I will never stop striving to make content easier to read. My assumed job title of Content Accessibility Champion sums up everything I’ve been trying to do in my career.
At the moment I am, technically speaking, unemployed: I don’t have a job.
However, implicit in many people’s understanding of ‘unemployed’ is the idea of being a ‘jobseeker’, and I’m not really that either. I have a chronic health condition and I’m taking some time out – at least from long term work commitments. I’m on sabbatical, if you like.
Whilst I can’t sit and work at a computer for any meaningful length of time, I am still dabbling in bits and pieces and keeping on top of what folk are saying in the worlds of content design, UX, usability, and digital accessibility.
Mostly this means reading a lot of blogs and going to free events.
Covid has been going on for long enough that I don’t have to specify that I’m not leaving my house to go to these events. Right? It’s awesome.
Not the pandemic, of course, but the side effect of not having to go anywhere. Webinars and online meetups have been normalised, and as someone with a mobility impairment this is a huge leveller. I’d have to travel at least 45 minutes to get to the offices of these events, and that’s just not something I can do right now. I’m hugely grateful for this side effect of an otherwise dreadful situation.
Give me your job title
Yesterday, I went to a User Vision breakfast briefing to see Gerry McGovern give an eye-opening presentation on Digital Waste. Next week, I’m headed to my sofa again to see Hassell Inclusion’s Digital Accessibility Experts Live.
Both of these registrations wanted my job title, and I don’t have one.
I had to very rapidly describe my focus and what it is that I do. Give my ideal job title, I guess.
On the spur of the moment, I came up with ‘Content Accessibility Champion’, and I like it.
What is Content Accessibility?
Although I haven’t always thought of it that way, making content more accessible is what I’ve always done, from when I first started subediting and proofreading work around 15 years ago. Correcting syntax and typos isn’t about being a ‘Grammar Nazi’. It’s about making things more readable. More accessible.
From that point, over my ten years working in content design at the University of Edinburgh (which I left last month), that has continued to be my passion. Writing content that everyone can read – and training others to do the same.
The considerations involved in writing content that truly works for everyone isn’t as straightforward as it might sound. I’ll write some more blog posts focusing in on some of these specifics, but at its heart it’s about writing in a way that takes up the lowest possible cognitive load. Content that will help everyone.
As a disabled, queer woman, I’ve been excluded from enough in my life. Regardless of whether anyone’s paying me for it, I will always, always champion accessibility for everyone.
PS If you’re looking for short term, part time help in making your content more accessible, drop me a line. I’ll be on my sofa.