Accessibility is just good design
After a few years' absence, Accessibility Scotland made a welcome return to Edinburgh's International Conference Center.
The list of topics and speakers was impressive and a full day of learning and networking was the order of business.
Leading for Accessibility
My background in web development had me fooled that I knew enough about accessibility, I was so wrong and glad to be learning about the breadth and depth of what accessibility means outside of Alt text and colour contrast.
Our day started with an excellent overview of what it takes to lead an accessibility team at the national level. Beverly Newing from the Department of Justice took us through experiences of running a team and their priorities. One interesting tip was not allowing your bad day to become someone else's - something I'll definitely keep with me.
Beyond Accessibility Regulations
Next was Craig Abbot (Senior Product Designer at Elastic, the former Head of Accessibility at the Department for Work and Pensions, and the creator of the DWP Accessibility Manual). Craig raced through international accessibility laws and standards. Complex as the regs are their intent is simple:
- We must not deliberately (or accidentally) exclude anybody.
- We must actively work to be as inclusive as possible.
- We must provide an equal level of service to everybody.
A lot of Craig's presentation focussed on areas of accessibility where standards help to include people who are Neurodivergent.
Being non-typical is actually pretty typical - Craig Abbot
Examples of conditions helped by accessibility criteria:
- Low or no background audio - Autism
- Interruptions - ADHD
- Location - Anxiety
- Reading level - Dyslexia
There was so much to take from Craig’s presentation you should explore at your own pace. I would highly recommend reading, so much useful and actionable information.
Hopefully that whetted your appetite, the afternoon included three presentations: