Year 2020 was a special year and although very negative in most ways due to the pandemics it did have some positive effects as well. One of them was most definitely the dynamic adaption to work from home and because of this new situation huge parts of society had to move to online meetings and other digital means.
Besides real-time needs we also got the European Web Accessibility Directive’s 23th of September deadline, 30 years of Americans with Disabilities Act and a working draft of newest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – version 2.2 (opens in new window).
With “everybody” doing online meetings and webinars we were also experiencing the real need for closed captions, when being outside and wearing the protective masks we could even get a hint about importance of face expressions in our interactions and I think this is also related in a way.
My personal accessibility efforts and accomplishments in 2020
For me personally it was a very good year when it comes to broadening my accessibility knowledge and awareness and I even did some passionately advocacy that gave a lot of good results.
I decided that our company should invest more in accessibility, that my coworkers should be more aware of it, that our management would support that and that our clients were aware of it’s importance as well.
Therefore I decided that I will invest a lot of personal and company’s time to build competences for myself that I can then spread throughout our internal and client network. And I made it – I even got Web Accessibility Specialist certified while doing my research.
Here are some key points of mine;
- With support of my leader I kicked-off my accessibility journey – first by preparing a free lecture for the Global Accessibility Awareness Day in March (opens in new window). To prepare a lecture takes time and I learned a lot. I got to the point that I knew I have to learn much more to be able to teach others on a more advanced level.
- I decided to write this blog more often and while studying for the WAS certification I wrote an article almost each day in July and I’ve also decided to write at least one blog post per week with some thoughts and resources on web accessibility.
- The first lecture was a success and we decided to offer another one and also prepare a non-free online webinar course for the public. It was very difficult to find the audience in the time of such abundance of all possible webinars. But two of our clients approached me anyway so I suggested to my boss that I make a short course for them, for free. They loved it.
- I’ve started to pro-actively approach the missing accessibility efforts for our client and made initial presentation for the middle-level management. It was well accepted and it really triggered the internal awareness in the company. Next step was to make my first real accessibility evaluation to be able to report errors and to be able to make their first accessibility statement at the same time.
- Screen-reader as a testing tool was a part of the certification learning process and I started to really use them more often to be able to better understand the problems they solve and how people can really interact with them on a regular basis. Therefore I tried to use a screen-reader more often, from VoiceOver on my iPhone, to NVDA on my PC and TalkBack on my Android. Sometimes it was difficult and I had to find solutions online, but I am now quite good at it. Still not so proficient that I would like to be, but getting slowly there.
- I’ve suggested to my boss that I would like to approach our accessibility strategy in a more systematic manner and to do it effectively I wanted to become companies accessibility lead and he presented it to other leaders and I was accepted as a lead.
These are maybe not something huge compared to other accessibility specialists with decades of years of experience but for me it was an exponential improvement that made me better and also more aware of the importance of accessibility for everybody.
To add some stats to the story – when considering the 10000 hours rule of being an expert;
- I’ve read 1153 online articles and I’ve seen 148 videos on accessibility- everything from coding to design and strategy,
- I wrote 63 blog posts on this blog, 1 post on LinkedIn and 15 posts on our internal Confluence page,
- I’ve attended 25 online webinars from known and less known accessibility experts and specialists,
- I’ve prepared and presented 5 different presentations about accessibility for the public, for internal and for client use,
- I’ve prepared and lectured 1 course on practical accessibility for our client
So – still a lot to be done in the year 2021 but I will dedicate my time, both payed and private to be better at accessibility and to learn others about it as well.