Erik Gustafsson // December 18 2018

Advent calendar – 2018 Memory Lane – 18: Small but compassionate accessibility changes

Erik Gustafsson

Accessibility lead

Accessibility, just like sustainability, is a very current trend in digital world. Much like sustainablity, it should not be considered a trend, but something we should have always thought about. So, many companies are still in baby steps when it comes to accessibility, but it’s always great to see positive changes, even small ones. Here is one memory from this year, a little highlight of the year for an accessibility professional.

Accessibility moment that really stands out this year, is when I witnessed first-hand that even organisations solely dedicated to accessibility are in some aspects not accessible themselves.

Me and my Team Kraftwerk colleague David Holmlund went to Galway, Ireland in October 2018 to visit somewhat unknown territory. A conference all about accessibility from a researchers perspective: Assets18.

In the hallway all researchers had one day with a poster-booth to present their studies. A big-ass A1 poster with almost a books worth of text and if lucky some images to lighten it up. A lot of information going on – not really accessible for anyone.

But one guy, Arthur Theil Cabreira, he had something that stood out. He had developed an interactive poster with touch controls that read out the different paragraphs of text.

Two persons testing accessible poster reading out sound when touching
Arthur showcasing his Accessible poster for David

I brought this up at the Assets business meeting waving my hand:

– Hi, my name is Erik, I am practitioner from Digitalist here. To be frank, your posters are really boring with information overload and they are not accessible at all.

You could feel that no one really said that out loud before, *a bit tense air in the room*, so I continued.

– You have an awesome example from Arthur of accessible posters. Learn from him!

At the closing session they presented the plans for the future. Accessible posters will be one of their focus areas.

Accessibility is not all about doing everything right at once – it is having the compassion of doing something better every day.

Here are some good examples how to contribute back to the community.