Notes from #A11yScotland

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

My notes from #A11yScotland

The way we do design excludes too many people: if you want a service that people need and have to use to be accessible then give everyone the chance to be a part of designing it.

When people have a problem it's already a stressful situation (a temporary cognitive impairment) so service journeys need to be easy to navigate and provide reassurance.

We're facing problems that as a society we're not equipped to deal with. How do we collectively come together and solve these problems? We don't all experience and think about things the same way.

Spend at least as much time thinking about the problem as you spend on thinking about the solution.

The design methods prevalent in our industry [stock photo of designers pointing at postit notes on a white board] provide numerous barriers that exclude people from participating: we need more accessible ways of working to promote inclusion.

If everyone is using different tools and methods how do we share best practices? What's the minimum set we need?

Accessibility isn't a binary choice: make tomorrow more accessible than today.

AI has huge potential to improve accessibility with things like speech and image recognition but it's hugely vulnerable to amplifying the biases in the data it is given by humans so that data needs to be inclusive and diverse.

Privacy and convenience is a nuanced and fluid trade off that changes with context.

Different users requirements for their accessibility needs not only vary significantly but they can also conflict - provide options and customisations to allow users to become designers of their own solutions.

Ask people what products, services and websites they find easy to access to find out what you can incorporate from that into what you're working on.

People don't want to understand the other side of a situation, they want the other side to understand them.

Empathy is shallow, exhausting and unsustainable. Compassion is deep, energising and nourishing. We are all fellow travellers.

Feelings aren't facts.

We need to get to the point where we're not telling people to do this, it should be a part of our profession: it's literally our job to make things accessible.

If someone is in a hole then jumping in with them means you're now also in the hole, it's better to help them out of the hole.

When you are dealing with users it's more ethical and responsible to ask for permission than to beg for forgiveness.

Ensuring privacy is hard because surveillance capitalists deliberately make it hard because it's the keystone of their business model so don't blame the victim. We are professionally responsible for respecting our users' privacy in what we make.

The technology we use is our new everyday things, some of it is required to participate in civic life. People need to be able to access it on their own terms.

When the technology people use is their lifeline then denying people access is not just an ethical issue, it's a human rights issue.

Economically disadvantaged populations are disproportionally exploited by lack of access.

As an individual you can't be diverse but you can ensure others can take what you produce and can build on it themselves.

Marginalised people shouldn't have to advocate for themselves: if you can, speak up and act on behalf of others - silence is complicity.

We don't have time in our lives to question whether every decision is best for our privacy so when you do have the time make mindful decisions and over time they will build into habits. #A11yScotland


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