2021 in review

Published 2021-12-28 category: personal

Well, guess what, we’re nearing the end of the year! In this post I’ll share what I was up to this year, as well as some things I learned along the way.

As usual, my year wasn’t all highlights… like in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017, the lowlights are intentionally left out of this public post. Ok, let’s go!



Throughout the year, for W3C/WAI, I was involved in the launch of the redesigned WCAG-EM Report Tool, worked on a unified layout for the W3C’s accessibility guidance (like Techniques, Understanding and the ARIA Authoring Practices Guide) and did some work around accessibility of authoring tools in higher education, Epub and XR.

This year also was my last at the W3C/WAI. I won’t get into too much detail, but I can say I struggled with the leadership style and decision making process. I had wanted to drive more change from within. I had also wanted to do more to make accessibility more accessible, but the standards game seems easier to play for folks who have been in it longer. When my contract neared the end I decided not to extend. I am grateful for the opportunity though, and was able to learn a lot about standards, web accessibility and the web, and contribute to a wide range of interesting projects.

Besides my W3C work, I also did over 25 WCAG conformance audits, mostly for governments, and a couple of in-house workshops, including two for the teams building the Dutch national citizen’s authentication system (DigiD).

I also worked with Eleven Ways on an advisory project for the European Commission and a project on virtual event accessibility. Lastly, I just started a short stint with Mozilla, to help with some accessibility aspects of the upcoming MDN redesign.

In February, I will start a new job 🎉, which I am super stoked about. Like my role at the W3C, it focuses on outreach to developers and will let me continue to work on making it easier for developers to build things. I am excited, because it is at a product company that works on solving a very real and interesting problem, and it is very authoring tool related.


This year included one in person event and I was so happy the covid-shaped stars aligned this time for me. I had recently had my vaccin, the European winter wave had not yet exploded and 2G applied.

The other talks I did were all remote:

You can like and subscribe this stuff on YouTube should you wish to.

I also joined the Gebruiker Centraal (“User Centered”) podcast of the Dutch government (WCAG What?) and Ben Meyer’s Some Antics livestream (Audit Site for Accessibility).


I read 54 books this year. I created a website for this as I love judging books by their covers, now you can too on books.hiddedevries.nl. This is updated manually—if you want real time updates, add me on Goodreads.

Below are some books I particularly liked. They have in common that they are set in parts of the world I have travelled to and would have liked to return to if it wasn’t for the pandemic.


I didn’t write a lot, but have not stopped posting either—this is the 20th post of this year. Things I wrote about included:


I stayed within the borders of The Netherlands for another year, with one exception: a short train ride across the Netherlands-Germany border for the first Beyond Tellerrand in 2 years.

Things I learned

Towards the end of the year I try to think about what I learned. A lot of this year’s was quite specific to myself, but these are some random learnings that might interest others:

Anyway, thanks so much for reading my blog this year and sharing posts with others. It means a lot to me. I wish you the best for 2022!

Comments, likes & shares (26)

Chen Zhixiang, Bramus, Alaa Ahmad, Hidde Eertman, Olu (they/them), Eric Bailey, Thomas Steiner, Erik-Sjoerd Nauta, Melanie Richards, Vayia M, Bernard Nijenhuis, knut, Silvestar Bistrović 🤘, Johan Ronsse, Chris Aldrich, CSS {IRL}, Daniel, Steve Lee, Marcus Herrmann and Eric Eggert liked this

Rian Rietveld and Baldur Bjarnason reposted this

Bernard Nijenhuis wrote on 28 December 2021:
You forgot to mention your "Could browsers fix more accessibility problems automatically" talk at Tech A11y Summit :)
Hidde wrote on 28 December 2021:
ok let me fix! 😩
Steve Lee wrote on 29 December 2021:
How do you find time to read books? 54 is probably thr number of pages I managed :)
Hidde wrote on 29 December 2021:
I am a little addicted, I think 😱