“Within accessibility, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Accessibility is an ongoing process, and the code should reflect this idea.” – Edgar
Software Accessibility Engineer at Visa
Years of Experience in tech: 3-5 years
Level of Expertise(Accessibility): Advanced
I am an Accessibility Engineer and Consultant. Even though my professional background is in Engineering, I have recently, in my current job, stepped into the role of consultant. Personally, accessibility is part of my life as I am happy to disclose I am a screen reader user. I am self taught in computer usage and accessibility has been in the forefront of my mind ever since downloading my first screen reader.
I firmly believe that accessibility benefits everyone, not just people with disabilities! Accessibility brings about almost unintended results in that people who don’t think certain features are needed, are actually put to use by populations at large. My proudest accomplishment in accessibility was when I made my first code commit that made a really big difference in how a product handled output for accessibility users, specifically screen reader users. I was later acknowledged by being called “instrumental to the accessibility process.” The small things can make a huge difference, and I urge you to explore the ways in which people with disabilities would experience your product!
How do you change people’s minds and hearts about accessibility?
I think generally, people are susceptible to making their products more accessible. My thinking is they are just unaware of how to go about it, or on the surface, it seems too complex to consider. The best way is to provide straightforward guidance, or a dedicated resource to train the team on accessibility.
What advice would you give others who are thinking about getting involved in digital accessibility?
My advice for people wanting to get into digital accessibility is to find a community accepting of beginners. Finding a community enables beginners to ask questions, familiarize themselves with terminology, and seek out experienced mentors. Additionally, I would advise to be prepared to make reference to a lot of online material. It is my belief anyone can be introduced to accessibility. It of course depends on motivation and intent as to how far a person is willing to explore.
What is one thing someone can go do today, to practice accessibility in their lives?
As an Accessibility Engineer, or even just a Software Engineer who cares about accessibility, an immediate way to see impact is to explore the ways in which people with disabilities would experience your product. This may involve some difficulties in adjusting, but turn off your screen and launch a screen reader, try to use an application with just a keyboard, or even trying to watch a video with your ears blocked by something.
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