Active talks

If your event or organisation is interested in any of these talks, please contact me on Mastodon or via email (chad.gowler /AT/

The Accessibility Expert Is In

Accessibility specialists can sometimes be like Lucy, pulling the football of launching your website from under you by finding a bunch of issues that need to be fixed before go-live. This talk is to show you how to not be a Charlie Brown by demonstrating quick and simple checks to catch some of the most common issues.

How? I issue you a challenge! Without tools or assistive technology, I bet that I can find at least one issue within a minute of testing. If I win I tell you how I did it, if you win there will be prizes and glory!

Available as a 30-45 minute talk. Note: this is highly interactive but will work online as well as in person

What web accessibility can learn from game accessibility (working title)

In recent years, the prominence of accessibility in gaming has skyrocketed as publishers use accessibility innovations to help market games and accessibility is being recognised at award ceremonies. Given that game accessibility standards are partially an offshoot of WCAG 2.0, it’s time to check in and see what lessons have been learnt.

This talk will compare WCAG and other web standards with various game accessibility standards with the aim of seeing where the gaps in the web are and how looking at innovations in gaming could be adopted by digital accessibility practitioners to improve the web for disabled people.

Writing in progress, will be ready by summer 2023.

Disability is not a bad word: closing the gap between accessibility and disabled people

The web is for everyone and accessibility makes things better for everyone. These phrases are oft-repeated by people working in accessibility and inclusion, usually to persuade others that making things accessible is something it is good to do. We have strong sets of standards to follow backed up by law to force companies where persuasion fails. So what’s the problem?

Over time we have abstracted accessibility away from the experiences of disabled people and built an industry too focused on compliance and too removed from the people we serve. This talk will look at how and why this has happened, and what we as an industry should do to be truly accessible.

Writing in progress, will be ready by summer 2023.

Working Through The Problem: How Developers Can Get Involved With Research

We talk a lot about user research being a “team sport” but this doesn’t always work out in reality. It can be tricky for non-researchers to make time in their schedules on something not seen as their “day job”.

This talk is about why taking part in user research is a vital task for developers, ways you can start talking to dev teams and managers about making space in sprints for research, and how analysis can create a better product. We will also look at how to do research without a researcher effectively and where even small amounts of research can yield important insights.

Available as a 30 min talk.

Uncomfortable Experiences In Digital Games

While there is an increasing amount of research in the player experience area, little work has been done specifically around discomfort in digital games and what this means. This talk covers two studies that look at the experience, causes and motivations behind the play of games that induce discomfort. An analysis of Steam reviews and a follow-up questionnaire study focusing on asking participants about uncomfortable experiences in Darkest Dungeon, Papers Please and Fallout 4 were used to try and define discomfort; this talk will discuss what was found and what this means for game design and player experience.

This talk is based on my Master’s dissertation, more information about that can be found on the Games Research page. It is 30 minutes long and has been given at Manchester Barcamp and London Unread Meetup. Find the video here

Mental Health in Agile Workplaces

Most of us will be affected by a mental health issue at some point in our lives, and this high-pressure, fast-paced industry can make coping difficult. We all want to do our jobs well, but sometimes we need a bit of extra support. This talk will explain why people can struggle and how to change touchpoints like meetings, code review and timesheets to make the day-to-day easier to navigate. We will cover how to start conversations with people in your team and how small changes in language can make a big difference.

This talk is a 30 minute conference talk and has been given at Alterconf and PyconUK as well as internally at work.

Asking about Gender

Only available on a consultant/paid basis, contact for fees

As we move towards more customised experiences for our users, why do we still insist on using the black boxes of male and female when asking users about their gender? And why are we asking for it in the first place? Between 1 and 5 percent of the UK population identifies as having a non-binary gender or are transgender. This talk aims to help developers ask users about their gender in a useful and sensitive manner; educate on what non-binary means and what other issues non-binary and gender variant users may face when using the web.

Render 2016 - Chad Gowler from White October on Vimeo.

This talk comes in many variants; 5 minute lightning talk, 30 mins conference talk, 1 hour conference talk and 90 minute workshop. Slides are hosted on

This has been given at conferences (Talk UX, PyconUK, Render Conf, Scotland JS, UX Scotland), usergroups (Ladies that UX, NUX, Merseycode), companies (Lost Your Name, Ministry of Justice Digital) and universities (Edinburgh, York).

Being Non-binary in Binary Spaces

A talk for women in tech/diversity groups on how to be more inclusive of non-binary people and how to have conversations to make groups aware of all the genders.

30 min talk, previously given at Sheffield Women in Tech.

Inactive talks

Asking Users Who They Are

Accessibility and HTML 101

Teaching Web Development


Publications and Interviews