Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Conversation with Robert Jolly

Accessibility rules podcast

I spoke with Robert Jolly, a senior accessibility strategist with Knowbility for the A11y Rules Podcast. Robert had some really interesting things to say. Here are a few snippets.

You can listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview (or read the transcripts) for more.

Project managers and the cause of accessibility

I wish project managers could take up the cause of accessibility worldwide and that be one of the core things that they do besides task mastering. Which project managers do very well, but I think they could also do very well at championing and leading accessibility within their teams and therefore the industry as a whole. I’m not saying they’re the only people who can do that, but I think they’re uniquely well-positioned for that. Because the project manager sees every aspect of the design and development process through a product or a project, right? They touch it all, through all the phases.

Accessibility as a non-separate thing

We have to treat accessibility like other requirements that are now baked into projects. So just like we’re treating responsive or mobile development. That used to be something that was an additional thing, when it first came out. And now it’s pretty much a given for most projects. At least for the web. Web applications and websites, responsive is almost a given. In very few cases do you find someone doing separate work. And they usually have a good reason for doing a separate desktop and mobile experience. But accessibility is treated as a separate thing, even though it can be a very core requirement for many organizations. So we have the comparing it to responsive or even security, or performance. These are things that are non-negotiable now with projects, that the people work on or products that they’re working on. So accessibility, if we can treat it as one of those core elements, those core aspects that needs to be something that the team is well-versed in and aware of, then people will seek out the training. They’ll seek out good solutions to problems, and they’ll come up with really creative examples to show other people. And that’s really where I see us making that happen.

Accessibility costs too much

I was asking Robert what he would say to someone telling him that they can’t do accessibility because it costs too much. Robert didn’t mince words.

You’re wrong and it would cost a lot more to address litigation and eventually fixes that you’d have to make if you ignore accessibility.