I went to my first Nonprofit Tech Conference this year! As a heads-down coder day-to-day, it was refreshing – if somewhat exhausting – to spend time talking to new people working on so many cool projects. I was seriously impressed.
My favorite moments were hosting a conversation about digital inclusion at the “Birds of a Feather” lunch, and the “Dine Around,” an event in which people signed up for dinners around New Orleans – both of which involved eating and talking with a table full of complete strangers! Who knew that could be fun?
Advomatic hosted a booth this year and so we spent most of our time talking to nonprofit folks about how easy (or hard) it would be for people with disabilities to access their websites. We gave quick site reviews, rating them on accessibility, with scores ranging from low 30s to one perfect 100 (for a disability rights organzation’s website, of course!)
We also had a monitor set up where people could use a simulator called Funkify to experience what their site might look like for users with various impairments (color blindness, dyslexia, even ADHD).
The issue of accessibility, which has been such a large focus for us at Advomatic, became much more humanized for me when I went to the Accessibility is a Social Justice Issue session and we broke out into small groups.
One member of the group talked about his recent onset of vision loss due to diabetes. He talked about using a gigantic monitor at his office, and also holding up a large magnifying glass to his screen. Another member of a group, a developer with dyslexia, would pop open the web inspector and adjust font sizes or contrast if a site was too hard to read. I went back to our booth and hung my head a bit, realizing that it was not completely reachable for someone in a wheelchair.
I was reminded that accessibility is wide-ranging, complex and very personal. Since I have been back at work, I have been trying to experience the websites I’m working on in new and different ways, and thinking about how we can help our clients do the same.