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My ADHD and me


"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." I was 35 when the Psychiatrist confirmed it.

I felt conflicted. I'd spent years in counselling trying to figure out the inside of my own head. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of who I was. Now, I doubted if I knew myself at all.

I knew I had quirks. Looking at them now, some of them are textbook ADHD traits. But I also struggle a lot with Impostor Syndrome, Anxiety and Depression. This obviously made my ADHD difficult to diagnose because a lot of the traits can also be attributed to these comorbid conditions.

Because of this, ADHD was not something I'd ever really considered. It was actually my partner, Eliza, who first suggested that's what it could be.

I guess, like most of society, I had a preconceived idea of what ADHD looked like; and it wasn't particularly positive.

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Accessibility and font sizes


It's now 2022, and I'm still seeing far too many websites using static pixel sizes for fonts. Even big hitters like Facebook do this.

Stop it!

Using the wrong units of measurement in your Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be a barrier for many visually impaired users.

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Rising disability statistics


The number of people in the UK living with a disability is rising.

It's currently accepted that in the UK it is around 1 in 5 people, or 20%. And, from 2012 to 2019, there has been a further 3% increase in the 'official statistics'.

The number of children reported to have a disability has risen 2%, from 6% to 8%

The number of working age adults reported to have a disability has risen 3%, from 16% to 19%.

The number of adults over State Pension age reported to have a disability has risen 1%, from 45% to 46%.

Those are the facts. Based on 2011/2012 GOV.UK Disability Facts and Figures and 2019/2020 GOV.UK Family Resources Survey. The rest of this post is mainly my thoughts, and definitely up for debate!

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Combining axe-core and PA11Y


My initial thoughts were to decouple PA11Y from it's headless browser, and run it as part of the Selenium tests, rather than booting up 2 separate browser instances which would add seconds onto each test they could just both hit the same page when it was open.

However, on closer inspection, it turns out that using both is actually far simpler than I anticipated. PA11Y has the ability to use different 'runners' or plugins. So, using axe-core and PA11Y together is as simple as passing in the runners in as an option.

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Axe-core vs PA11Y


We use axe-core by Deque regularly as part of acceptance tests.

With GitLab now offering PA11Y as part of the Continuous Integration (CI) Pipeline with zero config, I wanted to understand how it stacked up against axe-core. Can you drop axe-core for PA11Y? Can you drop PA11Y for axe-core? Should you use both?

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5 arguments against accessibility and why they are wrong


In my role, I deal with many different teams and organisations. I also get involved in a bunch of other things on the side, just because accessibility is so misunderstood. One thing which has become quite apparent is that there are some common misconceptions regardless of which team, department or arms-length body you talk to.

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Defining a strategy for accessibility


I remember in school we learned about the fire-triangle. Fuel, Oxygen and heat are required to make a fire burn. If you remove any of those things from the equation, the fire will use up what it has left and eventually burn out.

We can think of accessibility in a large organisation in the same way. There are 3 core parts. Compliance, education, and culture. If you lack any of these 3 things over a sustained period of time, the strategy is unsustainable and your ability to consistently deliver accessible services will burn out.

A venn diagram with 3 overlapping circles. The 3 circles are labelled: compliance, culture and education.

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Designing the impossible makes it possible


As an interaction designer, I hear a sentence at least once on every project I work on. "We can't do that because [insert mediocre excuse here]."

A lot of the time this is because of technology restrictions. We can't integrate with legacy systems. Or, we can, but the legacy system wants the information in a ridiculous format. So we have to change the design to ask for a mandatory middle name, where people have to write "none" in the box to progress. Urgh.

It's easy to make a snap decision, bow to peer pressure and change the design. After all, we don't want to waste our time designing something that's not possible.

Only, that's exactly what we should do.

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What is it like to use a screen reader on an inaccessible website?


Screen readers are amazing things. But they can be difficult learn and use. When we see with our eyes, we see in 3 dimensions. We can look up, down, left and right, and we can look a things close to us or in the distance. Almost all websites are 2 dimensional. You can position content top to bottom and left to right. A screen reader really can only view a website in 1 dimension. It's features are linear. It removes all of the visual positioning, lines all of the content up, then it navigates through it from start to finish.

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