by Alyssa Cheeseman
As a student at Santa Fe Community college, I worked as an Educational Aide for the Disability Resource Centre. Since I was a low vision, screen magnification software user, I was asked to provide assistance with testing the school’s website, using assistive technology.
When I first started helping out with the website, I did not know what it meant to test for accessibility or usability. I thought that you could not do anything about a page once it was up on the internet. When they told me that they were going to use my feedback, to help improve the user experience of other people with disabilities, this is when I realized that sites are ever changing and that they can be improved. This is why Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a key day of the year – awareness is important! Most users of technology are unaware of the existence of assistive technology, let alone that disabled users interact with the internet every day.
Although I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology, this experience introduced me to a new career path in accessibility, where I could help people of all abilities. I also learned that it is important to work with developers and designers at the initial stages of a website, to make sure that accessibility is thought of from the start.
My work at LCI is enjoyable because I know that I am helping our clients develop accessible websites, which is a great feeling!