Video Transcription

Video Transcription: Omar Bonilla

The video transcription has been created as a clean verbatim style transcript to provide a less distracting, and more valuable interview – without detracting anything meaningful from the original.

Nandita Gupta 0:01
Well, Welcome to the Shakti collective and today we have with us Omar, and would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Omar 0:08
Sure, I’m Omar Bonilla, and I am an accessibility specialist at Thomson Reuters so I work heavily with UX designers and software developers as well. I help basically make our technology work for people with disabilities so that’s what I’ve chosen to do as my career and I enjoy it every day.

Nandita Gupta 0:29
That is so cool so if you have to describe accessibility in just three words, what would they be?

Omar 0:40
Always do good. I think there’s always a chance to do good, not just better not just best it’s not, you know, not in a competitive sense it’s always good to do something meaningful for somebody else, because that’s really what accessibility is is making sure that we design the tools products the technology that we create, make sure that everybody can have access to that, regardless of whatever disability you live with so that’s something that I tried to live by at work, and just in my life every day.

Nandita Gupta 1:15
That is so beautiful… So what really made you, like why do you care about accessibility?

Omar 1:21
Sure. I care about accessibility because it’s, it is personal to me, it’s personal to me because I have family who live with disabilities. My brother is on the autism spectrum and so we’re only two years apart. And I, you know, being so close in age, growing up together you, you are able to kind of compare and contrast your experiences as you’re living through them. He…

As I look back on it as an adult, I realized what.. how important and impactful it was for him to be able to get interventions at an early age. It’s helped him as an adult, with really just the independence, developing skills that may have taken him longer to develop in a mainstream school without that level of support. And so after that I got into technology and I had no idea that accessibility was a thing within technology and yet I, my first internship at undergrad was an accessibility internship and it was like lightning, it was just the perfect match and I haven’t looked back since I don’t see myself doing anything else.

Nandita Gupta 2:40
That is amazing. so I know you mentioned that something that you know that was enlightening for you. So what was your first, aha moment with accessibility?

Omar 2:48
Sure. The first aha moment that I had with accessibility was learning about getting hands on with a screen reader. Because up until that point, I had interfaced with my technology, I would say the way ost of us might think we interface with technology mouse and keyboard together, that kind of thing… and so it was something that I never really had to consider in my personal lived experience. Up until that, up until I actually started to do the work and started to do testing with assistive technology to actually realize how different that experience is and how hampered that experience is, if things aren’t designed excessively was something that was extremely eye opening so that.. that happened the first first few weeks of my accessibility career. And so, that yeah that that’s the moment where I was like okay like I realized wow there’s, there’s a ton of work that needs to be done here.

And it was sort of, you know, roll up your sleeves, get started getting into the work

Nandita Gupta 4:01
Right, because it’s only dependent on you know if your site’s accessibility is clean, it’s not gonna do anything.

Omar 4:07
Yes

Nandita Gupta 4:07
Yeah, that’s for sure. And so, can you tell us about you would say influence on your accessibility professional career. What lessons did that person teach you?

Omar 4:21
I have a couple. My very first supervisor. The first accessibility specialist that I worked under his name was Scott Boren. He’s over at Western Governors University which is an online online university, and what Scott did was on day one, he had. Up until I got there along with another intern who came shortly after I did. He was doing that job all by himself for. I don’t even know how many years maybe two years all along. And so there’s so much work that needed to be done but he had taken the time to prepare. Almost like a camp worth of accessibility related material. The weekend guidelines of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for anybody watching might not know what that is, these are sort of the globally recognized standards in terms of making web technologies work with to be accessible Excuse me. And so, all that was new to me. And so he basically gave me a whole bunch of materials said, Hey, you know get through this. These are some of the basics. And after that, here’s the backlog of work, it was a different sort of learning platform so we had to test for accessibility He’s like, we have this backlog, just kind of dive in and start testing, you know these other requirements. Can you tell me if, if these look accessible to us like Oh wow. And so to to… give me that, sort of,

You know, certainly at least part of it was the needs of the organization right that just a lot of work to do and I had to just get in there. We just needed, it was all hands on deck situation. But at the same time there was a level of kind of trust in what I would be capable of doing. And so I think that trust was something that was very validating in fact in the very early days I mean we’re literally talking about weeks one two and three, but my accessibility career and for him to have, you know, put that faith in me that early was something that I think made a ton of difference. And I also have. I don’t know if I could pick one but where I am now I have a Thomson Reuters. We have a team of many, many accessibility specialists, and they all have their own things that they’re very good at one, her name is Kip Dirks and she is a… She’s a specialist but she’s also a, an attorney. And so she is very well versed in accessibility law, in a way that I just am not currently. And I think, knowing the sort of the regulatory aspect of it the social social and political aspect of accessibility something that’s extremely enlightening. Another man named Brooks, who is nothing short of an accessibility encyclopedia and it’s pretty amazing what this man knows how to do other people who yeah who’ve had a very outsized influence on me at Thomson Reuters along with Scott. So, yeah, there are many wonderful teachers out there.

Nandita Gupta 7:42
Amazing. And what what keeps you inspired to continue. And

Omar 7:48
I think there’s.. Well, just the fact that there’s always more work to do. In a more personal sense there’s always something more to learn. There’s, you know, we obviously know about web accessibility there’s also mobile accessibility. You know, given that we interface with using our phones and other portable devices, a lot more now. So making sure that those experiences translate to that experience that’s something that is kind of a new front for me personally, as well as, you know, different developments in ar, ar xR VR. What accessibility means those spaces. Basically wherever there’s a you know there’s a bleeding edge and technology accessibility is relevant. So just be passionate about technology in general, helps you know helps keep that going along with the with the personal aspect of that, that never really changes.

Nandita Gupta 8:49
That’s really exciting. And then, you’ve touched a little bit on your work but can you tell us a little bit more about you know what you do day to day you know how within digital accessibility in your role as an expert.

Omar 9:02
Yeah, so I could take you through a week or period of two weeks. For those who are familiar with agile. The word that the product being developed on is agile, agile and so what that means is we basically design it in two weeks sprints called sprints. And so every two weeks we kind of get together and say, okay, the user experience designers are going to work on these stories or stories for the people who don’t know can be essentially, in a sense, requirements. Something that this product needs to do. Sometimes those requirements are very technical very specific, other times it’s more like, you know, the customer is going to want to be able to do this that or the other. And so the UX designers get to work, figuring out what that for us. So working with the UX designers I circle back with them, formally I’ve circled back with them at least once or twice a week. We go through some designs together, and I take a look at the wireframes wireframes being sort of the blueprints the visual blueprints for what the, what it’s going to look like. And I basically go in and take a look at it from an accessibility lens, thinking through the interactions and say you know what maybe this. You know this interaction doesn’t make a lot of sense, or maybe we need an error message here something goes wrong, or ask, just ask them questions right I don’t always have the answer but I do have questions, say, and you know, the event of in the event of an error. What’s going to happen is there going to be an error message, are we going to close about what kind of like what do we, what are we thinking through everything in the experience. So, always been accessibility lens sometimes I step a little bit outside of accessibility just in terms of I value, good user experience, very much. And so I will step outside the, what might be considered the existence, to make sure that the design as a whole, makes sense, because I really do think that accessibility. Thinking of accessibility as something to be put in a box or compartmentalize it doesn’t it doesn’t work. So, I’m not very shy about stepping outside of what might be explicitly considered accessibility if I think the product as a whole. But yeah, so look at those. We, we do that formally with one or two stories but we have a list of stories and I take a look at every single one before it goes out to the developers to actually build out. So, that’s kind of what I do every, every couple of weeks there. Yeah, a lot of other activities going on too, that I could get into but I think in the interest of time, I’ll probably stick with that one.

Nandita Gupta 11:44
Now, thank you for sharing and what experiences have been the most beneficial to you as an accessibility specialist as you’ve been, you know, for gaining experience, and accessibility?

Omar 11:54
Sure. I think the most valuable experiences have actually been the more difficult ones. The reality is in accessibility… Accessibility is to me like 90% advocacy, the technical skills are something that can be relatively easily taught advocacy is not i think it’s it’s more of a mindset. Because the reality is that we are still biased towards the DOD disabled experience. And so what that means is that designs will be, you know, people will come up with designs that have all sorts of assumptions based on what a person would be able to do or the boat that they’re going to interact with this thing. And so because of that. You have to challenge people on that very often. And that means going against pretty established design trends or practices, things that work for accessibility. And so, depending on who you’re working with, that can be a very difficult conversation to have. So I think the most valuable experiences have been the ones where I’ve had to have those difficult conversations or work with people who see accessibility as more of a roadblock. Then, and something that’s going on so learning how to navigate that I think is one of the most valuable things that any accessibility specialist could have more valuable than memorizing a list of requirements bit more valuable than, then, you know, learning about Aria which is a kind of a. It’s markup to that kind of specific to assistive technologies. I won’t get too technical, here, but because the idea is that it’s the non technical stuff that that can be the most important. So I think that’s those difficult experiences and the most valuable.

Nandita Gupta 13:58
I really relate to the accuracy so I loved how you brought that up because I sometimes found that it’s easier for me to advocate for someone else that it is for me. I’d even like to be you know identifying this person with a disability, it’s hard sometimes it’s harder for me to advocate for myself than if I was advocating for someone else so that is. That is so true. And during the course of your journey and tech. How have you request to support for your professional development in accessibility knowledge meant jumped right in and you know you’ve had to deal with different experiences.

Omar 14:35
Yeah, this one. It’s interesting because I, I could be to a fault.. I can be kind of a lone wolf sometimes. I will try to find out information on my own before I bother somebody else. And that’s just kind of a personal. It’s a. I just I feel a little uncomfortable. Kind of asking something or somebody else is just it’s difficult for me. I feel like I’m bothering, somehow, but if I do have to. It’s usually thankfully it hasn’t been hard because the accessibility people that I’ve worked with have by and large been very willing to share their time and their knowledge. So, in that sense, it’s, it’s very easy for me to request support because, By and large, I’ve always had it. It hasn’t been the case everywhere I’ve been. But certainly right now I think there’s a supportive team that I work with, right now so it’s not, it’s not too hard to reach out to somebody on, we’re on Microsoft Teams recording this on Microsoft Teams, I can pull up a chat and talk with somebody, if I need to really easily and so that makes all the difference.

Nandita Gupta 16:06
Okay, that makes sense. And do you want to help Korea with accessibility what was something that you learn that surprised you.

Omar 16:18
Ah, something that I learned that surprised me. Or at the very least, it changed the way I looked at accessibility and disabilities is the concept of a temporary disability. So take for instance, a really common example would be a broken limb, you know you break your arm or you break your leg and for the time that you’re healing, and you’re in a cast, you don’t have full use of them. And so, that is a temporary disability. But there is also, it’s is like a no and I would have to find an image with this and you might have seen it I’ll share it. But, you know, a parent, a parent who’s swaddling a child in one arm you know that’s a very situational thing but it is a disability nonetheless while you’re swatting the child because you don’t have use of that arm and so just changing this. This idea of disability as something that is almost like a defining characteristic of somebody versus something that a person lives with for one reason or another and lives with it for various amounts of time. And it kind of opens up, it opens up your mind to the idea that disability can and will affect all of us in one way or another at some point in our lives whether we realize it or not. So that was something that I think was a, you know, it really challenged the way that I thought up to that point.

Nandita Gupta 17:56
And that made me think of my next question actually was. What’s the difference between for you. What’s the difference between inclusive design and accessibility.

Omar 18:06
Yeah, that’s an interesting, interesting, interesting question. I think. [takes a breath] Inclusive Design is really more of a mindset. This idea that you’re going to do what you can to not just incorporate various ideas and perspectives but incorporate people with various ideas and perspectives and experiences include them in the design process. Right, so you’re not just inclusive design, can’t happen in a genuine way. If the design process is not inclusive as well. And I think accessibility… accessibility is is similar, but I think it’s a little bit more. It’s a little bit more in the execution, or the kind of the output of that process. I think accessibility is kind of like, okay, in order to be accessible we need to we need to make sure not that we need to do XYZ we may need to make sure that XYZ happens. There’s no i don’t think accessibility is there are instances where it is, but it’s not always so prescriptive. And I think it lives a little bit. In my view, and it’s a difficult question it’s difficult to separate the two there they do, you know, intermingle quite a bit. But I do think inclusive design is the process by which we end up with accessible experiences, that’s, I think that’s the best way I can answer that. Yeah,

Nandita Gupta 19:46
okay,make sense. And I know you’ve talked about your team right how you all work together. How do you pay support for accessibility in your organization you know how do you you touched on advocacy and I’d love to hear your more about how do you advocate for accessing

Omar 20:07
Introducing.. kinda try to make it come alive for people. An example that I gave.. so this is when I was at at Western Governors University. At the time I think we had about 100,000 or so students enrolled at any one time or something, I don’t remember the exact figure but I figured out the percentage of people in the United States, the data was a few years old but nonetheless estimates for how many people live with colorblindness in the United States. For example, and so I you know I extrapolated that. And I applied it to our student population. Granted, it was obviously going to be a very rough estimate, but the way I made it come alive in one of our kind of department wide meetings was that potentially. The, the number of students that we serve today, who live it who are colorblind is about would be about equal to the student population at Notre Dame University, the entire university. Given that, Yeah, and given that, you know, it really worked because it’s it’s, you know, it is. It is a University of their student focused and we know what other schools are out there we have a sense of these things. And so imagine that in very real terms for for this audience to make it very real for them in that sense, you know it’s something that they’re like, like, wow, and even when I, when I figured it I was like, wow. The way I build support for accessibility is doing things like that finding ways to make it personal for people because I think it’s, it is personal for everybody, they just don’t realize it yet. They don’t …we.. as a society, we haven’t placed enough of an emphasis on, you know just how much this this really does affect and and touch it. It touches everybody’s lives. So it’s just making that that effect very real and very tangible very conscious for people is something that I that’s, that’s something that that’s how I try to build support.

Nandita Gupta 22:25
make it push and definitely going to go do you on that. things we’ve talked about your, you know for you. What’s your proudest accomplishment and accessibility.

Omar 22:39
Oh wow.

Nandita Gupta 22:42
I’m sure you’ve had many. [laugher] So this is something that actually came up. Extremely recently within the past couple of days but the way that I, the way I just described my day to day, or my week to week where I am an embedded accessibility specialist in this design process. That was very new. At my workplace. I was the first one to be a part of a project that did it that way. And so as soon as I came in I felt this kind of pressure to just to make sure that this was a success because accessibility up to that point had kind of maybe lived at the end of the design process. It’s too late to make a lot of changes and things like that so to be embedded in the process from the very beginning, and proving that that that not only can work but is the most effective way to work is something that I’m, I am extremely proud of. And I’m proud of the designers that have gotten away with because they’ve taken accessibility very seriously the entire time. So I think, to this point you know to to to sort of be what I hope you know what I hope will end up being kind of being the standard bearers for this, so that other teams. Throughout throughout our, you know, our part of the organization will will take a look at the way we do things and encourage them to do it our way, and include accessibility specialists. Really embed them. I think that’s something that I am very proud that we’ve been able to do.

Omar 22:46
So this is something that actually came up. Extremely recently within the past couple of days but the way that I, the way I just described my day to day, or my week to week where I am an embedded accessibility specialist in this design process. That was very new. At my workplace. I was the first one to be a part of a project that did it that way. And so as soon as I came in I felt this kind of pressure to just to make sure that this was a success because accessibility up to that point had kind of maybe lived at the end of the design process. It’s too late to make a lot of changes and things like that so to be embedded in the process from the very beginning, and proving that that that not only can work but is the most effective way to work is something that I’m, I am extremely proud of. And I’m proud of the designers that have gotten away with because they’ve taken accessibility very seriously the entire time. So I think, to this point you know to to to sort of be what I hope you know what I hope will end up being kind of being the standard bearers for this, so that other teams. Throughout throughout our, you know, our part of the organization will will take a look at the way we do things and encourage them to do it our way, and include accessibility specialists. Really embed them. I think that’s something that I am very proud that we’ve been able to do.

Nandita Gupta 24:25
And I hope, I hope they do.. that sound, that sounds amazing. In terms of, you know, we’ve all had a set of challenges right within this field. What was the most frustrating thing, you faced in your career within accessibility.

Omar 24:40
Yeah. umm.. I think this is this is definitely not unique to accessibility but ego can be a problem. I have had to navigate… I would say that they care about accessibility.. would say that, you know, Omar you have, you know, this kind of free rein to to really kind of tell us what needs to be done, but to you know to be told that at then, in practice have people go over the top of you to have people, you know, essentially prove that they were just giving lip service to it, [makes tsk noise] while also trying to.

I don’t know if they … Almost as if they’ve you know people who feel threatened when somebody knows something that they don’t, and try to kind of, you know, you’re not I mean, I am certainly. That is absolutely not something unique to accessibility I know that, but nonetheless it can be a problem within accessibility to dealing with people who absolutely have to be the smartest person at all times. In other words that they don’t care about solving the problem, they care more about being the person that solves the problem. And so that’s a great way to kind of shut people down. I encourage other people around them to get disengaged. And that’s kind of a kind of a nightmare scenario, especially for accessibility which like I said earlier is so dependent on on the incorporation of a variety of perspectives and opinions. I think the most successful teams, most successful accessibility groups are the ones where open dialogue and even disagreement are accepted and encouraged, and that’s where you know you can feel safe to disagree and no it’s not personal at all at service of something, you know, kind of bigger than ourselves more important than any one of ourselves, so that’s that’s the biggest challenge, dealing with. Come, you know, workplace cultures that don’t encourage that.

Nandita Gupta 27:08
So have you ever been into a bad. That sounds, that sounds crazy.

Omar 27:14
Honestly, to kind of bite you have bite your tongue sometimes a lot your bottom lip and you realize that there are certain things that you won’t be able to change about the culture around you. And so, you know, my job is to sit down and do the best I can. And the people that I know are counting on me to do this job well, and controlling what I can assume that it doesn’t take away all the frustration, not by a longshot, but it does help say you know what, all I can do is control what I can control.

Nandita Gupta 27:51
Until I can control I can affect yep yep yep yeah I know you mentioned that you know teams have different cultures right and so how is it different, working because it sounds like you’re working for actual dedicated accessibility team but you have other people who you know care about equally as you do, how is it different about, you know, working for an accessibility team versus, you know, other teams where you work with which may have

Omar 28:17
I think it can affect things in ways that you might not expect… It is. Overall, I think it’s a bit positive to be within a larger accessibility team precisely because of what I said about the diverse perspectives and opinions and things. When you’re an accessibility specialist all by yourself… the only perspective. ummm I guess this depends on how you approach it but the only, sort of, like, you are the, the ultimate source of accessibility knowledge. And so, kind of, by default, it’s going to be your own perspective your own opinion, which it can help to have a singular voice but you’re also not getting the diverse set of opinions that you might need to do that better. That said, with a larger accessibility team. Other people might or not accessibility specialists who are coming to us for opinions. There is also a chance that a, you know, selective hearing can happen kind of like, I’m going to go to the accessibility specialist that I know is going to give me what I want to hear, or something like that or it’s more likely, what I want to hear. Yeah, that kind of thing. It happens, it doesn’t happen terribly often but it you know it can happen. And so, it’s you know it’s uh you know nothing is perfect, no situation is perfect. It’s just something to watch out for. Right, so, but nonetheless I would still you know i i prefer, at least, good size accessibility team versus be one person or two people and try to do too much.

Nandita Gupta 30:14
That makes sense. That makes sense. And, you know, working within this field. This is a question that I’ve always I always like to ask people, because it’s something I’m curious about, you know, how do you change people’s hearts and minds about accessibility

Omar 30:31
How do you change people hearts and minds… Yeah. You know, going back to making it personal for them somehow it… If you can sell me something that makes a big difference is really having a live kind of live demonstration like this is what it means to use an assistive technology, like, you know, especially with a product that they already know, rather than giving them a YouTube video about something random to actually come in and have like a live demonstration like say like, Look, this is what we’re doing wrong. This is why, you know, these. This is why this is such. This is kind of the impact that this has on this person who relies on this method to interact with our stuff, and they can’t do it. So, so this is why it’s important that we get this right, because.. if you know people might not realize just how impactful it is like, you know, basically, I think in a lot of people’s minds. Accessibility is kind of this abstract idea like they have this abstract idea that okay like yeah a person with disabilities, like they know that the person with a disability is going to go to, you know, interface with a mobile phone, or, or a computer, a little differently, they know that much, but it’s kind of this abstract idea that they can’t quite wrap their heads around until you really make sure that it’s it’s a it’s a kind of like there’s something there’s a real memory attached to it, there’s something tangible for them to look to like okay like that’s what that means that this is why I have to get rid of that abstract that layer of abstraction.

Nandita Gupta 32:28
So how can you make it more about people and less about standards and compliance.

Omar 32:33
Similar thing. Umm. It’s easier for me because that’s just kind of wired .. wired to think about the person first which is why I like accessibility in the first place because it’s not, you know, so, you know, black and white, I guess, in terms of making that, you know, truthfully, there are people who will be able to make it. You know alive for them to make them care about it that way. Truthfully, there are other people who are just a lot more metrics driven. They just are they, that’s, that’s their interest, that’s, you know, and realistically there’s only going to be so you’re only going to be able to,

people are like, kind of like rubber bands almost like they’re like yeah you can stretch about for a little while but there is a limit. And so some people just have a limit and so it becomes a matter of appealing to them. Sometimes you will have to make it one metric based it’s one of the more uncomfortable parts. For me personally because I have such a hard. uhhh.. I guess kind of a repulsion to that kind of thing. I don’t like the idea of people being reduced to numbers and metrics, but it is a part of the job that you will have to do this once in a while. ummm So, just kind of.. finding the way it’s slightly less slightly less about making it, or, you know, for them and more about understanding what just given the context like maybe, you know, okay I need buy in from this person because this feature needs to be totally changed something like that.

Well, this person that I need to appeal to is more metrics based and so you know in order for me to do kind of the greater good. I’m going to have to appeal to them in the way they need to be appealed to so kind of you know influence this person in the way that they can be influenced. And so it’s kind of like tailoring the message and understanding that not everyone is going to.

Omar 34:53
Not everyone is going to just do it because it’s the right thing to do, that everyone’s just thought it was going to have that that’s just kind of unfortunately the reality and so that’s where it’s our job to kind of take ownership of the end result that we want, and making sure that happens. Yeah,

Nandita Gupta 35:15
That makes sense. That makes sense. Yeah, appeal to them in the way that’s gonna make them…Yeah. So, I, you know, as I’m learning more and more about this field, you, you, you, hear from different experts [used hands to gesture quotes] and you know people who work in the field and I feel, to me it’s a little ambiguous and I’m, you know I’m curious to hear your thoughts and what does an expert in accessibility mean to you.

Omar 35:41
I think an expert is someone who [thinks] lives in some domain, whether that is technology or law or human rights, politics, what have you. Someone who has a skill set, but keeps accessibility close to their heart and makes that the motivation for what they do and shares that knowledge and shares the work that they do. I think that’s what makes an accessibility experts, has to be an application of whatever it is that you know to to world of accessibility and a willingness to share that knowledge and, you know, that because not everybody does you know little folks or more, and it doesn’t you don’t, I guess it’s not even a hard requirement like you could be an accessibility expert, without being like the super present kind of broadcasting everything kind of a person, I don’t mean to make it sound like that. But I think at the end of the day you have to have this knowledge and be willing to, at the very least, do something meaningful with it. And I think sharing is a big part of that. That’s how you just kind of keep everybody aware if, whether it’s kind of a new, a new pattern for doing something or other, you know, technologically right. Or if you’re a lawyer, and you know you’re, you’re analyzing different cases and, and, you know, providing commentary on these current events that were will have an impact on accessibility and what that means if a decision goes one way or the other. So those are the people that I look to as experts, I don’t know if I’m, I don’t know if maybe I’m describing accessibility almost accessibility influencers more than experts

Nandita Gupta 37:49
I mean an influencer to me could be an expert to you

Omar 37:52
Right, maybe an influencer is a subset of an expert right. I think it’s the expert, you know, someone who always approves someone who’s always improving kind of pushing themselves a bit advancing to accessibility space some way. You know, I think, you know, you can’t sit and be complacent and and just be satisfied, doing an accessibility job and collecting a paycheck, you know, uh, you know, I think you have to have to really want to push advance advance accessibility in some way, as well.

Nandita Gupta 38:32
That makes sense. That makes sense. And so for others you know who are thinking about being involved and, you know, plunging into this world. What advice would you give to someone, or people who are thinking about you know getting involved in digital accessibility?

Omar 38:48
Sorry, could you repeat that one more time?

Nandita Gupta 38:51
Oh yeah, what advice would you give to others who are thinking about getting involved in digital accessibility?

Omar 38:57
Don’t be afraid to, 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, people around you who are looking to you as an accessibility specialist of some kind. They’re, they’re certainly going to want to know, hey, you know, I’m a designer, we’re trying to do this, we know we need to make it accessible what, tell us like what does that mean what do we need to do. A lot of these things do take time to take. And I think that taking the pressure off of yourself to deliver it Lee, and instead focusing on delivery.

Omar 39:32
I mean what do we need to do.

A lot of these things take time to think through. And I think that taking the pressure off of yourself to deliver immediately, and instead focusing on deliver delivering quality. I think giving yourself the room to do that is going to help you a lot. It’s going to help take away some of this sort of imposter syndrome type stuff that we all feel it doesn’t make or break. Everybody feels in some way, shape, or form. And so, giving yourself a little space to kind of say you know what, like, I don’t know this off the top of my head give him, give me a little bit and, and I’ll, I’ll get back to you with something. And that, that gives you the space to not only go and do the job right but it gives you the space to go and learn something and you know put that in your put something new in your toolbox that you can reference quickly for the next time, keep that you know keep that humility because there’s, there’s going to be times where things will not work out right every single time.

That’s just the reality, and umm especially if you’re part of a bigger organization, you know, you’re not a, you’re not gonna win every single time either. Sometimes you know something’s got to get pushed through that you really have no control over, because you don’t have the power to say really push a big red button and say nope, we got to stop it, but you don’t always have that power, you could you could say things really forcefully and say, like, you know, make it really undeniable like hey, if you’re going to do that, understand that this is what the impact is going to be for people. But sometimes you have to understand that it’s not going to be a winner. Every single time. And you have to be okay with that. Because you have to get up again. You know it’s not it’s not like you have to tackle the next thing, and try to get that one right it’s it’s, there’s always going to be something challenging. So, the more comfortable you get with almost like it’s pretty sure this applies elsewhere. It’s just bigger than this like just be okay. Like, I don’t I don’t want to necessarily say be okay with failure, more like, don’t let failure. Just stop you, like don’t don’t let failure help you in your tracks and don’t let failure keep you from getting up again. Because it’s it’s, you know, roll on to the next thing and you try to influence the best that you can. Want to like, you know, it’s just, it’s all part of it. And I think especially as you’re getting started, you’re going to be in a position where you probably won’t. Realistically, you probably won’t be able to just tell somebody like no, you can’t do this right away. It’s just part of it you’re still learning from one plus the the you know the entry level or whatever position that you’re entering into is, you know, there will be a level of influence associated with that. So, you know, just learning how to, you know, don’t get. Don’t get so frustrated that you just stopped in your tracks, as all I can say.

Nandita Gupta 42:56
I love that, I love that and on the same part, I’d like to leave people with, you know, the one thing. So what is one thing you could tell someone you know like someone like an accessibility specialists that they could go do today, right, you can go through today and you can achieve accessibility in the short term, you know their day to day work. For example, you know it could be something as simple as hey remember to put our text on your social media right so someone using a screen to navigate can do that. It could be something as simple as that. But what is that one thing that someone can go do today?

Omar 43:27
Hmmm.. Interesting. [thinks] So I guess this is a big, this will skew a bit younger, but something that really easy that everybody can do that not everybody realizes important. They’re called camel case hashtags, so camel case hashtags, or camel cases just making sure that the first letter is capitalized, and every word. What that does is it helps a screen reader. You know, because, because if, you know, it’s just strings of text right it’s a string but it’s basically a one word string that hashtag. And so by putting the capitals in there, a screen reader will actually be able to read out the hash tag properly because it knows like okay this is a startup. This is a startup or this is a start of a word. And so as we write out our hash tags you know… whatever I can. I’m awful, of thinking of hashtags but you know any multi word hashtag. Just capitalize the capitalize the first letter, and it helps people with, you know, with learning disabilities. You know who would otherwise have to pay attention and makes you know really work to understand what the hashtag is.

Nandita Gupta 44:41
Makes it more easy.

Omar 44:43
Yeah, yeah, such an easy thing to do. I don’t know why we don’t do it already, but there you go. So I think that’s something that, that it’s very simple thing that everyone can keep in mind and do to make things a bit more.

Nandita Gupta 44:59
I love that! Thank you.

The End.

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