When working with people, especially on accessibility things, I try my best to: be empathetic; make it simple; be positive.
I try to keep these three things as the base layer of the (accessibility) work I do. What empathy, simplicity, and positivity mean depend on the situation and the context, and using a bit of intuition. Below are a few sketches of what they mean to me.
Applying them to the work
Also known as “bring it back to the human”. When there’s an accessibility issue, I try and bring it back to the human being that this creates a barrier for. Less “the colour contrast doesn’t meet the WCAG ratios” are more “some people won’t be able to see this clearly.” Less “screen readers don’t announce these options” and more “some people won’t be able to use this part”.
Also known as the First Rule of ARIA Use: use HTML instead of ARIA if you can. Simpler versions of things tend to be easier to implement. They tend to be easier to implement with HTML instead of ARIA. That means they tend to be more widely supported. Simpler things also tend to be more widely understood.
Also known as “bring me solutions, not problems”. Accessibility audits have the express purpose of looking for irregularities, oddities, and problems. It’s more useful to focus on how to fix things, though. Bringing a positive, constructive, approach is more useful and effective.
Applying them to the interactions with colleagues
Also known as “We’re very busy.” Everyone has competing and conflicting priorities in their work. Everyone has a rich and complex life outside of work that might also be bringing them stress. Treat everyone with as much kindness as you can.
Also known as “What’s the quickest way to fix this?”. Remembering that everyone’s busy, helping them find a quick way to fix any issues is good for them and for the end users. Simpler fixes tend to be quicker to implement.
Also known as “No-one likes being told off.” Framing accessibility fixes as things that will remove barriers, and improve the experience for more users, is more useful than framing them as mistakes and problem to be solved.