Ada Lovelace Day Profile: Julie Howell

Julie Howell When I signed up to write a blog post about a woman in technology whom I admire, I knew straight away it would be Julie Howell. Born in Hampshire, UK in 1971, Julie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 19. Her first impact on the internet was described in Louise Proddow’s book ‘ the names and faces behind the dot com era’, (2000) lauding Julie for creating and developing an award-winning online social network of people with multiple sclerosis – Jooly’s Joint. Founded in 1995, membership of Jooly’s Joint now exceeds 20,000 world wide, and was named ‘Best Online Community’ at the New Statesman New Media Awards (2000) and ‘The Mirror Readers’ Choice’ at the Yell UK Web Awards (2000).
Julie Howell is currently Director of Accessibility at digital design agency Fortune Cookie. Before this she was Digital Policy Manager at RNIB.
Julie has spent much of the last decade working with businesses and government agencies to ensure the usability by disabled people of digital information services – probably the most vocal and effective champion of Web Accessibility in the UK. She is Technical Author of BSi’s specification for accessible web design, ‘PAS 78‘ and Chair of BSi’s Web Accessibility Technical Committee, that will hopefully soon produce a British Standard for Web Accessibility. I am not, of course, the first to applaud her work. Julie held the New Media Age Effectiveness Award for ‘The Greatest Individual Contribution to New Media 2005/6’ and in 2007, Julie received ‘The Special Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Imperatives Digital Awards. Deservedly so!
I first met Julie in Preston in 2002 at one of her many seminars on Web Accessibility, and, inspired and enthused by her to the cause, immediately made it my own cause, too, and by April 2006 I was pleased to meet her again, as co-chair of a meeting of the Manchester Digital Accessibility Working Group  to which we had invited her as part of her tour promoting PAS78. She has since become one of my Facebook friends where we talk about the much more important issue of cats : ) Not only is Julie a woman who has contributed a great deal to the world of information technology, she is also a very friendly and fun-loving person.

The Incorporation of Commercial Facebook Pages

Facebook Alert to new style of Pages 'Pages are now more like Profiles. Pages have been updated to behave more like your friends' Profiles. Now they feature a Wall, where you can post photos and messages. Soon you'll start to see posts by Pages in your News Feed.

So Facebook incorporate commercial facebook pages as part of their new revamp. Now what used to be simple one-page ads become full-on profiles just like people. Companies are now people on Facebook, just like legal entities in the wider world. What a shrewd move. Their clever adverts will appear in our newsfeeds, thumbs of their antic photos jostling with teasing half-clues bristling with ‘buzz’. The line beyond which the early populace of Facebook will suddenly enmasse desert to some platform less overtly a paragon of establishment corporatism could be crossed at any moment. Watch this space.