Since I first created this website, I have tried to be more aware of the issues around web accessibility (a11y). When I tried using NVDA on my old website, I was horrified and embarrassed by the experience. I used to think that alt text on images basically covered all that you needed to worry about for web a11y, but it wasn’t until I began actively testing with a variety of different tools that I found there is much more to it than this.
On this website, I have identified several issues that hurt accessibility. For the most part, the issues aren’t technical and are related to the language on my project pages. Most of the writing on these pages don’t follow plain English, are very long, and will have many repetitive statements or redundant words/phrases such as “more complex.”
For someone with English as their second language, it immediately limits what they can get from any of my content. For those using screen readers like NVDA or JAWS, it takes forever to read through verbose paragraphs that others might be able to skim through. This might not be avoidable for certain topics or pages that require the use of specialist language or prior technical knowledge, but at a baseline level most web writing guidelines suggest the use of clear, simple sentences that can be skimmed.
I have always struggled to write concisely. If I take my time and proof-read this isn’t an issue, but it is something that needs ongoing work. I am thankful for tools like Hemingway and Grammarly that automates a lot of this process (beyond a simple spelling and grammar check).
All content on this website is currently undergoing an audit and will be periodically updated to better reflect plain English standards. In some cases, I will be archiving older content that is no longer relevant and will be too cumbersome to update onto a separate website.
I’m excited about the continual improvements I can make to this website so that more people can enjoy it and look forward to learning along the way!