Accessibility / Inclusion Resources for TADHack Global 2022

Over the years we’ve had many accessibility and inclusion hacks. Last year we had an excellent hack Colloquia11y by team Similarly Geeky, comprising Lily Madar and Steven Goodwin. Its an accessible conferencing solution (using Text To Speech and Speech To Text).

For TADHack 2022 we’ve created a $1k Accessibility / Inclusion Prize that will be judged by Chris Lewis of Lewis Insight and Manisha Amin, CEO of The Centre for Inclusive Design. Chris and Manisha are also providing some resources to help hackers better understand Accessibility, and how to pitch to a blind person. The hacks must use the global sponsors.

Interview with Chris Lewis, Accessibility Challenges, Straight from the Guide Dog Owner’s Mouth

I’ve known Chris for several decades 🙂 He’s been a telecom analyst for 38 years, legally blind for 25 years, and started a focus on accessibility about 7/8 years ago.

Chris shares his real world experience of using the web as a blind person, getting to a video on a page can take 20-100 clicks. Its like accessing a web page through an IVR (Interactive Voice Response), serial access to what a sighted person accesses in parallel. He demos the challenges he faces using the latest website. I’ve got some work to do there!

Chris also shares the challenges in using his fancy coffee machine. It has several error lights, e.g. no water, no beans, grounds tray full, drip tray full. But no way to know which one is lit. So he checks all 4 possible problems each time one of them has an error. Chris provides many wonderful insights into the everyday challenges he faces.

Chris highlights the importance Alexa and Siri play in helping accessibility, for example he needed to know how to spell ‘curfew’. Another challenge is between Zoom, Teams, and many of the other conferencing platforms have different shortcuts, and one of the reasons he’s not yet used Android’s Accessibility tool TalkBack reader is its like learning yet another language, as he already uses iOS and Microsoft’s accessibility tools.

This 18 min interview is a mine of insights on accessibility challenges and ways of thinking about accessibility. More than I cover in the written section of this weblog, so check out the video. For me, the take away on designing for the edge cases, means the center is free is powerful. And when giving your pitch, focus on the story, and avoid saying, ‘as you can see on the slide’ 😉

Thank you Chris.

Resources from Manisha Amin, CEO of The Centre for Inclusive Design.

Inclusive Design takes a broader perspective, across all potential ways people are excluded. If products and services are designed with unique needs in mind, organizations have the potential to reach four times the
number of intended consumers. Here are some helpful links from The Centre for Inclusive Design that I hope gets you thinking about all the ways programmable telecoms can help people access products and services:

Thank you Manisha.