I wrote my first post on this blog 14th of August 2019, and kept writing about my accessibility journey approximately once per week from then. I’ve published 210 posts in this time, some short and some long. Some very technical and tactical and some very strategical. I use this blog to log my experiences and in some cases to help with spreading the still much needed awareness.
Why there isn’t more technical posts?
I think I should write more technical posts, but at the same time there are not a lot of strategical posts out there, so I think it is still usable. Besides that it’s not so easy to write a proper technical article considering we need quite the investment in software and hardware. At a minimum we need to buy PC and MAC, Android and iOS and then also add the costs for JAWS screen-reader and Dragon naturally speaking. And that is really the minimum if you want to test the technical parts properly. Some may argue that there is a demo version of JAWS that works for 40 minutes, but to my understanding it’s not allowed to use it for accessibility testing, at least not getting payed for it (The 40 Minute Mode is not intended for commercial use, opens in new window).
Nevertheless some parts of accessibility are technical and I do my best to test the suggested patterns. As things can and will change frequently it’s not really viable to test all of it all of the time. For example new browser versions that can even brake previously fixed accessibility bugs and the same goes for assistive technologies like screen-readers.
At the same time I think it is beneficial to consider accessibility from organizational perspective as well. It is the prerequisite for the technical parts anyway. It doesn’t help a lot if some developers know best practices and how to test them when content creators break things or when they get impossible design problems they have to just solve quickly without possibilities to fix it.
Anyway, I will try to add more technical parts, but as mentioned my focus will still be on the accessibility journey that is required before we even get to the technical parts. I will also add a warning on older posts that will make sure people understand that time brings changes also in the field of accessibility.
Accessibility is a huge, ever evolving, field
There are days when I am deep in the code and testing with assistive technologies and there are days when I need to sell the whole idea to different kind of people, from leaders, stakeholders, designers, developers and content creators. It’s a part of the accessibility profession, the tactical and the strategical points of view. And when writing a blog it’s actually amazing. So much to write about. At the same time, as with all things, people may not agree with everything I write. Majority disagree silently, but some do reach out and remind me about the two-way communication that is possible with blogging.
I didn’t get many complaints, actually just a single one, when I thought about accessibility professionals being like detectives preventing crime. I totally get the fact that detectives don’t usually prevent crime, they more often only investigate it after it was done. But at the same time I still believe some crimes can also be prevented by detectives. And some accessibility issues can be prevented before they happen. That was my point, but it was not quite understood like that. Perhaps because I am not a native speaker or perhaps because people tend to think about detectives in a different way.
Anyhow, some posts from the past might not be very relevant in the present and I will add a warning to older posts, just to make things clear. Ever evolving field like accessibility does mean things change a lot. I try to write in a way that lasts, but it’s not possible to guarantee it for every subject.
References to my posts
I am not marketing this blog in any way. No, not even on my social media. I did post the blogs sitemap to Google and let it decide what content is of value and what not. It takes time to be “visible” on Google when we don’t promote the site on social media, so it is interesting how much of my posts are used as a reference from others. I did a check with free tools that can verify the so called back-links and was positively surprised that some of my posts were even used in a documentation for a large style guide. I will not post any links yet, as I believe it still needs more time, but it was a nice surprise.
Well, I do get the fact that this blog is text only and therefore not so attractive to people that are bombarded with different graphical elements and what not. I like writing more than finding good images. And this might change now with automatic tools that generate quite interesting images based on text. I don’t know if that will add any value though. It would probably mean a bit longer sessions of people that need the visuals, but I still believe that raw text has an advantage over images and videos. Images may sometimes reflect other messages that we want them to reflect and videos take a lot of time editing and describing. At the same time I feel more comfortable writing than speaking. So for me it’s simpler to produce text. Just convert my thoughts to text.
The design is also quite outdated, I am aware of that. But again, I prefer the content before form concept. I know that visually appealing design works better, but with limited time I think that producing content is more valuable.
So we’ll se about redesigning and getting more visuals. I don’t promise anything. I am aware of the negative aspects of it, but on the end of the day it is more important to me to provide content before form.
I will still try to write once per week, as time for now allows me that, but will see. Please let me know if you have some suggestions, wishes and so on. I am totally open about suggestions.