really good talk!

UI Testing with Xamarin.Forms

If we go further on DevOps, I think about Testing Codrina showed us how you can make UI Tests with Xamarin.Forms. Codrina used a really good way of explaining the UI Testing methodology and concepts. A talk with the important basics to get started!

And of course, my talk: Improve people with disabilities life with Xamarin.Essentials

There was a lot of interest in my talk. I loved the huge amount of people showed up. I like to see that more and more people take time to learn about accessible software development. In this talk I spoke about Text To Speech who is a very accessibility specific function. I also talked about classes like Device Info and App Info that are very useful if you develop apps for people with disabilities’ but the caregiver, coach or parent isn’t the best IT’er and don’t know advanced device functions, like the current version of your device’s OS or the version of your app.

And we were in Germany!

And that means fairgrounds, beer gardens and a nice German culture. Honestly, I love Germany! I love the culture. For this reason, I stay a day longer and took a free day in Cologne! I went to a big fairground and made walk at the side of the Köln Messe a very important congress building!

Swedish Developer Dreams @ Microsoft TechDays Stockholm

In October I attended and spoke twice at Microsoft TechDays in Stockholm, Sweden. As I made the engagement to make a blogpost of each conference that I attend as a speaker or as an attendee I give you a rewrite.

And I know 23rd and 24th of October is a while ago. But Last month I had a lot of conferences (and I love it!) But of course, a day has only 24 hours. So, in the future weeks I will post a lot of conference reports.

Drinking AI invented Whiskey wtih Magnus Mårtensson

For me Microsoft TechDays Sweden was the conference linked to a big huge community feeling. I met a lot of other Microsoft MVP’s that I didn’t met since I am a Microsoft MVP.

I also met my Community Manager Tina Stenderup. I had wonderful talks. At this conference I had more networking and skipped more talks that I am used to do. But I had a great time and build on my Microsoft / Conference / Speaker Network! This is for me also very important.

But to be sure, I attended some nice talks. Here I highlight a few of them.

Work-Life Integration: 7 Effective Ways to Achieve Healthy Balance

As I am active in the Microsoft Diversity and Inclusion Community and the Microsoft Humans of IT Community, I do know Dux Raymond Sy from online life. And even before Microsoft TechDays I was already a big fan of Raymond!

Raymond presented a talk about Work-Life integration. Raymond’s vision fits completely in my vision. My key take-aways is that you must be your whole self. Bring your whole self to work and to private life.

Another key vision is to be real! Be authentic and be real in your complete life.

And mix both with being innovative and use tools like MyAnalytics in Microsoft Office 365 and you are on the good way!

Thanks Raymond!

Inclusive workplaces – a room for all

This was a panel session about inclusive workplaces. Which adjustments at the workplace are needed to be more inclusive? The were board members with gender diversity, people with migration background, LGBTQ+. In this board the board members spoke about the need of inclusive workplaces for this people and what you can do.

I did like the board, but advice that in future board they also invite a board member on the neurodiversity / disability spectrum (like autism). I missed this group in the discussion. But I have good news, I know somebody who invited himself to be in the board next time. (And that’s me!)

And of course, my talks

The Power of Inclusion

I presented my talk The Power of inclusion, the talk that started my speaker career. I did quite a big rewrite. I still see the need of inclusive apps and inclusion of people with disabilities in normal life of everyone else. And I believe the best way to achieve this is via accessible software. So I am proud and happy to share my slides here.

Autism: From Bullying to MVP

I was also invited to do a ‘Tech Talk’ a concept of talks of 20 minutes. I presented my personal life story Autism: From Bullying to MVP. I got a lot of emotion with this talk and I am going to work this talk out to a full 60 min talk for conferences starting 2020!

Wrap up

I had a good time, I really loved TechDays Sweden! I learn nice insights and have new ideas to investigate deeper. Thanks for everyone made this possible.

My 4th Future Decoded was with me!

My 4Th Future Decoded in a Row! I really enjoyed this Microsoft conference. Each year this conference is marked in my agenda months in advance. It’s big! (I know there are bigger conferences in US). At this time Future Decoded was the biggest conference I’ve been to. In November I work on this and go to visit and speak at Microsoft Ignite! and I know it’s way bigger. But I love Microsoft Future Decoded and call it a big conference until November.

This year Future Decoded has some extra magic. I went to the conference with my best friend and General Manager of Scorpius IT Kenny Liard. Nice to know, Kenny is also part of my nonprofit DDSoft. Traveling with your BFF together is always fun!

Like last year Future Decoded was pretty much AI focused. I love it to see what’s possible with AI and how Microsoft is putting input into this field.


I was overwhelmed with the initiatives Microsoft takes on sustainability. Microsoft advised Future Decoded attendees to bring re-usable water bottles. There were no recyclable water cups. In stead of water cups they used cardboard cups if you didn’t brought your recyclable bottles.

At Day 1 Keynote Dr. Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer gave a keynote. It made me think. Think a lot. Dr Lucas Joppa told about the actions Microsoft is taking for a more environmentally conscious approach. I don’t know for sure but Future Decoded changed my mind and I am more environmentally conscious since my last trip to Future Decoded!

Beyond earth

If you think beyond earth I loved  the keynotes from Major Tim Peake CMG and Helen Sharman CMG OBE. I love talks form outer world. Talks form outer world does me think at people changing their life completely. The astronauts have to switch their life completely in the 2 year period before the expedition to space. When they return on earth, they life is never the same as before their trip.

This types of talks make me think at attitude, different structure, planned structures. And be honest, as a person with autism this topic is never too far away.

Thanks for inspiring me!


Microsoft’s big efforts on accessibility are also very visible at Future Decoded for years. This year Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft was keynoting for the second year in a row at Future Decoded. I love her way of public speaking. I love her vision

But the keynote for Jenny Lay-Flurrie wasn’t the only accessibility effort from Future Decoded. There were even Braille maps of the expo hall!

Back to the Basics!

Start with the basics! A sentence that’s been said a lot of time. But an important message. At Future Decoded I learned to start with the basics in Accessibility. at DDSoft I am focusing for years on accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities and autism. But there are already a big set of basics accessibility guidelines to include and empower everyone. .The main message at this year’s conference was start with the basics in accessibility. Color Contrast, Dark Mode, captions and subtitles. use POUR principles: make Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust applications and you are inclusive! My mission is to go further on this basic accessibility and include it in my mission! And I am already started to bring this in my mission! As I am!

Power Platform and Power Apps

Microsoft is putting a lot of effort in accessibility in Power Apps and in the Microsoft Power Platform in broader sense. Microsoft is putting a lot of accessibility effort in this platforms. I’m not used to work with this platforms but I love the effort!

Microsoft Office 365

Another Microsoft product where Microsoft is putting a lot of effort for Accessibility is Office 365. Microsoft works with AI to make accessible documents and documentation.

After I said that Future Decoded gave me a drill into sustainability consciousness, Microsoft also gave me a ‘Use Accessibility tools in Office 365 drill! I love this drills.

BTW Office 365 has a great suite of AI solutions, they have even a PowerPoint trainer mode for speakers! I am so sure I am going to start using this tool!

The massive expo hall

And of course conferences mean networking at the expo hall! This year the expo hall was the biggest edition I saw at Microsoft Future Decoded. I loved the expo hall. Some booths were worked out pretty well. With plants, screens, huge screens, coffee trucks and this year the expo hall has 2 floors!

So I (we) really had a blast!

My journey at DevConf

This was my second stop at my magic Fall, my Fall conference season. I had the amazing opportunity to speak at DevConf in Krakow, Poland. A nice conference in an amazing cinema; What means: having the opportunity to project your slide deck on a huge cinema screen. This was a dream for me, and I believe this is an awesome dream for a lot of speakers.

I had good talks with other speakers like Callum Whyte, Spencer Sneidenbach and Dylan Beattie. Meeting the same speakers during conferences throughout the year feels like a family reunion. This all because speakers at conferences are a big family!

I also met a new speaker: Johan Öbrink. I am happy that I met this person! I like his vision. So, starting from DevConf Johan is also part of my family

I like to share you some insights from some of the talks I attended:

Social topics

Privilege as a Technical Debt

Did you consider how people from all over the world use your app? Is your service accessible from all over the world? If you plan to make apps and services on a global scale, then it’s important that you consider that not everyone has a first and a last name. Which gender are you? Male / Female / Binary? Do you realize that some people can being sentenced to death because their sexual orientation?

Amr Abdelwahab is providing us insights how decisions made from our own privileges can cause negative results for other people in the world! Thanks Amr to open my eyes!

A full list of awesome falsehoods developers believe can you find here: https://github.com/kdeldycke/awesome-falsehood#human-identity

My talk: Designing Accessible Apps

I had my talk Designing Accessible apps. I was very happy to see how many people that were interested in this topic! I had a good time while presenting and I love some reactions if I show people how you can make apps for people with disabilities! It was the 3rd time I spoke this talk in specific and the talk had a big rewrite!

My Motivation

Next three talks gave me energy to work within my nonprofit. Made me think why we made which choices. If we made the right choices? And of course, gave me insights into my future both as a speaker, Microsoft MVP and President of DDSoft

Three Rewrites – One Start Up, an Architects journey

Spencer told his story about how he went from a project in a company to a startup and even with a few rewrites in the Start Up. How do you go from Visual Basic 6 to C#? Of course, via vb.net! An important message was sharing is that you must be a consistent learner. Always learn something new. Be curious.

Architecture: In the past I went to a lot of conference talks that always taught me something new. But most sessions covered most technologies as a silo. You learn about Xamarin, about web API… In this session Spencer showed how he architected their solution. I loved these insights on architecture.

From Monolithic Monster to Majestic Microservice App

Another real-life war story was from Callum Whyte. He described how you go from a monolith to a microservice app. Also, a talk with a lot of architecture. Loved the scheme’s and the theory. Loved the insights and was inspired again.

The Art of Code

Dylan talking and preforming on a guitar during his talk.
The last part of Dylan’s talk.. With Guitar!

Dylan showed the beautiful parts of coding. The art parts. Dylan talks about coders making code for fun. Really inspiring! A good coder does not only code for work but codes free time / hobby projects. I love it, it inspires me. Dylan talked also about his own programming language ‘Rockstar’. Of course, Dylan doesn’t only talk about his projects but also about what other coders doing in their free time. Inspiring!

Wrap up

I want to wrap up my talk blogpost about DevConf with saying (again) that I had a really great time. I inspired people and got inspired by other people. As a speaker we were treaded very well, so what do I want more?

#DreamingIsBelieving #7ThYearMagic #MagicFall


Simplify The Layout

Image of an application to communicate about emotions. The app don't have a name right now and is not published. It's a proof of concept.

In this blogpost I’d love to talk about ‘simplify the layout’. In other words this means making the lay-out easier to understand. In this blogpost I am going to tell you how to make a layout for an app that’s really accessible. Easy to use.

I am going to focus on people with autism, learning disabilities (in other words intellectual or cognitive disabilities) and people that are distracted very often. An example is people on the ADD / ADHD spectrum.

How to start with simplifying the layout?

You can start  simplifying  the layout of your application with cutting down the content of your application. Simplifying the lay-out is making the screen easy to understand. This can be done with less content par screen. Big busy screens with lot of divided content isn’t easy for everyone.

And I know, a lot of developers want to build applications with as much as possible options. Eye – catchers. For people that have difficulties with understanding the basic usage of your application are this options eye – killer.

Another adjustment to make an accessible lay-out is a bigger font. Of course, a bigger font is helpful for people with vision loss. But also for people with intellectual disabilities it’s easier to recognize words and text if the font is bigger.

For many people with disabilities it’s easy to have enough contrast. Use dark text on a white background. Specific for people with intellectual disabilities a white or light background is easier.

But if you really want to be accessible and inclusive for a lot of people you can add the option to switch to a dark background with a light text-color scheme. Some people with autism prefer this combination. They have the feeling to have less sensory overload with a dark color scheme.