Seeing the Light on Accessibility
One of the customers for our peer code review tool, Code Collaborator, has an employee who is blind. That employee happens to be a software developer who uses Code Collaborator. Here's the best part: not only is he a software developer, but his specialty is accessibility.
Brandon recently made some minor changes to our user interface so that it will work better with screen reading applications. Our customer arranged an online meeting with screen sharing so that Brandon and I could watch the blind developer use his screen reading software with our newest release of Code Collaborator.
As luck would have it, the screen sharing software did not work. So as the screen reading software was chirping along interpreting our user interface, the blind developer was explaining to us over the phone exactly what was happening. The irony was not lost on any of us - listening to an explanation when you cannot see is second nature to one of the participants who was on the call.
And here's the thing: it worked out really well. With his deep understanding of how screen reading applications work and the underlying HTML markup issues, this guy was able to very clearly tell us exactly what we needed to know.
He was very complimentary of the changes that Brandon had made and he pointed out a couple of places where additional enhancements could be made. In exchange, we shared some tips with him on how to use certain Code Collaborator features.
All in all, it was both very gratifying and humbling.