Wow, the year only has 8 days left 😱! Time for a review, with some useless stats and links to things I worked on.
Like last year, I’ve divided this into highlights and things I learned.
In the first half year of 2019, I continued my project at Mozilla’s Open Innovation team, building their People directory, and worked in the City of The Hague on accessibility and the internal design system.
In July I started a new project: at the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), I am now working as part of the European Commission-funded WAI-Guide project. My work there is focused on improving the accessibility of/in tools that create web content, like CMSes. In short: we want more accessibility both for content editors (a good editing experience) and for end users (good output).
Apart from my work at the W3C, I’ve been doing the occasional WCAG audit and accessibility/CSS workshop in my own capacity too.
Last year I spoke at my first conference. This year I got the opportunity to do new (and some older) talks in various places, of which some were as part of my project at the W3C/WAI.
In March, I did a talk called It’s the markup that matters at De Voorhoede. It was part of their Future Proof Components event, and covered building accessible components, accessibility trees and the AOM.
At WordCamp Rotterdam and Inclusive Design Ghent, I shared 6 ways to make your site more accessible, based on my experience looking at common accessibility problems that front-end developers can do something about.
In October, I presented a very short lightning talk at the Web We Want session at View Source Conference, about how some accessibility problems could cease to exist if browsers would automatically fix them. The problems: zoomability, readability, color contrast and focus indication (the first three are each solved in at least one browser, the fourth has not). This talk, shockingly, won both the jury and audience award.
Also in October was a talk called Breaking barriers with your CMS at the Fronteers Jam Session (on behalf of W3C/WAI). This presented some of my recent work at WAI: it explained ATAG and the role of the CMS in accessibility efforts.
At the Design in Government Conference in November, I talked about the case for web accessibility from philosophical ethics, again on behalf of W3C/WAI, and I did an updated version of my graphic design on the web talk in Dutch for Freshheads in Tilburg.
Then in December, I joined dotCSS to talk about the history of CSS: On the origin of cascades put some of that in a Darwin-themed talk. The venue was enormous and intimidating, and there was transport strikes, but the event itself was excellent, with a great atmosphere and very well organised.
I also did a number of in-house talks and workshops, about CSS Layout, ARIA and accessibility guidelines.
I read much more than last year (72 books so far), and have written more about books on this blog (see reading list about equality and reading list about tech and society). Reading more books helped me read less social media, watch less video and generally relax more. Please become my friend on Goodreads (it’s not great, but if more people join we can all share recommendations)!
- Audiobooks are great as you can read them in situations where holding a book doesn’t work (e.g. walking a dog, housework)
- To read more, finding the right books is half of the work (I mean, not literally… but it is important). I found more people to follow on Goodreads, keep a close eye on the literary supplements in the papers and love posts like 2018: books in review by Karolina Szczur.
- Dutch libraries have ebooks and audiobooks that can be ‘borrowed’ via apps.
This year I wrote 24 posts (including this one), which means I have now over 100 posts in total on this blog.
Some posts that people found interesting:
- On the importance of testing with content blockers
- Component frameworks and web standards on my first experience using a front-end framework
- Naming things to improve accessibility on the importance of accessible names in things like buttons, links and tables
- Baking accessibility into components: how frameworks help: frameworks can get a bad name in the accessibility world, but I increasingly think when used by accessibility-aware developers, they can make things better, not worse
- Meaning without markup: Accessibility Object Model: a primer on the Accessibility Object Model, a technology that is still under development and potentially interesting for a variety of reasons
I also contributed to the Mozilla Hacks blog, writing Indicating focus to improve accessibility and How accessibility trees inform assistive tech. Thanks to Havi Hoffman for the opportunity!
This year I traveled to Antwerp, Berlin, Bristol, Essen, Ghent, Nice, Paris, Taipei and Vienna, using trains where possible, but I need to do better at that.
Things I learned
Here’s some random things that I learned about in the past year:
- As I started my project at the W3C, I learned a lot the standards process, the dynamics in Working Groups and the bots that help run teleconferences.
- A large part of my work centered around authoring tools, or tools that create web content, and how they can help bring more accessibility in the world.
- I became increasingly aware of the role of surveillance capitalism in the world.
- I learned to love AirTable as a way to organise and plan the non-coding parts of my work, which are becoming a larger part of the whole
In any case, I’d like to thank the readers of this blog for reading and sharing the posts I’ve published, it means the world to me.
I wish you all a great 2020!
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