On a typical morning at User Vision, I received unexpected news that would change the course of the day. My manager informed me that I would be participating in an accessibility empathy lab at a client's office and delivering a presentation during the sessions.
During my time studying at Codeclan, imposter syndrome was discussed at length, and I remember thinking during these sessions that it wouldn’t affect me. However, upon receiving the news of the empathy lab, I worried I didn’t know enough about accessibility and was uncertain of my ability to present to others.
Despite my nerves, I was fortunate to have a supportive team that assisted me in preparing for the lab. We practiced our presentations together and strategized on how to effectively present the different aspects within the empathy lab.
On the day, we demonstrated the impact of poor digital accessibility on screen reader users. For those unfamiliar with screen readers, getting hands on experience was a wake-up call to the mental strain it can cause and how poor accessibility can render a web page inaccessible. We also used Cambridge Simulation Glasses to showcase the varying visual impairments and how they impact web perception. The participants learned that accommodating visual impairments isn't just about using large text, but also to considering good contrast and responsive design to assist users who use browser zoom. Lastly, we used Cambridge simulation gloves to highlight the impact of conditions like arthritis on web interaction.
The empathy lab was a resounding success. The participants were highly engaged and enthusiastic, and my worries about not knowing enough were quickly put to rest as I discussed the importance of accessibility and the implementation of good accessibility on websites. I attribute this to the comprehensive training I received from the start of my tenure at User Vision. In addition, we were later told that those that attended the empathy lab were presenting what they learned to the rest of their team which was fantastic to hear.
Not only did I overcome my fear of public speaking, but I also came to appreciate the genuine care and concern for accessibility people have. The empathy lab also reinforced the necessity for accessibility and the realization that accessible design benefits not only disabled users, but all users.
Overall, the experience was a great success, and I felt proud to be part of such a supportive and encouraging team at User Vision. I am grateful for the opportunity to confront my imposter syndrome and for the unwavering support of my team throughout the process.
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