A deck of accessibility issues

Cross-posted from The Interconnected

Back in February, I wrote about the events that brought about the Alphabet of Accessibility post on The Pastry Box, and I hinted I might have a deck of cards to accompany it soon.

I opened the mail today and discovered that my prototype deck arrived. The Alphabet of Accessibility Deck is a real thing you can purchase with actual money from over at The Gamecrafter.

A box for the accessibility deck, with the deck, with letter z on top

I’m a little overwhelmed. When I wrote the original alphabet back in 2014, I certainly didn’t expect it would ever become a talk, much less a talk, a deck of cards, and a half-formed workshop.

But here we are, dragging the world forward kicking and screaming into the Century of the Anchovy, as Terry Pratchett would put it. And you can buy the deck and share it with your teams or your organizations or whatever you’d like.

Many thanks to Dylan Wilbanks, Jeff Eaton, Sarah Hoffman, Elaine Nelson, and Greg Dunlap (as well as many others!) for encouragement, sanity checks, and pointing me to The Gamecrafter. And all of my friends and family, who will continue to remain nameless, for their love, support, and well-earned right to complain about the things we still don’t get right when we design.

IA Summit 2018

In about a month, I’ll be presenting my talk, What Letter Are You? An Alphabet of Accessibility, to the IA Summit. It’s in Chicago this year, and looks to be a fantastic conference.

Here’s the synopsis:


Every one of us needs the internet to be accessible. Our needs may not surface today, but they will in the future. Do we know enough about what accessibility needs look like — beyond the stereotypes of people with disabilities that we’re all too aware of? And how do we get from “I know my site has problems” to “I know how to approach them?”

This talk, based on Anne’s 2014 articles “An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues” and “Reframing Accessibility for the Web” will frame accessibility through the lens of 26 people who need accessibility considerations. It will cover:

  • Four broad categories of accessibility needs that we must be aware of: visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive and neurological.
  • Twenty-six people who need us to design accessibly. Some of them you’ll recognize as being disabled, and some of them may come as a surprise.
  • An approach for designing accessibly by concentrating on the functional changes we can bring to our project work.
  • Emphasis on keyboard use, images, and forms.

Attendees will learn about accessibility issues, both common and surprising, and leave with a framework for approaching accessibility problems based on what websites need to do instead of based on what people can’t do.


It’s the same talk I presented at World IA Day on February 20th, so if you didn’t get a chance to see it locally and you’ll be in Chicago, I’d be honored if you’d attend.

You can use the discount code ‘IAS18SPEAKER’ to take $50 off the final registration cost, and register at http://www.iasummit.org/registration/

Now on The Interconnected: Cans of Shit and Salt Speakers

My June 2 post on The Interconnected came from a conversation at work about how some “hot” new design projects were really just a way to suck money out of people… and how it reminded me a lot of modern art which was intended to shock and cost money, but not really add anything valuable to anyone’s lives.

It also touches on some accessibility elements — like the fact that many As Seen on TV products are actually products that solve problems for people with disabilities that the rest of us benefit from.

Read Cans of Shit and Salt Speakers at The Interconnected.

Now on The Colin McEnroe Show: An Assessment of Accessibility

The Colin McEnroe Show, a radio program on WNPR (Connecticut’s NPR affiliate) invited me to join their other guests to talk about accessibility issues on January 19, 2017. The episode is An Assessment of Accessibility and it runs about 49 minutes.

Major props to the show for simulcasting American Sign Language signers from Source Interpreting to translate today’s show! When radio was first invented, the opportunity for the Deaf and hearing-impaired communities to access the content were obviously limited, but in our current age of Internet Video Everything, there’s no longer a reason to assume that people who can’t hear your broadcast can’t enjoy it in a different medium. It’s a great example of where today’s technology can provide access to stuff that was impossible to access in the past.

This is the first time I’ve done a radio appearance and these kinds of things are generally done unscripted, but as far as I can tell I didn’t say anything too stupid and I had a great time.

If you have an opportunity to work with host Colin McEnroe, producer Jonathan McNicol, and the staff of the show, I recommend it!