So today 3rd December is International People with Disability Day. A day overlooked by many, though a day which aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
Visit this website for more information: http://www.idpwd.com.au/
On this day, while it is not a day that I specifically have marked in my calendar, my various social channels have alerted me over the course of today and I found myself reflecting on some of the fantastic projects I have been part of over the many years where my work has had a direct impact on the lives of people living with a disability.
One project I specifically remember is for a Federal Government Online Annual Report, which won an Award for Innovation in the field of Accessibility in 2002. We are so spoilt today with creating rich content online experiences, which can be used by many. Though cast your mind back to then we are working with not only IE, we have Netscape Navigator 4 in the mix. This browser did my head in, not only was the brief to be accessible, we were pushing the boundaries with CSS positioning. Until we tested in NN4 and found out that to make use of relative/absolute we had to do inline styles. WHAT!!!!, anyways we pushed through and the end result was a fully keyboard accessible website, with dynamic text sizing and 3 alternate colour schemes. All achieved client-side and supporting NN4.
One team member who was instrumental in achieving this result was a visually impaired man, who I’m sure I annoyed through out the dev process. Though I would often spend hours sitting with him, trialling out new techniques constantly asking “Can you access this content?, what is going on here? how can I make this better?”
So for me on this day I will be reflecting on the last point “How can I make this better?”