Are we angry enough: I attended #a11yTO Camp 2019
Making digital products accessible does not compromise them.
The annual #a11yTo Camp took place this past Saturday and I spent a full day learning about digital accessibility. As a web developer who just started in the industry (Yay! I have a job now! You can learn more about who I work for at the end of this article), this is a topic that is very important to me.
“It got better because we got angrier”
My day started with a lovely time travel with David on the evolution of WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Over the last couple decades, WCAG continues to shape the inclusivity and accessibility in the digital world. Two points that linger in my mind after David’s talk:
- It’s important for the folks who make guidelines walk in the shoes of folks who need them. Most of the early guidelines are built upon “accessibility myths” because few of the experts then had disabilities themselves.
- We are in a consumer-controlling culture. In other words, nothing will be done unless we are angry enough about it. This reminds me about the talk I had with a friend in regard to environmental issues before. We have recently started to see stores charging for plastic bags as people get more and more angry about the use of single-use plastics.
“Easy Mode Is Not A Participation Trophy”
Steve is a blind video gamer and his talk expand my knowledge of accessibility in video game design. I used to think of accessibility as adding alt text for images or having focus state on link elements so the website is tab-ble. In the world of video games, accessibility is tied into the product design itself. Having an easy mode should not be considered as a compromise of the original game experience, rather a bridge to connect all users to experience the game in its origin design. We should also never rely on our own experience to make the design inclusive. This very conversation about inclusivity should start, involve and end with disabled gamers.
“Cultivate a Community of Practice”
As one of the many talents in the HY community, Alex walked through a great story about the Community of Practice (CoP) at Rangle.io. She divided up their practice into 5 stages:
- Unrecognized: also called couple people who just love to have meeting together phrase.
- Bootlegged: community is getting noticed. It’s very important to get an executive sponsor at this stage, who gives you resources to succeed.
- Legitimized: community is legitimized and the its impact is growing.
- Supported: and loved (if I might add) and it is time expend the core team.
- Institutionalized: community with official status.
Some of you might be aware that, I recently joined the board for an organization, Women in Tech Toronto (WiTTO). Even though the nature of the organization is different, the knowledge Alex shared for these 5 stages are invaluable.
The talk of accessibility does not end here. If you are interested, #a11yTO does meetups every month and I just signed up for their conference in October.
Here are some other places you can find me on the Internet:
- I coded a website for myself: http://chaoyuezhao.com/
- Someone hired me to build websites, web apps and other digital products on their team. I think they are pretty cool: https://reflektor.digital/
- I write at-the-moment short blog post (people also call them tweets): https://twitter.com/ChaoyueZ
- Did you know I used to plan events? Wanted to know about my career journey? Head over: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaoyuezhao/
- And of course, you want to know what food I eat: https://www.instagram.com/chaoyue_zhao