21.5 ways to adjust attitudes to accessibility


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Presented at UX Australia 2012, in Brisbane Australia.
You can download the cards at: http://www.stamfordinteractive.com.au/resources/attitude-adjuster-cards

What do ninjas, elixirs, and role-playing have to do with accessibility? Almost nothing…unless you’re talking about culture change.

Culture change is hard and it can take a long time. Over the last decade the understanding of how to do usability (properly) has become mainstream. We’re too impatient to wait that long for accessibility and inclusive design to become mainstream as well; after all, isn’t access a fundamental part of the user experience?

This talk isn’t about how to make things accessible – what we want to show you is how to change people’s attitudes towards accessibility so that things can then really start to happen.

Like role-playing games, changing attitudes is about figuring out what and who you’re dealing with so you can plan the best strategy to take. Drawing upon their experiences and previous case studies, Ruth and Kim will share a number of tongue-in-cheek but common-sense strategies that help you identify the different attitudes to accessibility and how to deal with them so that real change can start.

Finding the right people to help with culture change can be a challenge. We’ll explain why Bargainers are okay, why we adore Ninjas and how they can help, why Cowboys are actually scary, and how to use the Knuckles of Knowledge.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll recognise war stories. But you’ll leave with a few cards up your sleeve (literally) that can be applied to a range of UX situations.

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  • 21.5 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People(or how to Adjust Attitudes)
  • We are Kim and Ruth. Kim is the illustration of a girl on the left, Ruth is the illustration of a robot waving her arm.We work for Stamford Interactive, a user experience company in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We’re both very passionate about accessibility and inclusive design. We’ve been working in the user experience and accessibility space for a combined 21 years.
  • Hands up if you’ve ever had to change a person’s or a group’s mind or way of doing things. It’s not easy, and sometimes, it doesn’t last long.
  • The core of why we’re doing this talk is because culture change is HARD. It takes a long time and is not immediate or easy. Sometimes it’s not even permanent – it sometimes feels like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. How many times have we heard stories of organisations who are doing some fantastic stuff, but then their key champion left, and the entire organisation backslid. Our talk is essentially about culture change, but we’re going to be using accessibility as an example throughout this presentation. We want to show you is how to change people’s attitudes towards accessibility so that things can then really start to happenThere are 3 things we learned about culture change.
  • You’ll need time.Culture change doesn’t happen overnight, and rarely do people change the way they behave immediately after an information session. This will take time, so you need a long term plan.The deadlines imposed by the National Transition Strategy are great, but they are also temporary. What will happen post December 2014? Will your organisation still have what it takes to continue to produce accessible products and services?
  • 2. You’ll need empathy + humour.You’ll find that these 2 elements will get you the furthest in trying to change culture. Empathy is the most powerful tool you’ll have. You can bring people on a journey by getting them to see how accessibility it applies to them, and build empathy from there. A lot of the examples we use start with humour, like the following ones.
  • [image of a man struggling to walk up a very steep wheelchair ramp into a store]Sometimes you get both humour and empathy. This is an example of what we DON’T mean though. This is where someonekinda thought about wheelchair access and kinda implemented a solution, but it is practically unusable. Image source: failblog.org. (You gotta love failblog.)
  • Bathroom in train from Stratford to London. Can you tell what's missing?[sign on toilet door with Braille that says "door locked when lit" and a light indicator]
  • 3. You need to identify the attitudes of the group or organisation.In order to do change how people think, you need to know what you’re dealing with. People in the accessibility space often meet a wall of resistance. After all, the changes required come on top of existing workloads, projects, budgets, etc. People are often resistant to change, and so their first reaction can be negative. But there are layers to this, and reasons for that resistance. To understand it properly, you need to separate out the different attitudes that people tend to have about accessibility.
  • There are 7 attitudes that we’ve identified: ignorance, apathy, denial, bargaining, the educated and aware, committed and finally the champions.These aren’t linear, despite how they’re presented here. Someone can jump from the state of ignorance directly to being a champion, given the right opportunity. There is a bit of a line: the first 3 mentioned are what we consider to be temporary attitudes (because we hope they won’t last long).What you DO want in your organisation are the latter 4 attitudes. If you have that, you’re in a great place.
  • One day, we were sitting around discussing the different types of attitudes and the different ways we had learned to deal with them over the course of our past projects.What we learned is that by being able to identify these attitudes, you can then identify appropriate strategies to deal with these attitudes. So we started jotting down the different strategies...and ended up with the Attitude Adjusters cards!One of the reasons we came up with these Attitude Adjusters is because we have found ourselves and our clients in various stages at different times. We drew inspiration from games, as games involve various levels of strategies. Plus it’s always useful to have cards up your sleeves to pull out and draw inspiration from whenever you need it (pun intended).We’ll step you through the attitudes, and show you which adjusters best suit each one. Let’s start!
  • The key thing to take away is that although we’re using accessibility as an example (and some of the strategies we’ll talk about today may be accessibility-specific), the bulk of the strategies can be applied across a range of concepts and ideas. So for example, if you’re trying to introduce more user research or certain UX techniques and concepts into your organisation, try the strategies.
  • People or organisations with this attitude are usually in that blissful state of ignorance – the state defined by a lack of knowledge or information about accessibility. The key thing to remember is that we have ALL started with this attitude at one stage or another.You’ll know this attitude by the things you’ll hear:“Accessibility – that’s just for blind people, right?”“So can we just not hire blind people?”“All that effort for just a few!”“It can’t be accessible AND usable!”These are all real quotes we have heard – not out of malice, but from a genuine lack of awareness of what the nature of the problem is.
  • Depending on your audience and the type of message they would best absorb, there are a number of strategies you can use.CARD: Level up the Newbies -New starters have a chance at changing culture before the culture changes them. Build their awareness and empathy and get them while they’re fresh - target the induction and training programs, and even go to the source, the schools that teach the skills. CARD: Hammer of Reality -Hard-hitting reality checks can quickly build awareness, by highlighting the problems and real-world implications. Use carefully and only if audience is the type that can handle the shock. Give immediate actions they can take.CARD: Room for Improvement -Gentle expansion of the audience's awareness of the world of access requirements, through examples that they can relate to and the benefits of improved access.Use as first choice on audiences who are likely to get overwhelmed and block out any negative messages.
  • We appreciate clever design. When we realise that people have considered the experience for people with wheels – luggage, prams, bicycles, trolleys, rollerskates, wheelchairs… it’s great when it works for everyone. I would have included skateboarders, but the ramp would probably be their least favourite item here.And it’s a really nice touch if we don’t have to ask for help, or need something specialised that sets us apart. When devices already have features built in, users who need specific font sizes find themselves free of needing extra devices. One lady got a bit of her world back, when her eyesight had deteriorated and she became legally blind – but she discovered the Kindle, with its large text, and she had her books back. This was life changing. Someone had thought of it. You can then stretch people’s understanding and empathy even more by discussing what ‘equivalent’ experience means. Image source:http://www.lift-stair.com/wheel-chair-stair-lift/attachment/stair-ramps-2/
  • Apathy is another attitude where the audience is simply not interested or concerned. They may be far-removed from or not know any individuals who have experienced access requirements, and don’t see how it affects them or why they need to bother.Do these quotes sound familiar?“I know what you’re saying, but I don’t really care”“Whatevs...”“It doesn’t affect me”
  • The way to deal with people who don’t care – is to make them care.CARD: Bag Of Shiny Things - Attract attention and engagement with incentives such as skills enhancement or make it part of their performance metrics, to answer that unasked question ‘What’s in it for me?’ Use to spark interest, when confronted with looks of boredom or indifference. Consider rewards and incentives. Build the profiles of teams who are able to implement accessible solutions, no matter how small or simple. It helps spread the knowledge, and others in the organisation then have more experts to talk to. And accessibility looks great on people’s resumes, after all. THAT should get some interest.CARD: Cloak of Visibility - Find ways to identify the individuals who are apathetic, deniers and bargainers, rather than not know who they are. Use to reveal people’s attitudes in order to pick the right strategy for them.The danger of not knowing who these people are is that you can have someone working against you without you knowing. The danger lies in addressing the loud “visible” opinions but not being able to address the concerns of the silent opposition…as you don’t know that it even exists!CARD: Elixir of Empathy +10 Bonus -Make them care by emphasising the human experience of accessibility. Focus on the impact on the individual, rather than just on the disability.  Use to demonstrate the inclusive nature of accessibility. If applied well, will lead to education, commitment and championing.
  • Here’s an example of how to use the CARD: Elixir of Empathy +10 Bonus.Bring it back to the human experience, which is your specialty as a UXer. It completely changes it from being a box-ticking exercise to one of good inclusive design.All of these people will benefit from web accessibility.
  • Deniershave actively taken a stance against action for accessibility. It’s difficult to move away from this attitude, because they have discounted the argument already. Accessibility is often seen as too hard, or “just not a problem”. It’s about culture and belief systems, rather than just facts.They say things like:“We don’t have any blind people using our site”“Accessible sites can’t be beautiful”“We only have 2 people using that internal system and they don’t have any disabilities”
  • The primary methods of dealing with deniers is to get them first with the head, then with the heart.CARD: Weapon of Mass Instruction -Statistics, case studies & user stories. Use when combating He Who Needs More Proof and when it is necessary to show ROI. Warning: information overload may backfire.CARD:Boots of Encouragement -Forceful encouragement for when individuals or teams need an extra ‘push’ to get moving. Use with individuals and teams to get them going in accessibility. Best applied to rear ends, not on toes.CARD: Shield of Face Saving -Help turn opposition into allies by letting blockers change their stance if they are not made to look like they were wrong. Use techniques to redirect attention from the opinions to the agreed achievable tasks.
  • 77% of people have a chronic condition in Australia (ABS 2006).Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer,arthritis, mental,neurological and sense disorders can result in both primary and secondary disabilities. For example,diabetes increases your risk of having eye problems and is a common factor for causing blindness. Similarly, some medications for heart disease can produce blurry vision and severe headaches.Close to 1 in 5 suffer a disability. Disability is defined as any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts everyday activities and has lasted or is likely to last for at least six months. The 18.5% figure is fairly consistent amongst developed countries, but may be higher in underdeveloped countries. An ageing population ensures that this figure is set to rise with rates of disability up to 41% of those aged 65-69 years, and up to 81% of those aged 85 years and over. These figures do not include mild conditions such as long sightedness or colour blindness or symptoms experienced by other conditions such as hand tremor. Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM) estimates that 18.5% of people have at least one disability that limits their use of the computer and internet.Accessibility barriers include people with temporary or permanent impairments including but not limited to:Visual impairments – low visual acuity, blindness, low vision, colour blindness, cataractsCognitive impairments – Attention Deficit Disorder, dyslexia, memory lossPhysical impairments – broken hand, tremors, quadriplegia and repetitive strain injuryAural impairments – hearing loss, deafness Photosensitive disorders – epilepsy, migraineThese statistics are indicative of statistics worldwide.Source:http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/bb8db737e2af84b8ca2571780015701e/6f443192d27b9360ca2571b00013d954!OpenDocumenthttp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/895A3D95B6ACAE9CCA2573D200107617?opendocument
  • All Government departments and agencies are required to implement the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS) WCAG version 2 over a four year period (by the end of 2014).“WCAG 2.0 is applicable to all online government information and services. Conformance is required on all government websites owned and/or operated by government under any domain.” - NTSThe scope includes all internet, intranet and extranet sites as well as business applications delivered via a web browser.Disability Discrimination Act 1992 - The Act aims to eliminate, as far as possible, discrimination against persons on the ground of disability in certain areas, including employment. http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2010C00023UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability - The Convention details the fundamental rights and freedoms of people with a disability to participate fully and independently in all aspects of society, including the internet and access to information. - http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtmlEqual Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 - The Act promotes equal employment opportunity for a range of identified groups. Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 - The Act aims to secure the health, safety and welfare at work of employees of the CommonwealthFreedom of Information Act 1982 - The Act provides the public with a right of access to many Commonwealth Records. List of acts: http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications/legislation.htm
  • Bargainers generally understand that accessibility needs to be addressed but their goal is usually to do the bare minimum required without affecting their scope, requirements and resources.Successful negotiation is where both parties come out with something beneficial. Things you’ll hear at this point are:“You can’t make our stuff accessible as it’s legal text”“What’s the minimum that we need to do?”“Who’s paying for this?”“We don’t have time to fix this.”While it’s important to be pragmatic, be careful that you don’t compromise to the point where you’re left with a terrible user experience. Recognise that there will always be some level of give and take at this stage, but ensure that you come back to build upon the agreed solution, towards a more accessible experience.
  • Look out!!!
  • Danger point... Beware the Zealots.The zealots can damage the bargaining process by demanding everything, potentially receiving nothing.
  • The bargainer’s mindset is often that they’re coming to the table and they’re doing YOU a favour. Be gracious, and help them achieve the outcomes they agree to.CARD: Catcher of Small Wins -Aim for a series of small wins to raise confidence and trust. Helps build strong foundations for further work. Useful in short timeframes or in hostile environments. CARD: Badges of Recognition -Recognise and celebrate achievements, both big and small. Use to help build win-win situations for all.CARD: Hand of Helpfulness -Many hands make lighter work, and a helping hand encourages deeper engagement through targeted checklists, 1-on-1 sessions & other helpful materials. Use to help lighten load on others and offer it with a friendly (and genuine!) smile
  • Here’s an example of how we use the CARD: Catcher of Small Wins -Getting developers, designers and content writers to develop the habit of adding alt text. It’s a small task, but a big win.
  • There are a lot of resources out there to make this material easier to digest – we have a few on our stamfordinteractive.com.au website
  • We love the Educated & Aware attitude. People with these attitudes are aware of accessibility, know it’s important and want to do something about it. Levels of accessibility knowledge may vary but they’re at that “oh crap, this stuff is important and we should totally do something about it” stage.Things you’d hear are:“Oh crap – there’s lots of work to do!”“This accessibility stuff is totally important! What do we do first?”“Can’t you just tell me if my site is accessible or not?”
  • Not again!?!
  • Danger point... once again, beware the Zealots.The zealots can damage the good will and they can negatively affect the culture that’s slowly being changed. People are learning along the way but might get unintentionally discouraged by the zealot’s inflexible nature and quest for accessibility perfection.It’s important to recognise that the end goal for zealots is the same for everyone – i.e. an accessible world, but the difference lies in the approach. Culture change is a slow difficult process. It cannot happen over night, or after a single education or training session.
  • Build the foundations.Nurture the Educated and Aware, and keep them growing so that they soon become Champions.CARD: Group Hugs -Gain strength and knowledge from support groups such as accessibility breakfasts, conferences and forums. Develop networks to help each other learn and acquire skills. Tap into what others have already done.Use for providing resistance to fatigue and increasing willpower.CARD: Ninjas -Find guerrilla advocates who can sneak accessible solutions into the workplace and make it look like it was always that way.Use when it is more effective just to get things done and avert battles.CARD: Direct Line to The Boss -Support right from the top provides the Power of Authority. Use when you need to Get Things Done.Show the execs what access issues are, and what they are responsible for. Get them to grant authority to promote the change.
  • There are great opportunities such as the OzeWAI conference, UX Australia, and Meetup groups such as the Sydney Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design group. There are communities in the different cities, and if you can’t find one, start one!
  • Commitment is the attitude where people or an organisation make a pledge or promise; people recognise and affirm their obligation.What you’ll hear are things like:“We need to secure funding...”“Let’s get our people trained up”“Yes, let’s do it!”(Well, they may not actually go around saying those, but we imagine they do, because that’s what their actions say.)
  • Behind you!!!
  • Danger point... Beware the Cowboys.Cowboys can undermine your organisation’s accessibility efforts by bypassing quality checks and controls. These are not to be confused with the Ninjas, who are after all, on your side. The Cowboys may have good intentions, but they may think they know better and are above the law. They’re likely to shoot you down if you get in the way. “We’re fixing it, and you’re just slowing us down”, they would say.They are dangerous because they can undermine a concerted effort to introduce and enforce quality checks and process; if thwarted they can become opposition. At this stage we need a concentrated & cohesive approach to accessibility.
  • When people are committed, it’s important to help them gain momentum. CARD: Oil of Efficiency -Grease the wheels. Set plans in motion to secure funding and get accessibility embedded into governance and systems development processes. Use to update the machinery of a committed organisation.CARD: A Very Big Stick -Sometimes hard heads need to get softened a bit. Remind them of the consequences of getting it wrong.Use when all other strategies have failed. In case of emergency, also use Direct Line to the Boss.
  • The great thing is that you can find combinations in how you use these cards! A good example is “A Very Big Stick” used with “Direct Line to the Boss”.Find the combinations that work for you.
  • Now champions are the breed of people who fight for the accessibility cause. They’re best recognised by their general state of exhaustion and frustration. They’re at the receiving end of the first three attitudes, and then often shoulder the responsibility for educating people in accessible design. It can be tiring work – all forms of resistance to them could look the same. Not everyone needs to be a champion, by the way. We’ll settle for ‘educated and aware’ and ‘committed’! After all, we can be champions for different interests. Just as we’re all ignorant of something or another.For the champions you DO have, or grow, make sure you support them. Give them time and access to networks and forums to build their knowledge and share their experiences. Reuse what has already been done well. Talk to other agencies. Don’t reinvent wheels. Make sure they have access to real users, so that they can test their solutions, and learn about specific access requirements in more depth. And give them the authority they need to be able to do their work.
  • So take care of your champions, and arm them well.CARD: A11ies -Go from strength to strength by building up a force of allies and friends within the organisation to help champion accessibility within their teams.Use for strength in numbers; makes for safer walks through code and car parks. (Note: A11y is the shorthand version of the word ‘accessibility’, to denote the number of letters between A and Y).CARD: Knuckles of Knowledge -Be an Authority based on detailed and balanced knowledge of the subject matter.Use when combating belligerent arguments or ignorant claims. Can be made more potent when combined with either Elixir of Empathy or Boots of Encouragement. CARD: Charm of Influence -Developthe ability to identify current attitudes, potential blocks and which strategy to use when trying to effect change.Use any time. Adding actual charm is highly recommended.CARD: Health Potion -Give positive reinforcement and sustenance to the battle-weary champion, by keeping them up to date with events, updates and latest information in the accessibility community. Use to reenergise champions when their batteries are starting to run flat.
  • Culture change takes time. People are more receptive to humour than they are to big sticks. Empathy is the biggest tool you’ll have working in your favour, so grow as much of it as you can. And identify the attitudes in your organisation – not to pigeonhole people, but to understand how best to communicate or to support them.
  • Our favourite quote from Margaret Mead reminds us that we can change the world.
  • We did promise 21.5 ways to win friends and influence people, so here’s the .5 tip – to be used if all else fails...Try cupcakes. Because they can’t stay grumpy at you WHILE eating your cupcakes.There is actually more to this than plain old bribery – establishing an environment around shared food actually helps bring teams together and can turn them into communities. So find a way to start it, and help build that community.
  • As this presentation wraps up, we would like to thank our good friend Supriya Perera for her beautifulillustrations of the Attitude Adjusters.
  • We’d also like to invite you to help raise funds for the team who develop NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access), a screen reader that they make freely available to the blind community. They are a not-for-profit team whose work is funded by donations from the community, so join us in supporting them. For this conference, we are giving the cards as our ‘thank you’ for any amount you can donate to them.(and their website is http://www.nvaccess.org/)
  • Thank you! And may your world be filled with champions. Champions, keep doing great things!If you’d like to get in touch, you can find us at Stamford Interactive. www.stamfordinteractive.com.au
  • 21.5 ways to adjust attitudes to accessibility

    1. 1. They want us to do WHAT?!?21.5 WAYSTO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE@KimChatterjee@RuthEllison @StamfordUXUX AUSTRALIA 2012
    2. 2. Kim Ruth PassionateWorking in the UX & A11y space for a combined 21 years
    3. 3. HANDS UP… …if you ever had to change a person’s or a group’s mind.
    5. 5. 1: TIME
    6. 6. 2: EMPATHY + HUMOUR
    7. 7. Source: http://accessibility-fail.dreamwidth.org/
    8. 8. 3: ATTITUDES
    9. 9. THE 7 ATTITUDES
    10. 10. THE ADJUSTERS
    12. 12. IGNORANCE It can’t be accessible AND usable
    13. 13. SHOW & TELL
    14. 14. APATHY not interested or concerned I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t really care Whatevs... It doesn’t affect me
    15. 15. MAKE THEM CARE
    17. 17. DENIAL an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc. is false A blind person wouldn’t shop on our site, they can just call anyway. We only have 2 people using that internal system and they don’t have any disabilities
    19. 19. 77 % adults have a chronic condition 15.2% from a non English speaking background 18.5% have a disability 8% 0.4% have a form of colour blindness
    20. 20. • Disability Discrimination Act 1992• UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability• Equal Employment Opportunity Act 1987• Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991• Freedom of Information Act 1982• Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy
    21. 21. BARGAINING negotiating on what each party shall give and perform You can’t make our stuff accessible as it’s legal text What’s the minimum that we need to do? Who’s paying for this? We don’t have time to fix this
    22. 22. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    23. 23. It’s all ornothing Because it’s the lawYou’re doing it wrong The Zealot
    24. 24. MAKE IT EASY
    25. 25. <img alt=“a cute pair of boobies” src=“boobies.jpg”>@KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/max_westby/404803711/
    26. 26. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    27. 27. EDUCATED+AWARE conscious of the importance of getting it right Oh crap – there’s lots of work to do! This accessibility stuff is totally important! What do we do first? Can’t you just tell me if my site is accessible or not?
    28. 28. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    29. 29. It’s all ornothingYou’re doing it wrong The Zealot
    31. 31. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    32. 32. COMMITTED dedication, application We need to secure funding... Let’s get our people trained up Yes, let’s do it!
    33. 33. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    34. 34. Move out of my wayThe cowboy
    35. 35. OVERSEE
    36. 36. @KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    37. 37. CHAMPION a person who fights for and defends the cause *facepalm*
    38. 38. SUPPORT THEM
    39. 39. THREE THINGS… TIME EMPATHY + HUMOUR ATTITUDES@KimChatterjee & @RuthEllison from @StamfordUX
    40. 40. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.”Margaret Mead
    41. 41. IF ALL ELSE FAILS
    42. 42. A BIG THANK YOU ... for her wonderful illustrationsOther credits:Speech bubbles - http://mediamilitia.com/thought-and-speech-bubbles-pack-104-free-vectors-and-images/Some fonts & images by Tom Murphy- http://fonts.tom7.com/
    44. 44. @KimChatterjee @RuthEllison