Hello W3C!

In June, I will start working at the W3C as a Web Front-end Accessibility Specialist in the WAI team. This also means I’m leaving Mozilla and the City of The Hague, where I currently contract. Goodbye is never easy, but I’m very excited for this next challenge.

With 1¾ years, my freelance contract at Mozilla is my longest since I started contracting. Being a contractor is never forever, but I’m still sad to leave. I learn a lot and feel I am able to contribute a lot, too. I like this balance. It is great to work with Mozilla’s Open Innovation team, and specifically the IAM Project. I feel at home. It is difficult, too, at times, as our team is distributed across the globe in an ever-changing organisation (some of that is fun, too).

The majority of my time in the last year was spent on a project codenamed DinoPark, where people can browse other people’s profiles and edit their own. This is currently in Staff-only beta. Technically it is a Vue-based front-end which talks to back-ends using GraphQL. It is even more exciting from a human perspective. It fits Mozilla’s Manifesto in many ways, for example in privacy (how it lets users control who can see their data), security (designed with security at the core) and accessibility (we tackled accessibility challenges early in the process). I like and very much align with the Mozilla stance in the web, which is well captured in the manifesto… this makes me want to continue my relationship with Mozilla as a contributor. I’m still figuring out where that could be (there’s some ideas).

I will also leave the City of The Hague, where I rewrote the existing front-end code into a component-based system, exposed as a pattern library. I also worked on the accessibility throughout this system and the web pages it powers. Working for the government is something I had wanted for a long time, because governments have lots of IT problems, and solving them right can provide incredible value to people’s lives.

I will certainly miss working with both of these teams.

But really, the web is not accessible enough, and I feel like I’ve developed a passion for helping people get it right. At work, but also through talks and workshops. I’m delighted that I’ll get to spend more time on accessibility work.

In the last 10 years, I was often the “accessibility person” on the team. In my role at W3C, I am excited to become a person who is part of an “accessibility team”. I’ll be a Web Front-end Accessibility Specialist, working on WAI-Guide, that’s mostly what I know and can share right now. I’m equally nervous and excited for what awaits me.

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