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!


Accessibility, Recovery, and Posters

It’s been a bit crazy around here.

On February 3rd, my scheduled article for The Pastry Box, Recovery, went up. That was, as usual, exciting for me. This month’s post was about being kind to yourself, because you can. People seem to like it a lot.

So my phone was already buzzing with twitter notifications as different folks found and commented on that post, which made me pretty happy.

Then about mid-morning, A List Apart posted Reframing Accessibility for the Web, a piece I wrote about ableism, accessibility, and testing strategies that move accessibility into technology. That’s when my phone started vibrating off my desk.

The article, which has been read and tweeted about more times than I can count, has been very well-received. The most an author can accomplish is to get people thinking — anything beyond that is a bonus. Based on the comments and feedback I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten people thinking, and that makes me very satisfied indeed.

It’s also gotten me remembering the requests I’d received for a printable version of An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues back in July.

So here it is, better late than never, an Alphabet of Accessibility Issues PDF that you can download and print onto whatever size paper you happen to have available. Hang it around the office, in the lobby, or wherever you work on your design and development stuff. Update: thanks to the fine folks at Emerge Interactive the PDF is now tagged for better accessibility!

As for me, I’m thinking of something more oriented toward design heuristics for my next piece. It’ll be fun.

Now on The Pastry Box: A Small Rant Courtesy of Your Users

Ugh. I spent seven years providing technical support to a major website. For seven years people called me up and said, “this isn’t working” (or more frequently “your website sucks”) and it was not only my job to care, it was my job to fix it if I could.

I would have lasted 10 minutes if my stock answer was “It works for me.”

Of course it works for me. If it didn’t work when we tested it, it wouldn’t have been elevated to production. That doesn’t mean it’s flawless. It means it passed our tests.

Anyway, I ranted about exactly this problem in A Small Rant Courtesy of Your Users over on The Pastry Box this month.

…I really should get around to writing more posts here instead of “just” publishing there.

Now on The Pastry Box: An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues

Wow. So I wrote An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues for The Pastry Box (who, by the way, have invited me to become one of the “regular bakers” and I could not be even more thrilled) and the reaction to it has just exploded.

This one’s simple: every one of us, in some way, is a person who needs accessible technology to surf the web. Maybe today we don’t, but probably in the future we will. When that time comes, we need the web to be flexible and accessible. We need to start building it now.