The majority of my work is support: helping and enabling others to make more accessible things. Here are some notes to self on how I try to do it.
Redirections aka “Hey, look over there!”
- If it’s one of those complicated, fuzzy, nuanced, questions, ask to have a chat (start with a 30 minute session) instead of trying to resolve it on Slack. One retroactive sign of this is when a thread gets above 10 or so messages!
- Keep pointing people to the QAC.
- Use the scorecard as a reminder to help steer support: is it a thinking problem, a developing problem, or a testing problem?
- Suggest testing with real People with Disabilities.
Enablement, not delivery aka “Please, help yourself.”
- Ask for more detail, what problem they’re trying to solve. There’s usually some extra context that’s helpful.
- Give a short answer (people are here for help), link to the docs with more detail (let people dig deeper if they want to).
- Address the specific problem and the root cause. If something seems really tricky to code, maybe the design is worth revisiting?
- Where possible, refer people to each other. Has someone else already solved this? Did we help someone else solve this? Tap them into the thread. Help from a direct peer is more likely to be useful and directly applicable.
Accessibility is Usability aka “This is for everyone.”
- Remind people that accessibility is not a binary thing: inaccessible vs 100% accessible. It’s a sliding scale.
- Frame it as a usability problem (which includes accessibility). And it impacts people with disabilities more severely.
- Help people understand it’s about getting to “as the designer intended”, not a lesser or reduced experience. Low contrast is a good example: is it still beautiful if some people can’t see it?
Empathy, Simplicity, Positivity aka “Bring it back, human.”
- Focus on the improvements and their impact, rather than the problems. Keep bringing it back to the customer human being.
- Bring some energy rather than being dry and technical.
- be empathetic; make it simple; be positive.