June 26, 2015

Designing for everyone

Let's include, not exclude

When I say it's great to go back to the roots I don't mean web development, which is where I once upon a time started (before I got pulled in too deep in the corporate world), I mean that it's great to be back and really be involved in the tech, the details, and actually DO rather than just tell others what to do. Less politics, more tech - thanks. Yes, I am also a project leader, and yes, I like to lead project, even though I nowadays prefer smaller projects and software/tech projects rather than the huge business project I have been involved in before - but usability will always be one of the fields I care a lot about, and I would love to work a lot more actively with usability. Not just design, usability, the whole experience.  

And when it comes to usability and accessibility I am a great fan of being involved in the creation of apps, sites and software in general that are accessible to as many as possible can use them. 

I really enjoyed this article on designing for colour blindness, "Designing for (and with) colour blindness" by Aaron Tenbuuren, whom I don't know but apparently is a colour blind American designer. It gives you some great clues into how colour blindness CAN work - and tips on how to address the issues.

June 22, 2015

Don't Drink and forget to think

Don't Drink and Dive

This is powerful - and very scary. 

Yes, it's sponsored by an insurance company and normally I don't post sponsored YouTube videos etc, I am not here to sponsor other companies. But this one is an important and very powerful one - Don't Drink and Dive - with several sponsors. It is part of a bigger campaign to reduce the number of drowning incidents in Sweden. A large amount of the people drowning in countries like Sweden, where learning to swim is part of the education - it is mandatory to learn to swim - is people under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Swedish World Champions of Synchronised Swimming trying to perform their winning act under the influence of alcohol - with, thankfully, a rescue team standing by. I knew it would be bad. That it would be this bad? No.

Remember, these are people who swim professionally. You and I? Few of us are professionals. If the professionals are suffering like this, what do you think would happen to you and me? Just don't get into the water. Think. 

Don't drink and dive. Nor drink and drive. 

When you drink and dive you "only" risk your own life and the lives of those who try and rescue you, when you drink and drive you are risking the lives of many others - that car/motorcycle is one heavy piece of equipment if something was to happen. 

From the campaign itself - this is what they say, in English, on the site:  

In 2014 more people drowned in Sweden than in any other year in the last decade. In fact, in the month of July, Swedish water-related accidents cost more lives than road traffic accidents. Most of the drowning victims were men and the majority had consumed alcohol. 
Many authorities are working hard to reverse this trend. But we also need your help to spread the message and ensure we change our behaviour when drinking around water environments.
To show how alcohol affects our judgement and capabilities, we asked some of the world’s most sought after Synchronised Swimming Team, to perform their routine for us. Drunk. They were filmed for the short documentary Don’t Drink and Dive. Members of the three-time world champion Stockholm Men’s Synchronised Swimming Team are also representative of those most likely to drink and dive in Sweden – middle aged men. 
The film was recorded from 19.03 on the night of March 28th Р29th, 2015 at a swimming pool in Uppsala, Sweden. In addition to the synchronised swimmers from Stockholm, the Swedish national swimming team doctor, Ren̩ Tour, two lifeguards from the Swedish Life Saving Society and Certified rescue diver Linnea Persson also took part. No-one was injured during the filming.
I know this has little to do with what I normally blog about but a lot of us do things differently when we are travelling, or when we are in a new environment. Don't switch of your brain just because you switch off from work.

Stay safe.

And make sure others do too.

June 10, 2015

Inspired by DroidCon - part 1 - Embrace Change!

A career doesn't have to follow a straight line

or To Change Careers. Inspiration from DroidCon

Flag with android robotRecently, when attending DroidCon in Berlin, I listened to a talk on accessibility -Accessibility in Action (see link) - by Kelly Shuster, available on the DroidCon Berlin YouTube feed.

Kelly Shuster is an excellent speaker and what she said really caught on;  I simply like a society where everybody can take part and be included. I'll talk more about accessibility in a separate post, but the important thing here is Kelly Shuster caught my attention, and when I came back to Düsseldorf I wanted to get her materials so I could go through it again. When looking for the said materials on Github* I came across not just the materials from the talks in Berlin but I also found the link to Kelly Shuster's website/blogspace.

And this is what THIS specific post is about. 

Kelly writes about how she participated in a panel event in Denver recently, and at this event the panel members had the chance to share some useful advice with the audience - advice they would have given their old selves if they could. The advice Kelly shared were the following:

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions
  • Don't be afraid to take a step down, to step sideways
  • Start saying Yes and follow through

The bullet point really hit home. Especially the second point, "Don't be afraid to take a step down, to step sideways". In a way I did just that myself - took a step down. I left a good company, where I worked with amazing people whom I learnt so much from, but it was time for a change - it was time to challenge myself.