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Reflection – Fall Term 2019

An Introduction to Accessibility and DH

My first term as the Accessibility Intern for the Digital Scholarship program was filled with an abundance of opportunities to learn about my two main areas of focus for the term: an introduction to accessible design and digital humanities. Prior to this term, I did not have a clear understanding of what digital humanities was at its core. Throughout our orientation period and while working on my primary project for the term, I began to understand what digital humanities is as a discipline and how to approach a digital humanities project.

This term I was introduced to the idea of accessible design and dove into understanding what it means to make content accessible to everyone. I started by learning why we should make content accessible, and learned that accessible design often benefits all users and even content creators. I next began to look into what goes into making content accessible by looking at some of the design standards that have been published, but I ultimately concluded that it is often unclear where we draw the line between what is up to par and what is not when it comes to accessible design. This led me to my primary project for the term, auditing a webpage that is part of a digital humanities project within the Spanish department. This task included utilizing the WAVE accessibility tool to analyze different pages of the website and flag certain aspects that were not up to accessibility standards. Another learning opportunity I had this term was getting an introduction to the programming languages HTML and CSS. I completed introductory courses in both online and hope to build on these skills and put them to use in my work implementing accessibility fixes next term.

Shown above is a screengrab of WAVE in action on the website I worked on auditing this term.

UXPA Conference: “Designing for the Future We Want”

One of the highlights of my first term in the DSI program was attending the UXPA Conference held in Minneapolis mid-November. The conference was a great way for me to gain exposure to the world of user experience design and learn about the field from some real professionals. The topics discussed at the conference ranged from distractions created by technology to the importance of self-care in the technology industry. Among the talks at the event was one all about accessible design that gave me great insight as to the nature, direction, and need for accessible design in industry. The speaker provided some great resources including additional tools that I plan to look into for implementing accessible design as well as books which outline best accessible design practices.

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