Dear M-Enabling Summit: seriously, why do accessibility pros have to keep passive-aggressively adding alt text to your images for you? It’s not like this is new or anything. This is, after all, 2019 and not 1995. It’s not even new by Twitter standards, and there are a metric ton of guides out there, some of them even written by accessibility pros, to show you how to use the feature. How is this not in the instructions you provide to your social media manager, assuming you have one? If you don’t, not adding it is even worse. If you can’t manage to do something as simple as adding alt text to your images, why on earth should anyone trust you to create a conference that provides valuable, accurate accessibility information?
I should be able to charge extra for editing content on any site with Visual Composer involved. That plugin is the bane of my existence, and the sooner it completely disappears, the better. It is absolutely possible to edit VC content by hand. This is also absolutely not a skillset I should have to maintain. We have standards for a reason. It is very time-consuming and tedious, along with probably being traumatizing, for anyone to have to learn the non-standard idiosyncracies of this kind of generated markup. Friends don’t let friends use this plugin. Enemies probably shouldn’t let enemies use it either.
I spent some time today putting a system in place to track the unbillable time I spend on contributions to free software, and when I say contribution I’m being pretty liberal about what counts as contribution: Advocacy, not just code, for example. I believe in the mission of free software, but the fact is free software isn’t without cost, and sometimes that cost can get pretty high. I’m also working out how to document my contributions in my portfolio, including the free accessibility advocacy that I do. This is going to take a little more work and some more research, but I feel it needs to be done. I need to be able to keep track of this stuff so I can limit it when necessary. Right now I’m thinking of setting the limit at ten percent of free time outside of shabbat and festivals, because those are times when no work of any kind is done, as a general rule. I’m not going to get into the exceptions around festivals because it’s a lengthy topic, but to say no work of any kind can be done on festivals would be technically inaccurate. I think ten percent is a reasonable amount of time. It’s not a ton, but it places an upper limit on the time I have available to do this kind of work. I will also document the time spent, although I haven’t decided whether I will publish a weekly or monthly or yearly report. This is going to be an interesting project.
I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge for personal and professional reasons. The personal reasons are partly documented here, and I’ll document my professional reasons on this site.

Content creation is hard work, and I need to get back into the swing of it. I have several lengthy tutorials sitting in my drafts, and I need to finish them, and I think the only real way to get back into the swing of content creation is to practice. So I’ve decided to take up this blogging challenge so that I can do that, as well as find new content to read and absorb. There are a lot of things floating around my brain regarding business, the tech landscape, and the web development landscape specifically, and I’d like to start getting those things out of my brain and onto my website where I can flesh them out better. My plan is to not turn over all my thoughts to social media platforms and instead document them on my own site, linking to them in larger posts where appropriate, and of course changing them when appropriate. Plus this will be a really great way to share what I learn by sharing my notes on the books I’m reading, (there are several professional development as well as technical books on my anticipated reading list for 2019), as well as the articles written by others, especially experts in particular fields like accessibility. I’m looking forward to this, and I think it will be a lot of fun. If you want to sign up, I believe there’s still time left to join. No pressure or anything, but it’s a great way to start owning your own content if you haven’t started doing that already.

Until next time.

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I have come to the conclusion that Matt is not going to take accessibility seriously until it affects him personally, and this is incredibly sad. Accessibility should not be the domain of those who are part of the disabled list, or those whose loved ones are part of it.
Maybe privacy and accessibility work would be valued by employers in the WordPress space if @photomatt would do his Goddamn job and advocate for them. Walking is very painful now but I have zero problem inching across that convention center tomorrow to say that to his face. #WCUS
I will respond to Matt’s call to learn blocks deeply when Mat learns accessibility deeply. Accessibility is not a nice-to-have, or an afterthought, or a feature, and I will not promote a thing I know full well not everyone can use, no matter how great the UX is for some. #WCUS
I just realized I can add code snippets to my posts while writing them using the Code Snippets CPt plugin by @Jtsternberg. BTW the code snippet output is way more accessible and easy to read than Github snippets. I love this plugin so much thank you Justin.
You cannot release a product with significant #a11y issues and call it a quality product. You cannot ignore a11y because it gets in your way and call yourself an advocate. @photomatt can continue to play this wrong all he likes, but that still doesn’t make it jazz.
I’m really, really glad to see that Deque Systems is participating in/holding a hackathon at this year’s WordCamp US contributor day along with the Accessibility Team and those on the core team who are familiar with WordPress’s testing environment, in order to integrate aXe-Core into our core. Can we call this inception yet? I use Tenon, (a competing tool), and of course I’m a Tenon fan, but I also really like aXe-core. I just find it harder to use as a screen reader user trying to fight with Firefox’s developer tools, and Chrome’s developer tools are less accessible than Firefox’s. I’m still working out some last minute details to hopefully make it to WCUS this year so I can participate. I don’t know much about WordPress’s tests but would love to help in person any way I can. Plus, it’s WordCamp. This is an incredibly positive step forward for both WordPress as well as Gutenberg, and nothing makes me happier than to see it. This is the starting point on the road to making Gutenberg one of the most awesome things on the planet in my opinion: a block editor and eventually a complete site editor with drag-and-drop capabilities that everyone can use.
Current status: About to piss a bunch of people off on the NFB Jobs mailing list by replying to a message which advocates for a weekly salary and annonymity for blind people participating in the drive-by demand letter racket.
Dear WordPress. I get it. Everybody’s tired of hearing about Gutenberg, and it sucks when you’ve worked so hard on something, only to have a ton of people harshly criticize it. I get it. For Matt and the Gutenberg team, Gutenberg is your baby, and right now it seems like all of us are calling your baby ugly, dismissing all the hard work you’ve put in. Personally, I would love nothing better than to say only positive things about Gutenberg, and to talk about how much better it is than Squarespace’s or Wix’s editor, just to name a few. I would love to not participate in what’s being dismissed as WordPress drama because I, like you, hate drama. Unfortunately I do not have that privilege. I do not have the privilege of simply ignoring Gutenberg’s accessibility problems, because when it becomes the default editor those accessibility problems will directly effect my livelihood. Unless the Classic Editor plugin is per-user and per-post/post type, and unless it seemlessly converts back and forth between Gutenberg blocks and current content, it’s not even close to a workable solution. And that’s not even addressing the fact that, essentially, people with disabilities are being forced to wait on the sidelines again because a break-neck development pace and reliance on volunteers and having a shiny new thing to show off at WordCamp US were more important than whether or not WordPress demonstrated true leadership and did something truly innovative by releasing the first and only block editor that everyone can use no matter their physical ability or technical expertise. OK, so you’ve added some keyboard shortcuts and you do some really awesome things to ensure that what you deliver is an accessibility improvement upon what’s come before in this space. That’s great, but it’s not a first. Wix already does this and has done so for about a year. I mean, I can’t use their editor anymore since they just couldn’t handle attributing WordPress for that awesome update they had for a minute, but hey, they added some keyboard shortcuts and any new site starts with an accessible base and they did it all by themselves so that’s an improvement. I suppose when you go from zero accessibility to partial accessibility you have no choice but to call that an improvement, but that’s not what WordPress is doing. WordPress is improving accessibility on the front end and people with disabilities are picking up the tab. Instead of doing something truly amazing and wonderful and being the first to create a block editor that has complete drag-and-drop capabilities plus the ability for anyone who doesn’t use a mouse or who uses some kind of assistive technology to have complete control over what they create, WordPress is merely copying its competitors when it comes to releasing something that’s inaccessible and then promising to fix it later. Geocities promised to make their page builder accessible. It never happened. Google, same thing. Squarespace, they’re still making us vote on it I think, but I suppose they should maybe get points for at least being honest about the fact they really don’t give a damn. Wix resisted for years and finally started to get around to it, but they made all kinds of promises too and it’s a year later and we’re still waiting for an editor we can use. The list goes on and on and on. Anybody who’s been on the web longer than two seconds knows this song because it’s been played so often. Forgive me if I don’t exactly take promises to fix Gutenberg’s accessibility problems as anything other than promises in the dark. So yeah WordPress, I know WordPress drama sucks. I’d love to return you to your regularly scheduled program. But the WordPress I adopted as my home and as my family is better than Wix or Squarespace or Google or Geocities and I believe that it is still capable of doing great things that will shake the foundations of the web, and passing that up for the sake of speed development and a new shiny is missing an opportunity that you can never take advantage of again.