The week in quotes (2019W10)

Sebastian Greger

Inspired by Monday’s A11Y Berlin meetup and an ongoing inclusive design project, a lot of my reading this week was accessibility-related - but I bookmarked some other topics as well:

Derek Featherstone talks about accessible maps on Zeldman’s podcast:

Everybody wants to make their maps accessible and they don’t know necessarily how to do that. […] There’s like the map and the map controls itself, but then […] the tricky part with maps tends to be “What is the purpose of this map? What is it conveying? How do we make that part accessible?” […] So if I do a search from one place to another, I get a visual representation of that. But the text based equivalent for people that can’t see that visual is they get a list of the steps.

The Slack Design blog features a post on “Accessibility as a powerful design tool”:

When you start seeing accessibility as this magical ingredient that forces you to make things the right way, it becomes crystal clear that you need to apply it to every aspect of a product: from design to engineering, from marketing to customer support.

In “Fighting Uphill”, Eric Bailey calls for lifting digital accessibility from the niche and make it a #1 concern in the industry:

It’s really easy to say someone should do something, but it’s far more difficult to actually do it. Debating the merits of hypotheticals only takes you so far.

Selfishly, I’d love a future where it’s commonplace for interview candidates to be selected not only because of their JavaScript prowess, but also because they can offer a sound explanation of why using a button element is important.

I’m really excited to see digital accessibility get more mainstream attention, but I’m also concerned. I don’t want it to have fifteen minutes of fame. I want it to be a first class, top-of-mind consideration for everyone in the industry.

A TechCrunch article contrasts a recent statement by the Dutch privacy authorities with the ad-industry’s contradicting perspective:

Cookie walls that demand a website visitor agrees to their internet browsing being tracked for ad-targeting as the “price” of entry to the site are not compliant with European data protection law, the Dutch data protection agency clarified yesterday.

[IAB’s Matthiesen:] “The website is the property of the website owner. There are fundamental rights attached to property too,” he added. “There is nothing in the GDPR that says I must make my website’s content available to people. I am perfectly fine to determine the conditions under which I am making my property available.”

He suggested it will be up to the European Court of Justice to provide legal clarity on the issue — assuming any Dutch websites targeted by the regulator to take down their cookie walls choose to bring a legal challenge.

Doug Sillars’ text “4th Parties: Uninvited Guests to Your Site” extends the privacy and performance challenges posed by the use of 3rd party code:

I recently gave a talk on performance, and while speaking afterwards with Paul Hammant, he reminded me about how these third parties call “fourth party content” and there is nothing stopping calls to 5th party, 6th party, etc. This is important from a performance aspect – what happens if these services go down – does it affect your 3rd party? How are these external parties (that you are not affiliated with) handling sensitive information on your customers and how they are using your product?

The Guardian’s piece on microplastic pollution quotes a researcher startled by the scale of the problem:

“Microplastics are being found absolutely everywhere [but] we do not know the dangers they could be posing. It’s no use looking back in 20 years time and saying: ‘If only we’d realised just how bad it was.’ We need to be monitoring our waters now and we need to think, as a country and a world, how we can be reducing our reliance on plastic.”

A (more or less) weekly collection of inspiring, surprising or otherwise noteworthy texts, talks and podcasts. Usually around my core topics of usability, ethics, and digital society. Previous issues in the archive.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

My monthly email newsletter has all of the above, and there are of course also an RSS feed and Twitter.