“Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know… as there will be many times where you don’t know the answer” Omar
Accessibility Specialist at Thomson Reuters
Years of Experience in Tech: 3-5 years
Level of Accessibility Expertise: Advanced
I grew up in a family where I had family members who identified as having a disability, and my brother was born on the autism spectrum. I have personally seen the value of how getting interventions at an early age helped him. My mantra within accessibility is “Always Do Good”; I want to ensure that everybody has access to technology, regardless of their disability.
I got into the technology field and I had no idea that accessibility was a thing within technology. My first internship in accessibility changed that forever; it was a perfect match and I haven’t looked back since then. Today, I am an Accessibility Specialist at Thomson Reuters where I work with other UX designers to create accessible experiences for our product. Even though I’m focused on the accessibility lens, I believe it is important to consider the user experience as a whole. Accessibility to me is 90% advocacy. We, as designers, tend to make many assumptions about the user experience and it’s important to ensure that we advocate for users through the whole process. Disability can and will affect our lives in one way or another, and the idea of situational and temporary disabilities changed the way I look at accessibility.
How do you build support for accessibility?
Make it Personal
As a society, we haven’t placed enough of an emphasis on how much this really does affect and touch everybody’s lives, so it’s just making that that affect very real and very tangible… That’s how I try to build support for accessibility.
What advice would you give others who are thinking about getting involved in digital accessibility?
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.
There will be many, many, many times that you don’t know an answer immediately off the top of your head.. and that’s okay. Keep that humility, because there are going to be times when things will not work out every single time, and that is just the reality. You are not going to win every single time, and you have to be OK with that because you have to get up again. Don’t let failure just halt you in your tracks and keep you from getting up again.
What is one thing someone can go do today, to practice accessibility in their lives?
Use Camel Case Hashtags! For example, instead of saying #accessibilityforall say #AccessibilityForAll
This is something that is really easy, and not everybody realizes is important. They’re called camel case hashtags. You have to make sure that the 1st letter is capitalized in every word. This helps the screen reader by putting the capitals in there and it also helps people with learning disabilities. Overall, it makes it more readable for everyone, and it’s such an easy thing to do!
Want to learn more about the ways to build empathy in teams? Watch the entire interview or read video transcriptions below!
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