In this episode, I chat with my teammate at Pantheon, Bela Gaytan, about accessibility - not only how to create more accessible experiences for our learners but also some common misconceptions about accessibility - such as what is a disability? And can we make something 100% accessible?
Known for her authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability, Bela Gaytan (she/her) unapologetically disrupts spaces to create change. She leverages her lived experiences and intersectional identities as a neurodivergent, queer, physically disabled Latina to educate folks on disability, accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and equity.
She is a Technical Instructional Designer at Pantheon (https://pantheon.io) on the Customer Education team with Heidi Kirby (yay), as well as the co-lead of Pantheon’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group and an active member of the DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility) task force. She also works as the Community and Social Media Manager for The eLearning Designer’s Academy (https://elearningacademy.io) with her mentor, Tim Slade. In her free time, she is a WordPress Web Developer, a fierce DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility) advocate, speaker, and coach.
You can connect with Bela on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/belagaytan), Twitter (https://twitter.com/belagaytan), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/belagaytan), Medium (https://belagaytan.medium.com), or on her website (https://belagaytan.com) where you can sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on cool crap! :)
Bela's suggestion for learning more about accessibility:
Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM): (https://webaim.org/)
Thanks for listening to the BLOC!
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidiekirby/
Or check out what I'm working on over at https://www.getusefulstuff.com/
It's not super hard to build accessible from the ground up. Does it take extra effort? You betcha. But in the end, it's the right thing to do. It includes everybody.Heidi Kirby:
Hello, friends, and welcome to the BLOC, the Building Learning and Organizational Culture podcast. I'm your host, Heidi Kirby. And on today's episode, I chat with my talented teammate, Bela Gaytan. about accessibility. Not only did we talk about how to make learning experiences accessible for everyone, but we talk about some common misconceptions. When we think about what does accessibility mean? You're not going to want to miss this episode. Hey, Bela, how's it going?Bela Gaytan:
It is going lovely. How are you today? Heidi?Heidi Kirby:
Good. Great. Um, for those of our listeners who don't know, Bela, and I have the absolute pleasure of working together every day at Pantheon for just oh, five months today? Yeah,Bela Gaytan:
no way. Is it really?Heidi Kirby:
April 18!Bela Gaytan:
Thank you. I was like, How long have I been there for five, six months? Yeah, so we're on the same team, so we know each other quite well. But for our listeners who don't know you, I'll just have you. Tell me your story and how you got into learning and development and anything fun you want to share? Yeah, for sure. So, hey, everyone, for anyone that doesn't know my name is Bela Gaytan. If you cannot say that you can say Bela Gayton, that works too. My pronouns are she and her. As Heidi said, I work with her on the customer education team at pantheon. I am a Technical instructional designer. And I also work with Tim Slade as the community and social media manager for the elearning designers Academy. I always have to take a deep breath after that, because it is a mouthful. And then in addition to that I am a diversity, equity inclusion and accessibility advocate. To spare my voice, I will refer to that as dia moving forward in the conversation. I'm a I guess I should say a hobbyist WordPress web developer because I do not have a lot of clients and it's mostly for my own websites. I'm fueled by cats comedy and coffee. If you can talk about any three of those, like, um, you have a friend and me in terms of how I came to l&d and instructional design, in general. So I grew up with a dad who was an HR manager. So this was long before the stringent, you know, policies on privacy and such. And my dad would take me into the office, he let me type up grievances. He would let me you know, play secretary and you know, you know, get memos and you know, do photocopies and stuff like that. But I tell people that I kind of grew up in an l&d device environment, even though dad was an HR manager in a lot of his roles he was kind of like to do at all, you know, yeah. So I learned a lot about that, and an appreciation for HR growing up with him. I have one of those stories where I kind of bounced around from all different things. I was first of all, I was pre med, I wanted to geneticist, and then at 18 or 19 Yeah, 18, almost 19 I got pregnant with my daughter. And I was like, nope, not going to med school as a single mom. So I turned to nursing. Graduated nursing school. Top of my class wanted to be a midwife, though. And this was back in like the mid 90s We didn't really have a nursing and healthcare, you know, shortage at that time. So every place wanted experience. And I was young, and very stubborn. And I was like, no, if I can't work in OB GYN caring for you know, pregnant women and women in general, I don't want to so at that point, it gets a little fuzzy thinking about my different educational paths that I've taken. So I went into computer programming and Electronic Engineering. But then I had to quit that program because I got a divorce and you know, had to like my finances changed and everything. So then I went back to school for Organizational Psychology. And then for life reasons had to quit that. You're seeing a pattern here, right? So then I went back and I was like, Okay, I want to be a counseling psychologist. I had finished doing a one year volunteer position with the Trevor Project as a cry says counselor. And so I thought that would be a great way to go. But after a while I thought, you know, it's hard for me to turn that off at the end of the day, it's hard for me to separate that, you know, I'm transitioning from work into home life and relaxing and stuff. And that's one of the downfalls of being like an empath, you know, you just kind of warp everything. And it's really hard to turn that off. So Bing, bang, boom, I was like, good old HR. Let's go into that. So I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management. And upon graduation, and I started looking for roles and looking at the job descriptions. And I was like, that's not what my dad did. You know, and just after a while, I was like, you know, my dad's a people person. He was the HR manager that every day, he went out into the factory and made his rounds. And anybody knew that they could come up to him and say, Hey, I really need to talk to you. And they could do their talk there. Or he back yeah, come back to my office, like, let's talk, you know, and so, I just started feeling like that type of role is dead. Now, you know, you have these, these HR departments, and now they're divided learning and development benefits, you know, and it just didn't, I don't know, it just didn't appeal to me anymore. So I was racking my brain. And I was like, let me let me go back to school and get a masters for what Heck if I know, in that moment, I was a manager for a small company. And I was onboarding all of the new employees in in my department. I was cueing them, I was upskilling them, I was maintaining all of the Training and Documentation material. And as I'm looking for degrees, I came across instructional design, I'm like, What the heck's that, you know, let me look into this. And as I started reading it, I was like, Holy crap, this is, this is what I want. This guy we still tap into, like my HR and you know, being a people person and being able to help people on a professional level. It also tapped into like psychology and counseling, just because I felt like I could really reach people but not be so attached and you know, have so much baggage just because I would not be able to let go of it, you know, sure. But also, like training and onboarding, and you know, creating, like a knowledge base and stuff. So it just really felt like finally, in my life, I've found something where I can put that all together. That track during that time, I studied web development as well. I won a, like a front end development coding challenge with Google. So I worked with Google on that. And, you know, learning about instructional design and the different tools and stuff like that, I thought, Okay, well, that lets me use my my tech background as well. So it was just one of those like, Aha moments, you know, where the angels you know, upon hire like, glow, really, you got it, you know. And so once I fell into it and got into school, it was just, that was it. Like, I was hooked, I was like, This is what I've always wanted to do, I found that sweet spot in my career life to the point where I'm happy with what I do my job and really like, it makes me happy. SoHeidi Kirby:
I like it. Yeah, and I love it. We both come from such different backgrounds. But we both found like those things that we were looking for. Yeah, from our respective backgrounds, in instructional design and in learning and development. And obviously, the thing we have in common is the wanting to help people Yeah, part right. I think that's where we've really bonded is like the just desire to help people. Yeah. And that's why we're talking about accessibility today. Because what better way to help people than to make things that we're working on as instructional designers or just learning and development professionals in general, accessible to all. And what I'd first kind of like to talk about is like, kind of like this, the misconception around accessibility, right? That it's about very visible, very permanent. Disabilities, right? Like, when we talk about accessibility and learning and development people are like, Oh, screen readers, or, you know, things that are like, deaf blind, unable to use the keyboard, but there's so much more nuanced thanBela Gaytan:
that. Yes. Yes. So much more and even just talking about that I get all like, I get fired up inside because even me like I've had to really go through like a journey to get to where I am with accessibility. I'll give you an example. As you know, I'm colorblind. I'm red, green, colorblind, and prior to really, you know, becoming one I would consider like an accessibility champion and advocate. I thought, well, that's my vision problem I just have to deal with. So when I would be on websites, and I couldn't see something, I was like, well, like, that's my problem. It's, you know, I never really saw it as being like inaccessible, or that I wasn't having like an equitable chance to, you know, interact with the, with the content. So, even me, I've had to grow and realize, you know, that, no, it's, it's, it's not like, it's not this huge feat to make things accessible. And there's been a lot of talk on LinkedIn lately, that really has me fired up. There was an interaction with someone on my LinkedIn page, that wasn't a happy camper. And basically, they were saying, like, you know, I deserve to be happy. And doing all these changes to my content isn't going to make me happy. And this was someone who was not disabled and did not require any type of accommodations. And I'm thinking, Do you know, that's, that's absolutely not true. And I think people look at accessibility, and they're just like, it's an afterthought. Or it's reactionary, they've been called out, or maybe they lost a contract, because they weren't, you know, putting out something that was that was accessible or compliant within whatever, you know, guidelines that their industry uses. So it's, it's not super hard to build accessible from the ground up, does it take extra effort? You betcha. But in the end, it's the right thing to do. It includes everybody. Well, basically, like, if you were in a group of people, you wouldn't just exclude one person. For whatever reason, you know, for any reason, like, oh, well, because they have blue hair, you know, you wouldn't exclude that person and just completely ignore them for a reason. Well, you know, they have blue hair, blue hair, it's fine.Heidi Kirby:
Right? Or, you know, if you're at an amusement park, and you have one friend who's shorter than the rest of you, and the rest of you can go on the roller coaster. But this one can't. Would you leave your friend behind and say here, why don't you just hold all our stuff while we go on this roller coaster? Because you're too short to ride?Bela Gaytan:
And sadly, a lot of people would?Heidi Kirby:
That's, that's fair. I personally wouldn't. Why wouldn't either? Yeah. I mean, and that's the thing, right? Is a lot of people see accessibility as well. If it's not me, then I don't care. But it is you at some point in time, right? Like, we all have some, like we all need an accommodation at some point, right? Whether it's, you know, I have carpal tunnel surgery, and for a month, I can't use a mouse normally. Yeah, right. Or if I have a child's and I, you know, now have my child at home with me while I'm working. Maybe that means that like, I can't use my microphone, right? Like, yeah, I can only listen and use chat or, you know, there's so many different things that we don't think about that require accommodation, or even just like, let's say, like, a true one for me is if I don't go see the eye doctor soon. I'm going to run out of contact lens. Yeah, I have to wear my glasses all the time. And it's a different experience. I can't drive well at night with my glasses. Yeah. Right. Like, I don't have that. And so all these little things, that people want to think that accessibility is about these big permanent disabilities. Yes, but it's about an equitable experience for everyone. And about just considering what that looks like. Before, right, you start designing and developing.Bela Gaytan:
Right? Yeah, and I think that's a really good point is we're all going to be quote unquote, disabled at some point. And I don't mean that in terms of like a permanent disability, although we all do get old and we know as we age, need additional accommodations, you know, yeah, and I liked the examples that you brought up because similarly my mom had surgery on her thumb recently, we had to like rig up her phone with like a built a board to hold her Uno cards because we played uno all the time, like we throw down with uno so three Yeah, so he built it looks like it looks like a like a tablet stand or something like that, that you would put like your tablet on but he built a board to hold all of her Uno cards and so we couldn't see as well because you know, she had to you know, keep it on ice and you know, keep it elevated. I have a lot of pain. She wasn't in physical therapy yet. So she wasn't you know, supposed to be you know, using it so I mean, that's like a temporary disability for her now she can play fine. She doesn't need the board. You know, but then you have things like like you said, you know, with having a child At home, that, you know, they're a great kid, but they just don't shut up. You know, they just talk, talk, talk talk. And you, you know, you have to just keep it on mute. And yeah, you know, so that's, that's another thing. And not even when we think about accommodations, not even limiting it to settings to make or changes to make, or you know, like that, but options. Don't forget everyone to come on camera. You know, there could be a man who his wife beat him up last night, and he's got bruises all over and he's ashamed to not make everyone come on camera. Can you imagine the horror of anyone who's like in a domestic violence situation, you know, to have to come on camera. Don't make people speak in the microphone. They may not like their voice. And I know some people might listen, some people might hear that and be like, well, you know, grow up, get over it. But so many people have traumas about so many different things. And we truly never know what someone has been through. Don't make people type in chat. You know, it could be someone like me, I have very painful fingers. And so a lot of times, like, I do not want to type in chat because my fingers won't move, right? I'll make a bunch of mistakes. And then I either just hit Send almost like a reaction, or I have to constantly sit there and try to you know, and then you know, so we're thinking about all those different, you know, physical and maybe emotional or psychological options that we can give people. One of the groups of people that are left out of accessibility a lot are people that are neuro divergent. What do we mean by neuro divergent? So, there's a lot of terms that surround people that have conditions such as ADHD, autism and other you know, neurological type disorders. Neuro divergent is the one that I use. I know some people don't like that term, but it's a way for us to try to say that it is different from neurotypical not normal. But neurotypical, you know, yeah. And so when you're talking about neuro divergence, you're talking about people that have ADHD, attention deficit, hyperactive hyperactivity disorder, you're talking about people that have autism at all areas of the spectrum. One of the groups that is often left out even in the neurodivergent group, are people that have personality disorders, people that have other mental health conditions, such as, you know, schizophrenia, or you know, stuff like that. Because those conditions affect the way that we think and we process and we, you know, we understand things. So, you know, a perfect example, in ways to be more accessible for neurodivergent folks is something that I do, I do my alt text, but I do an image description as well. And in the image description, I try to convey if there's a specific mood that someone understand about the picture, because if I'm just looking at you, and I'm kind of just barely smiling, you may not know that that's a smile for me, like I never smile with my teeth when I take a picture. So some people might see that and be like, Oh, she's trying to show that she's forcing a smile, or you may not understand that, that truly is the way that I smile. You might think that I'm angry when the post is meant to say that I'm tired or I'm hungry, or I'm hangry. You know, it's getting really bad over here in my stomach. But also, you know, thinking about things like not using sarcasm heavily. Because a lot of people with neuro divergence, and myself included, I struggle with sarcasm, especially if it's something that is maybe from a TV show that I've not seen, or it has to do with a topic that I don't know a lot about, it could be something like wine, I'm definitely not a wine snob. You know, if someone makes a sarcastic joke or something about wines, I'm gonna sit there and go. I have no clue what that means. Yeah, and so then I'm like, Okay, do I go waste time googling it? Do I ask? And sometimes I will ask because I'm truly curious. But it's also my way to say, hey, like, not everyone gets what you're saying. And, you know, in learning that that's, that's another thing like with learning, if you use too much sarcasm, you're gonna miss a lot of people. And it's the same thing with humor. Like I love to joke all the time. And I have to figure out like, how do I like rein that in? When elearning because I do want to have little like comical moments, you know, those brief moments where you, you're not dreading you know, the next slide, presentation or something so, but it's a it's a fine line that you have to you have to walk you know. Another example that caters to Do people a lot of people don't think about catering to people that English is not their first language? Or even if it is they live in a country that is not you know, like they live in Australia. They live in Wales, you know, they they live somewhere where they're going to have different slang and different ways to do things. So, in my last session with CLDC, I mentioned the potluck dinner. And I immediately explained what is a potluck dinner? Because if you think about that, if I didn't know what it was, I would think it has something to do with maybe Irish food, because we have that weird, you know, the leprechaun with a pot. Yeah. And so I'm kind of like, now that I say that I'm wondering if it stems from that somehow. Because potluck like, it's, it's very strange. But, you know, or that it's something we're okay, you're cooking something in a pot over a fire? Maybe? I don't know. But you know, explain those things. And you know, that way that you're ensuring that you're not, you're not missing out on anyone,Heidi Kirby:
right. And the sarcasm is another thing with international audiences, not everyone from other countries, I found this just in teaching in life. Not everyone from other countries understand sarcasm. So if you're, especially when English is their second language, and so like, if you make a sarcastic joke, they're like, Huh, that's not that's not a thing. And you're like, Yeah, I know. That's why I said it. Yeah. Well, wait, you know, and I think so I think, for me, when I was starting in instructional design, and I was trying to remember all the bits and pieces of design, development, performance needs analysis, all that accessibility seemed so overwhelming, because look at all these things that we've just presented. Yeah, of, oh, you should consider this and consider that and consider. But it's not that you have to have a list. Like you don't need a list in front of you of all the different possibilities, different ways that somebody could be at a disadvantage. You just have to think about your audience. And think about really the purpose of the content that you're creating. Because if that's on point, it's much easier to meet all those other criteria. And I think where we get carried away, a lot of times in l&d is like, we want to make it fun, or we want to make it pretty, or, and then we act as if accessibility is cramping our style or impeding on our creativity in some way. And it's like, well, no, it's actually causing you to be more creative. Yes. Because now you have to consider what is going to give me the broadest experience or broadest, you know, create the largest net and catch all my learners.Bela Gaytan:
Yeah, yeah. And once you start going down that path, you know, accessibility becomes so easy, because it just becomes second nature to you. And in terms of like, not being able to have fun, not being able to, like, have, you know, bits of comedy and with your, like learning or any type of like online content. I'll use an example. I recently made a post about podcasts, you know, wanting to know, like, from you and others that I know that do podcasts, like what, you know, what platforms and tools do you use. And I always try to add a picture with my posts, because I like the way it looks when I scroll through someone's feed, and I see a picture. Yeah, and I try to make sure that it's on topic. So I chose a picture of me in Ireland several years back at a sheep farm, where I was communicating with a sheep that I called the fat one, because he constantly follow me around and wanted to, like, eat my clothes, and like my hands and just, you know, begging me. So in my image description, I included a short line about, you know, Bella is using all of her interpersonal, you know, her crisis, diffusion skills and communication skills and everything with the fat one to you know, ensure that he understands that he's safe, and he's not going to like wilt away, you know. And so I had fun with that. And I was looking for a career, I always look for that creative way that I can explain what is in the photo, why I'm using that picture. And then also have like, that little bit of comedy in there as well. Yeah, and it does, it takes creativity, it really does. And even when I'm like picking images, or icons or stuff like that it does, I have to really dig in and be creative, because I don't want to have to go back and fix it. Because I find out that I've made something inaccessible for someone, I want to make it, you know, and then like leave it and not have to like repair it in the future, you know?Heidi Kirby:
Yeah. And I think to your point about having multiple different ways to access the same content is really where that comes into play to is you don't have to do all of the accessibility things in one elearning, right. Like you can say, here's the elearning but here's An audio only version of that same elearning, or here's a PDF, that's just, you know, a transcript of that elearning. And, you know, making those experiences as equitable as possible, but just providing different ways to access, that information for those different groups of people, then will allow you a little bit more space and freedom in that elearning to do the certain things that you want to do, because you're providing it in more than one way.Bela Gaytan:
Yeah, and that's something I've really been working on, because one of the things that, and I'll be honest, my website is pretty accessible, but it does still have some areas that I need to improve. And a lot of that was I fell into instructional design rather quickly. And so I had to quickly get like a portfolio up, you know, so I did like my best practices in accessibility, but there's some things that I want to improve. One of the things I've been wanting to do is provide an audio on every page that I have on my website. So if people would like to just listen of the, you know, listen to the audio of a blog post or an article or something like that, they can do that. So I made a post, I think couple days ago, with my wildly bleached hair, in all its glory. Talking about, you know, like, let's talk about, you know, the good with the not so good. And I wanted to see how long it would take me if I truly made it as accessible as I possibly could. So I recorded the video, went in and edited it, you know, and did the captions. And then I also extracted the audio only with the background music that I had. Because, for me, I like a tiny bit of background music, because sometimes that silence in between, I'm not able to pay attention as well. So that's just me. But then I did another audio that I extracted from Camtasia that had just my voice. And then I provided a transcript, I provided just text like a RTF file. And then I provided it as a PDF. And then the post on my website was a cleaned up version of the transcript. Because I throw in a lot of fluff words, I always say, you know, and so like, those are my big thing. Yeah. And so I didn't want to like, you know, put that in my page. And like, you know, how people will go through like, you know, like, like, like, yeah, even me trying to pretend it I keep saying like, you know, yeah, but those are like my, my, my filler words, my fluff words. And so it took me several hours, I won't lie, but But I learned exactly what order is going to be best for me to do it in the future. Sure, I'm saved the different blocks on my website, I use Elementor plugin, web page builder within WordPress. I created the different blocks and I saved them as a template. So next time when I go in, and I'm going to make an article, and I do that, I have the design all laid out. I just have to go in and tweak like HTML for the audio. And, you know, just like replace the media links, but I was like, Okay, this is pretty freakin awesome. It took me a while. But I've got you know, I've got that routine now in place, is it going to still take me a little bit of extra time? Like, yeah, it is. But for me, it's worth it. And one of the reasons that I wanted to do like the text in the PDF file is my dear friend bello is blind. And he uses some screen reader. And we were communicating on LinkedIn one day, and he was asking me if I could instead email him because we were going to be exchanging files. And he said, it's much easier through email with my screen reader. And I was like, interesting. Okay. So then I started thinking about pronunciation through screen readers. And for people that have names that maybe are not going to be in there. And so I had introduced him to someone who needed some accessibility services. And their name did not look how did that sound, how it's spelled. And so I knew the screen reader would would mess it up. So I included just an extra sentence in here in there. And I said, Hey, this is how the name is pronounced. And I typed in as well as I could like in just short words. And he was able to adjust his screen reader. So from that point on, every time he heard, you know, her name, it would be pronounced properly. So that's another small thing that you can do for people, you know, and you're never gonna make something 100% accessible, because disabilities, whether they are permanent, temporary or situational, they fall on a spectrum. And so even me, I'm Red Green colorblind. So as my dad so as my son, we will give you three different answers. Most of the time when we look at a color, and it's on a spectrum and a lot of people don't know that. Even I care providers often don't know that and me and my son will be at the doctor's office and they'll go through it will score the same on a test, you know, the is it. Ishihara, I think test but the dots, you know that you tried to look for the gaps and stuff. Yeah, yeah, we will score the same on that test. But then if you take us to something that has colors, we'll say different colors. And it's so wild, you know, and even blows my mind. So you're just, you're never going to be able to create something that's 100% accessible. But if you can just put your best foot forward your best effort. And it's just, I always say this, it's the right thing to do. It's the nice thing to do. It's the kind things to the kind thing to do. One day, you will want an accommodation, for whatever reason. And I hope that in that moment, you know, you think like, wow, this is how people feel when they can't access content the same way that I've always been able to do, you know?Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, no, I think that's really, that's really true. And I think a lot of times, we spend all this time talking about learner engagement and motivating the learner. And if you think about some of the cheesy things that have been done to try and motivate and engage learners, I always bring it back to this terrible bingo game I encountered during onboarding ones, to the person who created that I'm sorry, I keep bringing it up. But it wasn't so bad. And like if that person had just funneled that time and energy into creating something accessible, or even just setting up the processes, like you said, to create something accessible, because I'm sure this bingo game took hours to create, if IBela Gaytan:
created one I created Yeah, no storyline, and it took me so long.Heidi Kirby:
So if we could just take that time away from irrelevant things, like this is not the thing that was a bingo game did not need to be a bingo. There was no reason for it. Yeah. And if we just moved away from the that and move to more relevant things like an equitable experience, how, you know, if we can reach more learners by giving them something they can actually use? You know, then isn't that a better way to spend time than making a fun game?Bela Gaytan:
Yeah, and I mean, games are fun, but there's a time and a place for them. So like the bingo one I did, it was literally an elearning heroes articulate challenge. Yeah, it was brutal, like I'll tell you, because just to have like, to put in all the different variables and triggers and stuff, you know, and everything. And I had, like, ultimate bingo, like, and like an Easter egg hidden behind it. Like I went all out on that. But yeah, I think just, there's so much better things to do than having a complicated game people, you're gamification a lot. And they feel that, oh, everyone needs to have a character and points and a way to level up and what's your, you know, What class are you going to be, you know, this is coming from a hardcore gamer here, you know, I mean, right now, like, I don't love gaming, I mean, I'm a World of Warcraft almost every day, you know, gaming and stuff. And, you know, my computer is legit named after one of my World of Warcraft. One of my businesses is named after the continent and World of Warcraft, I'm a huge nerd. But I don't think we need to go all out like that, when we're doing training. There's other ways to be fun. There's other ways to engage people, there is social learning, so that people can be able to connect with others in that lived experience. There's scenario based learning, and I know you have plenty to say about that. So I won't even go into that, because that's your jam, you know, but there's just so much more that can be done instead of just throwing in this really complicated game. And again, you know, the more complicated you get, with stuff like graphics and visual and audio, you run into just excluding so many people.Heidi Kirby:
Yeah, yeah, Dragon drops are not accessible. So many people, that's news to them. Yeah. Right. But if I can't use a mouse, I can't participate. And you'd be surprised how many people can't use a mouse? It's not Yeah, you don't have to have a permanent physical disability and be in a wheelchair to not be able to use mouth right,Bela Gaytan:
like, I can't use a standard mouse anymore. I use a vertical mouse. Even then I still get fatigued after a long day. Yeah, and one of the things that I try to do with sharing like my lived experience is not only to show people, different ways you can be accessible that are not going to be in the different you know, reference resources that you come across. So yeah, using my myself as an example, like I use a vertical mouse because I can't use a regular one. But even with the vertical one, I get fatigued. And so I share often about how people should think outside of the box with accessibility as well. One of the things I see on LinkedIn a lot and this is nowhere in any type of accessibility, you know, manual or anything, is when people put a couple of words per line. And they put a bunch of, you know, they enter a bunch of times. Does it look cool? Yeah. But for someone like me, it causes me to scroll more. And because I hyperextend so much, anytime I bend a joint, I bend it way too far. And so the more I scroll, the more pain I have, you know. And, on your point about not all people can use a mouse. I remember when I was in Morocco, and I met a man who was a painter, using putting a paintbrush in his mouth, that was hand painted. And he had his phone set up the same way. So that he could he had like a, someone had rigged this up for him so that he could have like a kind of like a stylus that he helped out and be able to access his phone. And so it's just, I don't know that. I know, people want to be like, do the next big cool thing. I know, they want to have something memorable. But like if you just provide a really cool experience, and a really cool atmosphere, and you're teaching what you're setting out to teach your learners like, that's golden. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.Heidi Kirby:
For sure. Awesome. Well, I'm going to ask you the same question. I asked all my guests but with an accessibility spin. So if you had to recommend one resource on accessibility for people who want to learn more, because we've been talking for over half an hour, and we've only just scratched the surface, yeah, yeah. What would you recommend and why?Bela Gaytan:
Yeah, I would recommend webAIM. And that's web like the World Wide Web. And then aim stands for accessibility in mind. They are a phenomenal organization. They have like contrast checkers, so that you can check color contrast to ensure that you're using like accessible color combinations. They have training courses as well. But I would I would definitely recommend to start there. And DEQ University is another one as well that offers courses and training. And with both webAIM and DQ University, if you yourself are disabled, they have programs where you can take their training for free because yeah, both of them they see the value in having people that are disabled and have that lived experience in learning more about accessibility and and being able to, you know, champion for inclusion because you can't be inclusive if you're not accessible.Heidi Kirby:
I love it. Well, thank you so much for joining me outside of work. Talk more than we normally do. Very happy to you.Bela Gaytan:
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me, Heidi, I appreciate it.Heidi Kirby:
Thanks again for joining me on the BLOC. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with friends and review us on your favorite podcast platform. I hope you'll tune in again soon.