Back, I Am: What’s changed?
Honestly, a lot. Also not all that much. It’s complicated.
I’ve had a chance to grow up over the last 4–5 years. I’ve been places, worked on various projects, developed new interests. What hasn’t changed is my overall stance on accessibility, on teaching it forward and on calling em how I see em where blatant disregard or lack of care is concerned. On that note:
Medium: really, folks?
Before I get into it, please note that this is a free copy of an article on Medium. Some of the rest of the article won't make sense without that context.
A number of years ago, I wrote an article stating that Medium was not viable as a platform for me to write on, due to their stance, or lack thereof, on accessibility.
That, I’m sorry to say, hasn’t changed all that much.
My biggest complaint, the lack of alt text on the platform, has been somewhat mitigated. At least, it’s possible to add alt text now, which is one of the reasons I’m able to justify to myself to even write on this platform.
The editor is pretty much as inaccessible as it’s always been, with very limited hotkey support, a lot of mouse-only operations, piles and piles of unlabeled buttons which could be fixed with literally ten seconds of work, the list goes on. Case and point: it took me five minutes to even put in this second heading, and it’s not of the correct hierarchical level. But then, given Medium only allows for 2 heading levels, I guess the point is mostly moot.
Does Medium care about accessibility? Quite honestly I doubt it. It’s hard to say; this kind of neglect is often a matter of upper management not seeing the need, the room etc. to accommodate about a seventh of the world’s population. The developers themselves are far more often far more willing to put in the work, they’re often just not allowed to spend time on it. Make of that what you will.
So why still write on it? Quite simply, so people can find it. I can’t get around the fact that Medium is huge. It comes up on search engine result pages, it is apparently important enough for people to become premium members just to read articles on it.
Having said that, Medium will NEVER be the only place any article of mine shows up. I am on here so I can have my content available to those who need it. I may even paywall my articles on here so I can earn a small amount of money from them, but there will always be a link to a free version in order to not lock out potential readers.
TLDR: I’ll be on here. I won’t have to like it, though. ;)
My older articles: accurate still?
For the most part, yes. What follows is an itemized list of things I can remember having mentioned over those couple articles, and their current status:
* Jetbrains’ IDEs have gotten a little bit better, but they’re still a pain to use with screen readers.
* I think I may have mentioned Slack and Discord in the past. Those are definitely a lot better than they used to be.
* Mac OS, in my opinion at least, still lags behind Windows where the maturity of its accessibility offerings is concerned. Things have improved, but in my opinion not improved enough to be one’s main workhorse for anything but music creation, where it does shine in certain ways.
* I’m on a Lenovo now! :P
Some things have changed even throughout the time I wrote my articles, most notably the accessibility improvements in FreeCodeCamp, Codecademy and VS Code. Those are definite victories for accessibility. There have also been some serious groanworthy slips though. Looking at you, Notion.
What about yours truly?
Honestly I’ve been all over the place. I was lead coder on a text-based game for a while, consulted on a boatload of projects as an accessibility auditor/advocate, kept up ye olde programming, the works.
Two relatively new things is that I’m a Twitch streamer now, I go by Zersiax, and that I’ve developed a serious appreciation and interest for cybersecurity. On that note, more posts surrounding those topics will no doubt feature in the coming time.
Streams largely cover accessibility in gaming, game development and overall ways to work around inaccessible content in certain types of games, as well as the occasional coding or hacking stream. Cybersecurity might be anything from capture the flag writeups to accessibility reviews of tools, courses, etc.
These are severely undercovered fields, and I’d like to try to do my part. With that though, this article has reached its end.