Friday, May 18, 2018

Accessibility experts are farmers, not manure shovelers

As an accessibility subject matter expert (SME) watching another Global Accessibility Awareness Day come and go, sometimes I feel like a manure shoveler. No matter how carefully I shovel (or test), it will always stink.

Instead, as SMEs we must remember to be farmers. With patient perseverance, we sow the seeds and nurture the cycles of life – or the lifecycles of digital products.

Actually, many analogies are apt...

  • the accessibility job most days :: the accessibility job as it should be
  • manure shoveler :: farmer
  • cop (traditionally gaining respect through fear) :: firefighter (traditionally gaining respect through protection)
  • factory worker :: global logistics consultant
  • number cruncher :: polymath
  • heart surgeon :: nutritionist

No analogy is perfect. In reality the manure will always need shoveling, the factory will need greasing, numbers will need crunching, and digital products will need auditing. The power of these analogies is to remind us that the left side is just a task we must do, while the right side is who we are.

So the next time I'm in the middle of a hard day of shoveling manure, I will remember to preserve my energy and time, and get up the next day bright and early as the nurturing farmer.

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