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What culture will you build?

2 minutes read

Every day, we make a choice for what sort of community and culture we build. We make that choice through our actions and through our words. It's not possible to decide not to participate. Even a decision to not take part in this process is in itself an action that builds a culture - the wrong kind of culture.

So all we can do is decide what sort of impact we're going to make and what kind of culture our actions will build. Will it be one of acceptance, inclusion and respect or will it be one of fear, exclusion and ignorance?

Building a culture of accessibility isn’t about ticking off boxes or complying with regulations; it’s about embracing inclusion as a core value within your organisation.

So who builds it?

Everyone does. From the C-level all the way down to the interns.

When leaders champion accessibility initiatives, it sends a clear message that it’s not just another item on the checklist but a priority. They allocate resources that ensure that accessibility is integrated into every aspect of the organisation’s operations.

Product teams incorporate accessibility best practices into the core of the product, whether it’s using semantic HTML, providing alternative text for images, or testing with assistive technologies.

The catch is, it can't be done siloed. Cross-team collaboration is key. Accessibility isn’t the sole responsibility of one department. Designers need to work closely with developers to ensure that the visual and technical aspects align with accessibility standards. Content writers should collaborate with designers to ensure that content is presented in a way that’s accessible to all users. And testers need to communicate effectively with both designers and developers to identify and address accessibility issues.

To all this, education is critical. Not everyone will be familiar with accessibility guidelines and techniques, so providing training and resources is essential.

Building a culture of accessibility is about recognizing the diverse needs of users and striving to create experiences that are inclusive for everyone. It requires a collective effort, a commitment to education, and a mindset of empathy and inclusion.

Often, you will be tempted to say "they" are in charge of the culture. "They" build it. "They" lead and "you" follow. But building a culture is the one thing where you are not a follower. We are all leading and building it.

So we better make it a good one.

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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