We’re starting 2016 on a busy, but reflective note as we envision how we want to show up as web accessibility professionals, advocates, and educators. We thought about how we’d personally like to do better as practitioners and teachers, how we’d like to see our team and company grow over the course of the year, and how we want to inspire you to up your accessibility game this year.
Happy New Year! It’s definitely a brand-new year for the team at Simply Accessible. The past twelve months were a crucible for us: lots of exciting growth and deep learning. We’re starting 2016 on a busy, but reflective note as we envision how we want to show up as web accessibility professionals, advocates, and educators. We thought about how we’d personally like to do better as practitioners and teachers, how we’d like to see our team and company grow over the course of the year, and how we want to inspire you to up your accessibility game this year. (You’ll see some clear themes!)
We’re ready to launch heart-first into 2016. We hope you are, too.
Elle Waters, Director Of Strategy
For me as a practitioner of accessibility, my focus is prioritize usability testing earlier and more often in every project. The lessons we’ve learned in the last two years have totally reshaped my whole understanding of accessibility. And related, I’d like to gain a more intimate understanding of (and guide teams on) incorporating patterns of use and consistent UX more into designs. And for those “out there”? Get to know your users more. Be more proactive with vendor partners about ensuring accessibility from the beginning. Focus on simple, elegant, and understandable designs.
Nicolas Steenhout, Accessibility Consultant
My goal is to write one blog post per month discussing a key issue one of our clients is facing. For Simply Accessible, I’d like us to reach more people through expanded teaching, speaking, and workshop opportunities. And for the folks “out there,” too many accessibility/disability advocates are approaching things in a negative or punishing way. I’d like you to work for positive advocacy in the accessibility field.
Devon Persing, Accessibility Consultant
What I’d love to see our audience take on in 2016 is user testing. Which sounds scary and expensive! But, user testing demonstrates how the things we put in buckets (usability, user experience, accessibility, content, and information architecture, for example) don’t break down along clean lines when someone actually has a problem using a site. Users don’t care what our buckets are. So this year, I encourage people to 1. do user testing, and 2. create holistic improvements to address issues you find from testing with real people.
Charles Callistro, Scrum Master
I hope this year to participate more with the accessibility community. And my hope for those at large is that you’ll bake accessibility in on Day One of development.
Melanie Jones, Editorial Strategist
My big goal this year is to get SA’s voice and message out into the world. Last year was big for client services and team growth. This year, I’m excited to focus all our new voices and perspectives, and share them with all of you.
Gavin Ogston, Interactive Applications Developer
For developers out there, this year test your code for keyboard accessibility. Make sure you can get to everything, and visually track your progress through the page, using only a keyboard. For me personally, I’d like to participate more in the community through Twitter and conferences.
Jeff Smith, Director of Operations
For the folks out there: work to introduce accessibility earlier in your design and development process. We’re still seeing a lot of teams tacking it on as a last-minute item.
Joanna Briggs, Manager of Accessibility and Usability Testing
The thing that helped me learn more about accessibility last year was spending time with people in usability sessions and watching how they did things. Some assumptions that I/we/people in the field make were totally blown out of the water by the participants who helped us out. It reminded me that there’s no static point in what we are trying to achieve in our work–everything is in flux and we need to keep adjusting to what we learn as it comes along. This year, my resolution is to gather more feedback and spend more time sitting with users, so that we’re able to enhance our practice from actual humans. They’re going to teach me what I need to keep up and do better next year.
Julie Grundy, Front-end Web Developer
I’d like to teach more people about accessibility at local meet-ups and through the SA blog. (Look for a three-post series from Julie coming soon.) For everyone, I encourage you to go back to basics. Learn more about HTML and CSS standards, which are the foundation layer of our whole web experience, as well as all the exciting new technologies and frameworks.
Mark Palmer, Accessibility and Usability Consultant
For me personally, I’d like to be more actively teaching accessibility, rather than preaching when it’s not done well. I’d like to see Simply Accessible continue to grow. First Hong Kong, next the world. And for our readers, resolve a greater awareness of when to apply accessibility principles in design. I’m thinking from the point where the first pencil is sharpened.
Denis Boudreau, Web Accessibility Strategist
For myself: Focus more on storytelling. Find ways to share my ideas in a compelling, personal, engaging way. Foster empathy. Write more. Share more. Make time for it. Accept that big projects are built one step at a time. For the folks out there: Begin to let go of the WCAG dogma and embrace the principles behind it. It’s time to unlearn a mindset based on checklists and compliance, and start focusing on end results for users.
Derek Featherstone, Founder and Team Lead
For my own practice, I’d like to reinvigorate my teaching with all new examples to demonstrate better methods for designing and building accessible digital products. For the team, I’d like us to share more examples of solutions for particular accessibility problems, particularly design-related issues that surface in usability testing sessions. And in 2016, I would love individuals, teams, businesses, and organizations to embrace the fact that you’re never “done” with accessibility. There’s always work to do, and focusing on continuous improvement will allow you to see accessibility not so much as a one-time thing, and more of an all-the-time thing.