Reminders to My Aging Brain

I recently attended the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference, where I chose to attend as many sessions about accessible design, as I could manage.

I am also working through the excellent May 2017 eLearning Guild Accessible Learning Summit content archived on their Web site. (available to Plus Package Members--great value!) 

As I do this work, I am reminded that I already know so many things. I have just have blown past them, in my haste to be done when time was short. And, work discussions were often shutdown by leaders and coworkers with words like, “if they had a disability, the wouldn’t be able to get a job here”.

So, I will start again. I am not there yet. A few thoughts today...

  • I have a LOT to learn how to do better. However, most of this really is “Captain Obvious”, which removes many of the “But, but, but…” discussions at work.

  • There is more to consider and plan for than the more than obvious sight (legally blind), mobility issues requiring the use of assistive device(s), and hearing deficits (deaf).

  • We work with and design for people whose first language isn’t US English.

  • People we work with may have a form of learning disability that affects their ability to read—even though their verbal acuity doesn’t make that obvious. Learning disabilities are more common than we consider.

  • Color blindness matters. The research exists and is quite clear.

  • When I include links to reading or other references, I can do this better. I can make them real words instead of taking the lazy way out. I used to do this. Why did I stop?

  • Some may not be able to type well. Or have issues using a computer mouse or track pad. (duh)

  • There is the possibility for having four generations in your workplace. Meaning, some workers will be in the age group that brings with it the need to wear bifocals. Some of them might also be experiencing some form of physical limitations and hearing loss.

  • People often don’t self-report their need for an accommodation of one form or another. Or they don’t know that they need this and are entitled to them to assist them in their work. Quick story: Several years ago, I had a non weight bearing cast and crutches for far too many weeks and didn’t know that I could get an accessible tag from our organization’s security office to park in the marked spaces. I thought I had to go to the DMV to get one and it wasn’t worth the hassle. Just having this at work was a HUGE help

  • Closed Captioning (CC) and audio and/or text transcription are used for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with a visual or hearing deficit.

  • While attending the 2017 Distance Learning and Teaching Conference I remembered the many sessions I attended on demystifying WC3 compliance, “back in the day”. Today, the Global Standards for testing Web pages (yes, down to the page) and guidance is provided by the WCAG. Note: I also noted that we were having the same conversations in 2017 that we were having in 2001-2004. Why? We need to just bust through the barriers and do this!

  • Doing this well, and EVERY time, is the right thing to do. I need to learn more to be better at doing it.

Watch this space and LEARN along with me. Please?