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.
Alex K 0:00
Sure. My name is Alex Korchinski. I’ve been working on accessibility for the last five years or so, Umm I’m currently the Director of accessibility at Nike, and I just completed my first week.
Nandita Gupta 0:12
That is awesome! Very exciting, congratulations on the new role. So if you have to describe accessibility in just three words, what would they be?
Alex K 0:25
[thinks] I’ll give you one.. access.
Nandita Gupta 0:30
Access. Okay. Just curious why.. why does that come to mind?
Alex K 0:34
Access comes to mind because accessibility fundamentally means you’re making your product to be accessed by more people you’re opening up your product to more groups of people, you’re opening your product to be more inclusive. And in a way, you’re opening your product to be accessed by people, you know, by everyone including people with disabilities. So access is fun. I don’t I don’t have the word accessibility.
Nandita Gupta 0:59
That makes sense that makes sense. And, you know, just thinking about accessibility, like you said, it’s, you know, fundamental from providing access. What makes you care about accessibility.. like why do you care about accessibility?
Alex K 1:12
Oh man. Can I tell you my story?
Nandita Gupta 1:15
Yes, yes jump right in!
Alex K 1:18
So I was, I don’t have a background in accessibility. I was a product manager working on growth at a company called Script. Script is a E book and audiobook company like Netflix for books. And I was very happy in my world of AV tests and revenue generation, all this other stuff, and left for a fishing trip with my dad and my brother, when I got back, there was an email from our co founder, saying that we’d been sued by the National Federation for the blind and it looked like we were going to lose a lawsuit. And we needed someone on the product side, take us to the settlement, and the actual implementation. And he said, I trust Alex to do it. So I didn’t know anything about accessibility like I’m gonna be honest with you. I’m not proud of my initial reaction.
My initial reaction was…this isn’t fair. We’re a tiny company. This is what I was hired to do. I don’t know anything about accessibility and umm.. But like I like, I knew the company needed me, and I like the challenge of learning something new. Within a week, I had to get on a phone call with 12 lawyers and me to speak to the effort it would take to make the script accessible. We settled, and then the just the lawsuit was that we have three years to develop a reading product for the blind, essentially, something that was fully with the WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. And umm as that project went on… I was still doing both jobs and I found that I cared more about accessibility and I did about growth, there are a lot of reasons for that. One was that ironically, frankly, when I started the project I said this is unfair, like for me, and then I realized how unfair, it was for everyone else that we had this large library of books, it just couldn’t be accessed. If you had a disability like if you are if you’re not sighted or you have low vision or going disability. I felt like that was really unfair. I thought the challenge was really interesting. It’s like a fundamental different, its like a shift in how you think about developing products, making usable designs. Reading good code, creating more robust test plans that really just made your product stronger and more usable by more people. I loved the behavioral aspect of it, where like, it required not just a change in your product but a change in your process, us, it required a change in how people thought about who they were making products for. And I realized that like this was something that I just lucked into that I actually developed a lot of experience with, and other than the tech guy that develops products for other white dudes that are like me. And I wanted to like I wanted my work to have a broader impact. And I just found it was such a deep challenge and empathy to think about how someone else who might not have use of their sight or sound or touch would use a web product is fascinating to me. And so it’s something I dedicated my career to.
Nandita Gupta 4:27
That’s so wonderful and so during this phase .. or even before. Did you have.. was there maybe one moment where this was like your aha moment with accessibility?
Alex K 4:40
Yeah so hold on because there’s a garbage truck. [mutes mic]
Okay, cool. umm. So there were a couple. What do you mean, what do you mean by ah ha moment, because I can answer that a couple ways.
Nandita Gupta 5:00
Umm however you interpret it, it could be like the first time that it made you think about accessibility or it could be, however you would interpret that that Oh wait, this is really interesting I didn’t see this happening before.
Alex K 5:13
So, I’ll give you two moments. umm. The first one was we just got, we just we were just getting started. So I mentioned that lawsuit came across my desk, what I did was I sat in a room with lead engineers on iOS on Android. And on the web class. And we turned on a screen reader, and we used the tab key and the enter key. I started writing down notes, as they were telling me the different things that were wrong with the product. And I realized, one how big it was like that. This is not just meeting a certain set of criteria, it’s like, it was so.. it was so big it was the biggest product and ever, like it was so much a wrap my head around. And that was the first aha moment was that it’s going to require a fundamental shift in how we’re thinking about building technology products that it’s not just like slapping on an automated test and then getting some color contrast and going from there. That was one aha moment. Okay, cool.
This second one was near the end of the completion of the product and or at the project we we did user testing for the first time, and I was. We did user testing with people with disabilities. So, I think it was two people who were, I think it was three people who were non sighted and two people who use a screen magnifier. And I was terrified because we’ve been working on for like two or three years. And although like we use screen meters and technologies, it was the first time I had worked with someone who had a disability who was using our product. So I remember designing this test plan for them to use your test and we had to pick a book. And so I picked. I picked the alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which is a book I read when I was a kid, I loved it. And I haven’t go to a specific page, and then find a quote, and highlight the quote. And umm I remember watching this woman who I think. I think she lost her eyesight around the age of 20, she was maybe in her 40s or 50s. And to see her use a screen meter, find the book, open the book and start to read the book, which like years went into this, like, this was not a couple weeks worth of work, it was like yearswent into this.
Nandita Gupta 7:58
Alex K 7:58
And I find that quote, and highlight it. And then she said, like I love this I would love to sign up for the service. I was,it was. I’ve been lucky to have a really cool career, that was one of the top three highlights in my entire career. So those are my two aha moments.
Nandita Gupta 8:17
As a UX researcher, I feel like as you were telling the story, I felt like I was bear with you, and I was jumping enjoy when she could finally use it.
Alex K 8:28
It was so cool.
Nandita Gupta 8:28
That’s amazing. And so during your career, you know, you’ve talked about these different amazing moments. Is there someone that comes to mind who has had an influence on your accessibility professional career? What lessons did this person teach you?
Alex K 8:43
Oh my god so many. I mean, we’re talking about this before the call, but it’s umm it’s such a welcoming community. It’s people are so happy to share the knowledge. I have to mention, I could mention the 20 different people. I’m going to at least mention one, and his name is Eugene. And when I started when I started working on this script. I have a really good understanding of like the program level the product level how to wrap your head around scope how to get teams to work together, but like I didn’t know the first thing about giving recommendations for engineering. Like, I could tell them that a header should be a header that you shouldn’t mark things up as a div or a span, that you should use a color contrast that needs contrast. I could not give them specific feedback in Aria. So I told I told the VP of engineering like we need to hire a subject matter expert, we need to hire someone who knows. And so I interviewed a bunch of people, and I gave them a test, I gave them like the script header. And I told him to tell me every problem that was wrong with him. Every accessibility problem was wrong, and some of them did okay and then Eugene came in the room, and you Eugene is one of the nicest people I’ve met one of the most collaborative. One of the most empathetic and just like brilliant with accessibility. So, to watch him walk through the problem with me, that was a moment, and I knew we had to hire him. And we did, and view it and Eugene was …his depth of knowledge was so fast like so… We were like the perfect yin and yang compliment because I could see the problem from a whole level, and could like win trust with their ship with the CEO and VP of engineering, and usually won the trust of the engineers and designers, and like, like, he, he changed the program for the better. And one of the coolest parts about it was that he would say that I was the most influential person. Like, he would say that we couldn’t he kept saying we could have done this have value like am I, I have to be like Eugene like can you not see that you are the program? like this is you this is your work that you’re doing. So, people loved working with them he still has scripts. I was super proud of the work that he did. And it was. It was the first time I’d ever worked with someone that accessibilities base, and it could not be more positive like his Depth of Knowledge his empathy. His collaboration his willingness to work with design and then go work with engineering and work with QA right after a number pm. It was, it was amazing. So Eugene is the guy.
Nandita Gupta 11:36
Yes, Eugene sounds amazing. It sounds like that was, I mean, just you describing that I feel a lot even a lot from that description itself. Um, and in terms of, I guess what keeps you inspired you know you’ve talked about these really amazing moments, which really I feel like I’m standing right there with you experiencing them. But what really keeps you going in accessibility?
Alex K 12:00
I think how far there is to go. I think, um, you know, there are there are some there are companies like Google and Apple that are like really on the forefront of accessibility. And then there’s a few other ones that are kind of up there as well. So, um, let’s say, I mean, LinkedIn, Microsoft, try that. I mean, I’d include some companies I work with in that category so workdays script. And this kind of everyone else. And to know. It’s like it’s such a cliche but like how far we’ve come and how far there still is to go. That’s one reason I joined Nike, is that Nike has such a deep passion for inclusivity like it’s so central to their company. And it’s reflected in the technology they build and the products they have like they have a shoe, called flyease that they developed specifically for people with motor disabilities. And then to also know that that same company, still has a long way to go on the digital accessibility side and that is something that I can help but it’s like perfect like this perfect marriage of a knee, that I have expertise on that I can help keep driving forward.
Nandita Gupta 13:17
Yes, like, that’s a match made in heaven right there! [laugher] So can you tell us a little bit more about your work I know you’ve mentioned that you you know just recently started but what’s the plan you know what’s the plan? How are you going to really create that impact through your own? as much as you can share.
Alex K 13:36
It’s my fifth day at Nike. So, I can tell you what I think the plan is. I’ll tell you how I’ve approached my first week and how I’m thinking of approaching the first month, and then we can talk about the first year and hypotheticals. First, the first week I’ve been meeting as many people as possible. Nike has 10s of thousands of employees. The testability team, at least on the digital side is new. It’s for people, including, and to senior engineers, and it’s the digital side I want to say it is at least 3000 people. So, it’s pretty easy to do the math that’s says like full or people cannot be responsible for the work of 3000. So what I’ve been trying to do is meet as many people as possible. I’ve been asking them a lot of questions but I’ve always been asking them to what’s working with accessibility, what’s not working. And then what would you do if you were me, And from that, like I’m trying to gather I’m trying to think about how this organization thinks about accessibility like how do they develop user personas do they give feedback on accessible designs. Is there a certain set of code standards we’re trying to hit? When they do test plans, how do they go about doing that, how do we think about priorities of all the thousands of things that could work for gone. Where does accessibility fit in that? Why do they want to do, like why do they care about it? What’s the legal risk? What’s the upside for revenue? There’s all these questions like I’m trying to form a picture in my head of how this organization works currently. So that’s one side of it the other side of it is I have a team of people. I’m trying to figure out like what are those people’s superpowers like what are they really good at, and how do I get them doing that work as opposed to me trying to force some directive on them? You can start anywhere with accessibility, like it touches so many things that I want to make sure for the paddling in the right direction.
Where do we go as a program in a year. I will say that there’s kind of two ways to think about how you get stuff done for digital accessibility. There’s, how do you make sure new features that go out the door, are developed excessively from the start. And how do you think about all these other things over here, that might not be on someone else’s roadmap, but present blockers for someone with a disability. How does that work get done? How does that work get prioritized? And then at some point like how do you actually know that you succeeded, like what are you going to do user testing? Are you going to check off every week add criteria? Look at your backlog? So that’s roughly where I see that going. Again, it’s my first week. So it’s a lot to learn.
Nandita Gupta 16:35
That sounds exciting, um, good luck on that journey! And so, as your, I guess this is this could be from your previous experiences too but I’m curious to learn more about you, how can how do you build support for accessibility in your organization you know what are some ways in which you know you can share from your personal experiences or some things you’ve seen but how can one advocate for accessibility you know on their team?
Alex K 17:01
You gotta make the program they’re gonna need you. That’s where you start. um, I can’t be everywhere at once. Like, it’s been, especially with COVID, and remote. I am I window is my laptop, like it is. Whoever I’m in a conversation. And it’s such a narrow vague way to view the organization that we have to win advocates, and I think it starts, it’s every conversation I’m in, I recognize that someone who has a potential to be a champion for accessibility, it’s understanding their motivations, like why does they do the work that they do. What’s their scope of work why do they care about accessibility, like, Is someone telling them, you need to do this. Do they … are they thinking about they’re like they need to make their product more robust? And they like thankfully with Nike like the support is so massive for accessibility, like it’s so central to company DNA, like it has this .. Nike has this mission statement it’s like you have a body you’re an athlete. And that’s, that’s how they think about their, their customers and their consumers and the people that use their products that if you have a body you should be allowed to use, you should be a Nike academic You are a Nike athlete. And so it’s so central to their mission it’s something everyone cares about. And then like strategically How do you win advocates, start at the top, like the top top, not like not like some VP like it like the leadership level, they need to care about accessibility. And then you also start at the bottom. So you start like with. It doesn’t sound glamorous but like what are all the bugs that we currently have for accessibility products. And if that goes that only goes up a level, then the pm is going to say the product manager and the engineering manager is going to be like, we have too much else to work on we’d love to do this, but later. It’s gonna go down 15 layers before that hits the bottom of the organization. And so, like, it’s this approach where you’re building trust from the top down, and from the bottom up. At the same time, and when you start to net out somewhere in the middle. So that’s how I’m thinking about winning advocates. You do training, you do education. I literally pulled out my phone, just like at what to like an hour ago. And like turn VoiceOver on my phone and ran the product manager in the engineering manager through their product, and they just said like don’t like this is going to be painful like they actually like went like this. And so I’m just saying like really get the magic in education. So that’s how I think about what he advocates.
Nandita Gupta 19:48
Absolutely, Thank you for sharing that. And, you know, as you’ve grown in your career. I know we’ve chatted before when you were working at workday and now you are starting at Nike, what experiences have been most beneficial for you, you know for gaining experience within accessibility?
Alex K 20:06
There are so many, I think, a moment. ummm.. There’s a couple people, I think it’s one thing to talk about accessibility in the abstract as another to have my coworker who is blind, say, I can’t read my tax form. Like, those are two very different things to follow WCAG, and then to see the actual impact on someone. So, I think a lot about those moments. The moment with a woman who was reading the alchemist on script. That was a really positive moment. And then there’s a moment where someone who’s non sighted comes across a product and instead of saying what the button. Is it just says. Like button….button.. what if one of those buttons cancels your benefit,? No way of knowing. Those were, those were the moments that were inspiring to me. I think really kind of getting to know the accessibility community better and to get to know some of our workers that had disabilities and try to you know I can’t, I can only can only have like I’m never gonna have a full understanding, like, I can blindfold myself and go through an app that’s not the same experience, like that’s not that’s not equivalent at all like I can take the blindfold. And I think really trying to understand the issues they have, how things look when they work well how things look when they don’t work well, that’s been instrumental understanding of accessibility.
Nandita Gupta 21:48
And so, if you have to share your proudest moment in your career and accessibility does something come to mind?
Alex K 21:58
Getting a job at Nike. That was a realization of everything I have been working towards. I mean I share I shared with you, I already share with you the story of the user test like that to me was that on a personal level that that’s that’s the top. But when I got this role. You know, that’s a director of accessibility role and a really important company. And, Like I’ll tell you, I don’t have director experience. Like, I don’t even have management experience, like I it’s I’m punching so far above my weight that like, it’s, it’s such an exciting opportunity, but to know that the way I got there was based on my depth of experience that I’ve had before. And how and the vision of where I could see this program going and how I could help, and how I could like help build a team in how I could help scale that team. It was like it was a full room realization of everything I’ve been working towards. And already the first weeks been easy. And I thought I was gonna have like this, like, a few weeks, like orientation. Right. When you’re in school you have orientation you’re given the syllabus, [laughter] you can have a couple of lectures I get the basics like, no, that’s not at all how it’s been it’s been like, day three Alex like what do you think we should do?
Nandita Gupta 23:28
[laughter] jump right in.
Alex K 23:30
It’s really right in. And so to know that I have experienced something that’s important to Nike and that I can help a lot. So I’m just super excited for the road to come.
Nandita Gupta 23:42
That’s amazing. And so, I’m just curious about the team, so is the whole team an accessibility team? Have you worked with other teams that were not dedicated accessibility teams? What’s different you know about working in a dedicated accessibility team versus hey I might be the only person doing accessibility on this overall, you know UX team or some other kind of team.
Alex K 24:05
Yeah, so, I’ve done both. so… Let me let me think. So accessibility, as, as its nature is super horizontal, which means it moves throughout the entire organization moves designers, the product managers the engineers QA, all the way up to the leadership level, and you kind of need a centralized unit. That’s going to help enable all these teams develop products and tests, and you can’t be everywhere at once. So it’s this balance of like teaching people how to fish. And then like, I’m going to extend the metaphor, way beyond what’s necessary, like teaching people how to fish, and then going like offshore and like super rocky water numbers, and like having like a steel, iron rod and like catching tomorrow. So you’re doing two things like you’re teaching people on their shores like, how do they reel stuff in and then you’re figuring out the hard problems that no one else is equipped to face and solving them.
So, I’ve done both. I think when a team is just starting to think about accessibility there’s a lot of fear. There’s, there’s it’s interesting, there’s two things there’s fear, and there’s like this, this hope, like there’s this hope that we can do the right thing. Almost resistant and the fear comes from this lack of knowledge, and it comes from like almost like wanting to bury your head in the sand and not know how bad the problem is, because once you turn over voice over the first time and you hear this product that you thought you knew so well. Fail is a really hard moment for teams. And so just to guide them through that process to understand that it’s normal we haven’t been thinking about this that’s okay, I’m gonna help you get there. That’s, that’s what I’ve noticed works well with teams, so in summation accessibility is usually organized as a central team that works across the organization. You also are sometimes embedded in particular teams, just to help them with their new features. And so it’s, it goes both wide, and it goes deep.
Nandita Gupta 26:22
So it sounds like it might be different for different organizations like, depending on where and how its structured because it seems to be structured differently in different companies.
Alex K 26:33
yeah, could be. I don’t know I know like I know how to structure their accessibility team. I do know that if your team is just the accessibility police were just telling people like no you can’t do that. It doesn’t work well.
Nandita Gupta 26:46
Don’t be the accessibility police okay.[laughter] As we are talking about, you know, I guess barriers, you’ll be bald faced a set of barriers in the sphere has. Was there ever a time. umm You know where you feel like oh my gosh this is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever faced. You know within your career in accessibility.
Alex K 27:08
Yes, there was. There were a few times. So right when we were starting out at Scripts. I’m like level headed and calm to a fault, sometimes it’s like I can be so stoic and like I’m not that at all but like I don’t give out very easily. And umm.. once we done training once we started working there was no momentum. and there was no like product managers are like, this is all great, but I have to do this thing like this thing over here I can’t, I can’t do your accessibility thing I want to, but I have to work on this thing. And I felt that happen over like one month, two months, six months, nine months, and then before I look at it like we have a list of like 492 issues in nine months we fixed like 20. We have like two years left. And so, I actually had to like, I had to strategically kind of get frustrated in front of people, like, I not that it was actually frustrate I was like a little bit frustrated, but I had to express like we’re behind guys like this is not we’re not where we want to be. And like here are the consequences of us not meeting, and the consequences in Scriptcase but like we had been sued, like most other teams get like some goodwill, but find it and like it comes from a place of wanting to do the right thing. We had been straight up sued by the National Federation for the blind, and I was in those calls, and it was intense. And I did not want to go back to those people and say like you tried to do the right thing. But came up short. Yeah. And so I had to like strategically it frustrated with some people, and like, both people below me like engineers or you know not below me but like people below my level at the company, and then people above me, like, the VP of engineering or like the CEO, like, so there were those moments where I think the lack of progress felt frustrating, and like, once we were all trained I thought that was the easy part. I thought that was the hard part like people understood accessibility putting that knowledge into motion. That was hard. It was a lot harder than I thought.
Nandita Gupta 29:30
It makes sense. And so, what do you wish every leader so like.. that you’re the director of accessibility for Nike, um, you know as you speak to other leaders and other people, you know, even if they’re leading a team. What do you wish every leader knew about accessibility? If there was one thing?
Alex K 29:49
Oh my god.
Nandita Gupta 29:51
Everything you got to know everything.
Alex K 29:54
Okay, it’s a journey, it’s not a destination. You’re gonna have some magic checkmark that says that you’re done. That it requires umm.. [thinks] It requires a restructuring of how you think about making products like kind of from the ground up. And umm it’s going to take a lot longer than you think. So this journey, not a destination it’s like this concept of having like a bug free software like it never ends. There’s always going to be bugs, there’s always going to be accessibility problems it doesn’t have. So to know that like the reward is your change in process is your change of empathy is your change in how you’re expanding your user base. The number of potential customers that you can bring in. That’s the reward gaining a checkmark to say that you are done with accessibility is not authentic. Like, that’s what I wish leaders knew.
Nandita Gupta 30:58
Yes, that is that is so true. And that’s a really beautiful way of putting it, you know, speak we’re always gonna.. technology’s always gonna change we’re gonna have to change with it, make it accessible so absolutely and trying that journey back to Nike and, again, I know you’ve just started but I’m just curious because there You said you were just four or five people and then you’ve got these thousands of other people that you have to influence and affect change. How do you scale accessibility across a large enterprise? and, You know what are your thoughts on that?
Alex K 31:32
I’m speaking at an all hands on Thursday, so that’ll be one way, [laughter] which is kind of terrifying, but also I think about where I started with accessibility and like I had a week to learn about accessibility before I got a phone call, like 12 lawyers and me. The way I was like one, and you’re giving me an extra week, and two I’m not getting sued by any of you. So, it’s gonna be, there’s there’s both like a large platform that you can go on, especially now where I can’t just go walk around the office and talk to people. And I think getting in front of those really large audiences and explaining what accessibility is and why it’s important is one way. There’s every time you have a meeting with someone is a chance to win them over to an advocate. So, umm I’m in meetings from 9am to 5pm, every day now, like every half hour chunk, and to know that if you can win over that first person and getting them to care about accessibility even they don’t fully understand it, but they can go back to their team, or they can go to their manager or they can go to their direct reports and totally just start thinking about accessibility like what you want is you want people to raise their hand and say, Great this products cool. Have you considered accessibility? To have that moment happen across the board… That’s where you need to start.
Nandita Gupta 32:58
How do you do that? so you know on the flip side, how do you change people’s minds and hearts about accessibility?
Alex K 33:09
The nice thing is you don’t usually have to change their heart, um, a lot of people’s hearts are in the right place, and I have had so little pushback among people saying that, making products accessible for people with disabilities is the wrong thing to do. Nobody said that ever in my entire life [laughter] No you can’t do this. So, the heart.. the heart is the easy part, I think. I think people don’t want to build something they care about to exclude a group of users, like nobody wants to see it in their mind is, is the harder part, and that’s to get them to understand, and then accept accessibility is not a burden.. It’s a benefit. It’s not something that’s going to be a list of bugs and a report that you need to run. It’s going to be a benefit in the way that you make design more usable for everyone, you make products more robust for lots of different user types, set another way. Nobody likes small light gray text like no one. There’s not a single person who’s like looking at a webpage and things like can you make that like smaller, and like a little bit harder to read. And it’s this it’s this ethos in this mind and set that allows you to really make a much more intelligently designed product that’s more usable by lots of people including people who don’t have disabilities. And I think that’s where the mindset starts to change is once you realize how much stronger you can become looking at things through the lens of accessibility. People buy into it, and people start to prioritize it.
Nandita Gupta 34:52
I love that and so to you. what does the future of accessibility look like, 10 years 20 years down the road? If we’re having this conversation then
Alex K 35:03
Oh my God, that’s such a good question. umm [thinks]
I think one, one thing I think about is that maybe 10 years ago, people thought about responsive design. So, how do you make designs that respond to the smaller phone. And that was like a new crazy thing that’s like, oh my god we have the smaller real estate, how do we take these gigantic web pages and put them onto a small scale. That’s not something people talk about anymore, because that’s just like design your design used to be scalable. So I hope accessibility is something like that, where it’s just like a part of doing work. It’s just like a habit that people get into. It’s sets of standards are just how you make good products. You shouldn’t have to tell someone that their placeholder text within an input field should actually be a label, because that’s an example like if I’m if I get into a field and I start typing, and that little gray text that you just said username disappears. I have a cognitive disability and you know I have short term memory loss or frankly if I’m just distracted. How do I remember what that thing is what that field is for if there’s not a label that’s permanently above it. That’s an example of an accessibility requirement that helps everyone. So I hope, like we don’t, we don’t have, we don’t have dark patterns like that across the across the internet, that those companies who are not accessible are thought of like how we think of websites built in like 1995, where you look at this and you’re just like what is this how can anyone use. I hope accessibility just becomes like a normal accepted way of how we should build products, how we should work
Nandita Gupta 36:51
And to get there. Um, so, what advice would you give to others who are thinking about, you know, becoming involved with digital accessibility?
Alex K 37:03
There’s a ton of opportunity for a lot of companies that need help. Umm. there.. umm . You can enact change on any level. Okay, I’ll give you an example, at Nike. The reason this program exists is because an intern did her end of year product or project on something completely different. And included a slide about accessibility had like four bullet points and a couple of examples, and this is like the like this is like in the appendix. And she was presenting to a senior leader about what she’d worked on that summer. And then, and that and like she got up there and she went in this person who has 20 years experience and told them about, how the product was falling short in accessibility. I mean, he said, Yes, like to his credit, he said Yes you are right, like, this is something that we need to we need to go for further. She is the reason we have a program. like I met with her on Wednesday. for things that like you are too small to make a difference is so, so wrong, that change can happen on any level it can happen from a CEO, it can happen from an editor. And just to like, raise your hand and say, what are we doing about accessibility, like how everything you can about this. That’s enough to start with.
Nandita Gupta 38:26
I love that. And so, with you thinking about that one thing right, what if someone’s watching this right what is that one thing that someone can go do today, right right away, so they can start achieving accessibility in the short term, it could be something as simple as you know when we think about posting pictures on social media, trying to add the alt text so that you know screenreader users can access that information. So is there like a one thing that you would like to tell people that hey, you can go to this today?
Alex K 38:57
Try to use an assistive technology. Try a day where you only use the keyboard, and see what you can do, see where you get blocked. Try to use products in a way that you are not used to. Don’t use your mouse per day, turn on a screen reader, like every every Mac computer has, as it has voiceover NVDA is free, I turn it on, see how it works. It’s like, it’s, it’s, I hesitate to use this word but it’s for me it’s fascinating to me like it’s, it’s so interesting to see this. I use a computer I’ve used a computer, every single day since I was nine, baby, and to know that there are ways that people access technology that’s different from me. And to get like even like a tiny little bit of empathy and to understand how that looks. And you’re never going to have a full understanding, but to like start to deepen your empathy into how people who are not like you do would use a product that is a great place to start.
Nandita Gupta 40:03
That is awesome! Well.. thank you so much for sharing that!