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Speed and direction

2 minutes read

Have you ever noticed that when you're driving and you feel like you're lost, you speed up? It's like, if you don't know where you're going, you'd rather get there quicker. The quicker you get to the wrong place, the faster you can start again.

How about if you slowed down, or, hear me out, even stopped to get your bearing? Would that be so bad?

You would sacrifice a bit of time to gain clarity and get to where you need to go.

And then the question is how much time can you afford to sacrifice?

We live in a culture of speed, where we need to have everything now. Fast-food, speedway, first to market, quick turnaround, short cycle time and instant gratification. Today, we have little patience for slow and inconvenient processes.

If something takes too long, the answer will probably be no. So we don't even bother asking the question. And we choose strategies and processes that prioritise speed, the ones we can quickly act on and see results. Anything else, we ignore simply because of our belief they are not fast enough.

But knowing the difference between moving quickly and knowing where we are going is critical to actually getting there.

I believe most of us have a rough idea of where we're going. The problem is we're constantly looking for shortcuts.

Maybe we don't need to adjust colour contrast for this palette. Could we code this menu without caring about keyboard navigation for now? Perhaps we can skip the manual accessibility testing just this once. Do we really need to re-check for accessibility when we deploy this hot fix? Surely we don't need to update the ACR right now. And seeking input from users with disabilities? Maybe next time, when there's more time.

And there never is enough time. There never will be. The day isn't going to suddenly grow and your backlog isn't going to get any smaller either.

When you take these shortcuts in accessibility, you will certainly release faster. But is the goal releasing something faster?

Or is it releasing better products that everyone can use?

Did you enjoy this bite-sized message?

I send out short emails like this every day to help you gain a fresh perspective on accessibility and understand it without the jargon, so you can build more robust products that everyone can use, including people with disabilities.

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