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BlogAwkward Silences

Accessibility, User Research, and Inclusive Design with Cat Noone, CEO of Stark

How teams can ship more accessible work, conduct diverse research, and embrace inclusive design from the start.

Carrie Boyd

This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH are chatting with Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, about accessibility, research, and inclusive design. Cat chatted about how building accessible products is a constantly evolving effort, helps people across the spectrum of ability (both temporary and permanent), and how teams can start working on accessibility efforts systematically.


[1:50] Accessibility is continually changing and evolving, so it's important to think of it that way.

[3:01] Accessibility is a side effect of inclusive design.

[12:59] Identify other people in your organization that may be able to work with you on accessibility and create a bridge between teams.

[15:08] Accessibility helps everyone, and framing it that way can help teams to understand its importance.

[23:09] Ethics change team culture, exposure changes executive's minds, profit and customer loss changes action.

[31:11] If you can, speak up about having the tools to do your job well.

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 Cat: [00:00:00] I think we need to focus on changing the narrative around this and understand that accessibility and compliance in general is a side effect of inclusive design. Hi everybody, and welcome back to Awkward Silences. We are here today with Cat Noone. She's the CEO of Stark. Stark's a modern suite of integrated tools to help your product development team ship fully accessible and in turn legally compliant products.

Erin: [00:00:47] So I know. Many of us are thinking about accessibility a lot these days, and we are thrilled to dedicate an episode to talking about it. So thanks so much for joining us, Cat.

Cat: [00:00:58] Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

 Erin: [00:01:01] Got JH here too.

JH: [00:01:03] Yeah. I feel like an important part of learning is admitting stuff you don't know. And I actually don't know that much about accessibility, which is a little scary to say out loud, but, you know, no, some of the basics, but excited to learn a lot more.

Erin: [00:01:14] Yes.  talk to us like we're first graders because, you know, don't worry about offending. So, yeah. Let's start from the beginning. Um, I imagine we're talking to a range of listeners in terms of expertise on accessibility. let's assume some people, maybe. Are hearing about accessibility? Know it's something we should be thinking about, but really not a lot about, you know, why it matters and how to prioritize it.

Right. if we're talking about not the 80% of our customers, right, but a smaller percentage, why is accessibility so important.

Cat: [00:01:50] Well, I think, I think that's the, you know, the, a few things worth covering in there that. you know, even us, we're not experts on this. And I think it's hard to be experts on something that's continually changing, you know, from regulations to, to technology in general, right? So, accessibility, you know, a decade ago is different.

Than what it is now. Why? Because, you know, at one point it was just web and now it's, it's software as a, as a whole. And, you know, mobile comes into the picture. So, I think there's, there needs to be this understanding that, you're not this like one time flat deal accessible, and then you never have to touch it again in the same way that you're not this one time flat deal, expert in accessibility.

The other thing, regarding accessibility is that, you know, when we look at, we look at our product, whatever it is we're building, and you know, we're designing and building that. I think it's easy to, to look at it and say, you know, individuals have benefit from accessibility or this small chunk is small trench.

and, and they're an edge case, if you will. But I think we need to focus on changing the narrative around this and understand that accessibility and compliance in general is a side effect of inclusive design. And so our job as designers and for that matter, engineers is to obviously solve the problem.

Uh, it's to service the business. And it's important to understand that accessibility is two sides of one coin. It's the business side of it, and there's the ethical side. and, the third point in our role is to create an experience that can be usable for everyone. And I think when those things happen, you know, you start to have a few people that are just like, well, we know we can't create for everyone.

And yes, of course you cannot create for every single human being in existence, you know? But that's where like extremism comes into play and you're just like, let's not ha, we're not getting into semantics here.  but

if you're doing your job properly. you know, and, and, and, and ticking off those boxes, then, you're already halfway there. But, you know, that's one of the gotchas regarding this, you know, you can be entirely usable and not compliant. but for us, we realized that it's more exciting and impactful to focus on inclusion and user experience.

So we try to, to switch it from that point of view. And you know, with the understanding that, look, you know, when you're, when you're going into design, because this should start with designers, you know, doing so any other ways? Starting half, you know, half assets as backwards and, Oh am I, am I allowed to say, am I, let's say ass.

JH: [00:04:26] Yeah.

Cat: [00:04:29] Um, anything else? His ass backwards and, and so with, you know, starting with designers, you know, there are these basic things that you need to cover and, ,  the biggest thing is, can people actually see. What you just designed, you know, and, uh, I like to joke around and say, like, we still cannot see that light gray no matter what.

No matter how good your eyes are, we can frickin see the light gray. , covering these very basics, like, you know, does the color in general, can it be seen by everyone? You know, turn your, turn your device, uh, down to 50% go out and stand out in the sunlight?

Like, can you see it still. you know, little hacks that we can do to, to test our work. And the other is typography. You know, can that be seen? and also can it be read? Because the legibility and readability are two different things, right? 

The other is just an overall experience.

You know, I think we go through these like ticks of, did we cover it for individuals that are hard of sight or that are hard of hearing, you know, so, can an individual that can't see, use this with a screen reader, you know, is our, like our type hierarchy. Done properly from heading one down to body copy down to like heading four, you know, these are you.

You go through and you realize that you end up being accessible when you do your job properly. These, these, these, these fundamental, these foundational principles that we should be covering when done right. impact. Your design in more ways than you realize accessibility is a byproduct. and so, yeah, that's the, that's, that's kind of the way that we're thinking about it.

Erin: [00:06:03] Yup.

So you T you talked about kind of the big three, right? You talked about accessibility, inclusion, inclusivity, and compliance, right? How do those three things all fit together and how do you think of, you know, the, the underlying sort of opportunity and problem that you're trying to solve around those as they relate to the overall user experience?

Cat: [00:06:26] Well, when you create an inclusive experience, and you do it properly and you abide by these, these very basic guidelines, as a designer or engineer, it puts you on a path to being accessible. and when you're an accessible, you're complying with regulation. There's high level, and then there's these immediate everyday problems. And for us, you know, we look at the big picture, and you know, we say , it's much more than a contrast checker and a colorblind simulator for us. You know, those for us were.

the Trojan horse, if you will, the one that, that allowed us to understand, it gave us permission, to even sit next to you and ask like, Hey, can we have a conversation about this? Here's what we're trying to do. and so we look at these high level and immediate everyday problems, and we see,  you know, that regulation It's actually snowballing now. You know, law that has existed for a while now is actually being enforced, which is a great thing. well, it's a great thing for those who are impacted, 

and so that puts a financial risk and burden on software companies.  But one of the biggest problems in this space for individuals  is that, there's fear about how to execute on these things, about where to start, about how to understand the, the language around the regulation.

It's the, which is, which is so damn ironic that, that the, the language itself around how to, how to abide by these regulations is in itself inaccessible.

if it's not human readable, if it's not digestible, people can't access that information. It's null and void at that point. And so for us, you know, it's like, how do we take that information and turn it down into this, this really, I don't want to say basic, but this, these, this actionable and digestible content that you can then take and, and know how to do your job properly.

And, You know it, the other is that it costs a lot of money to create compliant software right now. And, because these things come together, they puts the business at risk. You know, that's the, cost of retrofitting work that you screwed up from the beginning. the potential lawsuits that can come and then the public exposure and, and, you know, with that profit and customer loss, it's like both sides are, are impacted here negatively by the job not being done properly from the start. So why isn't this fixed?

Erin: [00:08:47] Yeah. You kind of talked about, there's like all these different ways to sort of doing the right thing, whether it's legally you have to and it's being enforced, or it's a bigger opportunity for your business and you'll make more money or ethically and morally, right. You're sort of doing the, you know, the Hippocratic oath of the designer of.

Is there one of those there should be of, you know, being empathetic. Right? Cause I do think when you talk about. Right? Like, it's inaccessible to figure out how to be accessible. And if I can hazard maybe a bad analogy, I'm thinking about the recent Obama thing that went viral of like, you know, trying to out PC each other, right?

Or where it's like there's this fear of, if I'm not being accessible enough, I'm gonna like get called out by the accessibility. Police for even trying, you know what I mean? And it's like, that doesn't feel right. Right? Like progress over perfection. and so, you know, with all of that in mind and the sort of overwhelmingness I think of taking that first step or those first few steps, how do you recommend people go about getting started getting on this path to being more inclusive and accessible.

Cat: [00:10:05] look, I think, I think, to have a conversation about, About reactions and what have you. I think we need to talk about, you know, social media and the dynamics that exist in there as a whole. And that involves extremism. And I think it's important to acknowledge and recognize that there is extremism on both sides.

and. At the same time, I think it's important to recognize that people, who are impacted negatively by products not being accessible are just really sick of this shit. You know? And I can understand that they're just like, you know, they're at this like, what the fuck moment? You know, where, where they just you know, it's, it's hard to justify being able to relaunch and reuse rockets and put them in space and that the internet is 99% inaccessible.

Erin: [00:10:52] Yup. And so what are the, what are the biggest offenders of that, you know, when we say like, is 99% of the internet, like 50% inaccessible? Like how do you think of accessibility in terms of percentages or completeness or is it binary? You know, what does that mean that the internet is 99% inaccessible?

Cat: [00:11:10] Yeah. I don't like talking about things in a binary way. I feel like it groups things into like this black or white and some things are, but, Like I said, accessibility is this like continued process. You're, you're, you're always needing to, do what you have to, to be continually accessible. So you can, you can meet those guidelines, and push to production and everything's grand.

But as soon as you introduce a new feature or push a new line of code, you could have very well, introduced, uh, something that completely, throws you off course. having said that, you know, we can say like, Oh my God, you know, uh, 70% of this is, is impacted by it. And it's like, well, how many people are included in that? Right? and so when you look at. The internet, the internet, the internet is a big place.  there's like an unfathomable amount of results that, you know, that make up the internet. 

`And, I think it's important to focus on the fact that we are armed with the information to do our job properly. Now, there will probably be millions of sites that, are never retrofitted, to be accessible, probably because they're just, they don't exist anymore, or they're just, you know, dormant.

But. There's no excuse at this point as to why we can't be doing what we have to, and what we need to in order to make our work, whether it's our website, whether it's our, our, you know, mobile OS or app, accessible. and so for us, when we say, okay, you know, you're just, you're just getting started in this world of accessibility.

You're just, you were just made aware. or you were just given the okay to move forward with it. I think it's important to, to. To understand that you need to first and foremost establish, a bridge among silos. you know, amongst other disciplines in your organization, that we'll be working with you on this.

So, you know, the engineer who was teamed up with you, the PM that's teamed up with you, um, needs to be on board with this. 

 for me, those specs, that understanding, you know, starts there and, and, and it becomes, okay, what. What needs to be done for this project. And that's where, you know, having a conversation about these ancillary benefits outside of accessibility, start to become useful. So, you know, what does it look like to create a design system, which will ensure that, you know, these, these situations happen less because you're, you're sticking with what, you know.  

JH: [00:14:18] I've always found when you're trying to get like other stakeholders to care about this stuff, or at least the things that have resonated most with me, and I think you kind of got through it a little bit earlier of, you know, stuff have been binary. It's like users are not like in need of accessibility or not.

It's very contextual. And I think when you're able to like point out examples where it benefits everybody, right? Where it's like you see curb cuts and you're like, well, I'm not in a wheelchair.

And so you don't think they're relevant for you. But then somebody points out when like. Well, do you ever push a stroller or do you ever, you know, deal with a roller bag when you're going to the airport and you start to realize like, Oh, these things do benefit a really wide set of people in certain contexts when they need them.

And I think if you do that same sort of thing, like you were kind of pointing out of like, do people use this, you know, experience this out in sunlight or do people do this when they're, when they only have one arm and stuff like that.

Cat: [00:15:01] exactly.

JH: [00:15:03] is is really compelling cause I think it is sometimes tough. Like obviously the moral argument is very strong.

In terms of like why this is important in the regulations, the regulations are following that. Um, so you'd hope that would be enough. But I think sometimes people do fall into the trap of like, well, maybe it is a small percent of our users, but if you can kind of like educate and illuminate that, like it's actually kind of all of our users, just depending on what context they're in.

That feels like a really good way to bring people into the fold, if that makes sense.

Cat: [00:15:27] Yeah. And I, and I think it also like context matters, right. You know, when I went, when I said what I did earlier about, understanding your user base, and, you know, understanding the problem you set out to solve.   understanding your users and having conversations with them, you know, during user testing with individuals with disabilities.

Like that's the one thing that I continually pound on is, is are you testing with individuals that fall into a wide spectrum of abilities and disabilities? Because. Like you said before, you know, it can be that the individual, you know, who has a temporary or a situational disability is impacted in the same way that someone with a permanent disability is impacted.

but either way, you're completely removing those people from being able to convert into users. And at that point, you start to, you know, not even, not even so much as lawsuit, but you. You show that there's just a lack of a competency. There's a lack of diligence that's put in to your work as a company because you simply didn't consider humans.

And you know you have individuals cause this is how we think. You have individuals that are like, well, well. Damn, I only have a broken arm. I just, I want to be able to use this, but I can't because I don't have access to this hand right now. and now you've just lost that, that customer and that customer tells another person.

and it seems so, it seems so basic, but that outrage that comes from individuals that comes from users, especially in a world that is this like permanent microphone is echo phone, you know, is just, it.

Reverberates around the internet, and then you're, I don't, you, you're more in trouble with exposure then lawsuits, you know, you can, you have a, you have a team of people dedicated for lawsuits, and that doesn't mean you're not negatively impacted.

But public exposure, in my opinion, is far more grand than, lawsuits.

JH: [00:17:30] The two comms that come to mind, like in the history or you know, saga, product development, different but somewhat related in the retrofitting challenges are like test coverage of your code base and then like responsiveness of your design. Right. And both, if you started off without building test suites from the start and now you have this big legacy application, or you started off building a site, you know, in the early two thousands it wasn't.

Responsive to different screen list and stuff like that. it's a real hard problem to go back and figure out how you actually retrofit it and how you start to get test coverage and how you start to make things responsive. whereas if you start that way, like as people do now, when you're building a new app from scratch in 2020, like it's going to be responsive from day one.

It's going to have task numbers from day one. accessibility feels very similar in that regard. Like if you start with it from the start. Your life can be a lot easier. but if you have to retrofit an existing application, it's harder. Like, where do people start when they're going on that journey?

Cause it seems like there's, it's kind of almost overwhelming and like paralyzing to some degree.

Cat: [00:18:24] when they, when they start on the journey of retrofitting, you mean.

JH: [00:18:27] Yeah. You're looking at your current app and you're like, our colors are off in certain places. Our typography's not great. We don't have, you know, good documents structure in terms of how we're using headers. Like it just, it feels like if you went through the list, you'd have a pile of like a hundred things you need to fix.

Like how do teams start breaking that down and like make sense of it? Have you seen people do that successfully?

Cat: [00:18:45] Yeah, for sure. for the companies that have to retrofit it is time consuming. It is expensive. and so. What we advise and what we've seen companies do is break it down into these very basic, tasks. You know, it can be that, you know, in, in sprint, sprint five, of the year, you know, you realize that, we, we actually need to tackle accessibility and, and you decide, okay, in this one, in this cycle, we're gonna only focus on color.

You know, we're going to nail that down. And at that point. It doesn't become overwhelming for anyone in that that project, you know, the designer, the engineer, the PM, because the designer has something to work on. The engineer has other things to work on too, but can can change that in the code. The PM has digestible and actionable items that they can feed to both, designer and engineer.

And also understand the general scope of the project while prepping for that sprint six and so, you know, doing something like, you know, focusing on color and then focusing on typography the next and, and you know, when you're focusing on typography, maybe in, there you go and you work on the, the alt text, you know, in the aria labeling and, and, and so if.

You do it like any sprint that you would do, break it up into, items that simply work for what you're doing. It's much better and much more affordable then bringing in someone specific to work on this. and then they're siloed off from the individuals who, whose responsibility it is. Yes, but, but realistically, who should be able to determine what happens here.

You know, I think that's part of it is that you have these like break offs in the companies that are dedicated strictly to this. and not saying that doesn't work for a lot of organizations. It does, but creating silos, is, is just an inherent, it's it, it doesn't work. It doesn't work. And so, I'm a, I'm a big proponent where a big proponent of, of just digestible, actionable items. 

Erin: [00:20:57] Yeah. When you talk about digestible action items, are you talking about that kind of list of the 10 you know, things? Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, to me it's really interesting, this sort of. I dunno, maybe these things aren't in conflict, but in the one hand, I think it's super useful to, when you're getting started with something like, give me the list.

If I do nothing else, what do I need to know? What's on my checklist manifest? So what's going to make a difference for the most people? I'm obviously super useful and having a tool, right? That helps to automate that. Super useful. On the other hand, part of it is just that empathy thing, right? To of of. are you talking to people who are, you know, have different abilities and disabilities, as you said?

And keeping those, you know, use cases in mind when building whatever you're building because no list is ever going to tell you exactly right. No, this is going to outsource empathy. how do you build that muscle of empathy and getting better at accessibility beyond a checklist? How do you do that and take advantage of the checklist, right? Like, you know, like what, how do you, think about that.

Cat: [00:22:07] Yeah. So, so the checklist that we put together in that we feed off to people and when they reach out to us, directly in this, like, Oh my God, what do I do moment? is. So that they see that this is something that can be broken down. They don't need to do all the things all at once and stop production of anything that they're doing.

because automatically people think, Oh, I have to be, you know, we, our, our, our team has to be, our product has to be accessible and compliant. We have to halt efforts. you know, for, for some software. That's just, it's, it's not possible. especially given what they're doing. and so that for us is just something to show you that this can be done.

it eases that anxiety. Now, when it comes to empathy, you know, the way we, the way we break it down is that, the ethical side of this, is. Is what you'll get from the team itself. So you're going to get ethics and an empathy bleeding through, the team. And then, so ethics, should we say  changes team culture.

then, for us, exposure changes, executive mind, and then profit and customer loss changes. Action. it's usually in, in, in resisting companies. That's the funnel we see. And so in general though, you've, you. And in the, the two years we're doing this, we've, we've talked to thousands upon thousands of designers and engineers.

We've yet to find an organization where empathy, wasn't already existing there. and there are, there are a couple of, where there, there are some people in the organization, at least on the, the team level. that's the non C level non-executive level, that are just like, we don't need to do this.

This isn't, this isn't a priority right now. 

Erin: [00:23:56] yeah. You talked about, you know, making sure to talk again to a broader spectrum of folks when you're doing your user research and your user testing. And I think probably that too will help you, especially if you're doing sort of, you know, discovery research or earlier on research and trying to understand your problem space before you get to the point of.

You know, fonts and, and things like that, right? Like, what kind of solution is going to help the most people? How, what's a good rule of thumb or a way to think about, making sure to get, be inclusive when you're doing that research? You know, you think about. we're going to talk to five or 10 people for this study that we're doing.

Do you literally just sort of, okay, quota one of those people needs to, you know, have some kind of disability, right? Or also with the broader conversation around inclusivity, right? You want to talk to men and women in different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, so how do you think about just making sure, you're, you're doing your duty there to get those voices in early enough.

To really design the right solution for, for folks

Cat: [00:25:01] Yeah. I think exactly what you just said.  in order to determine whether or not this is an inclusive experience, we need to have a group of individuals, that can test it and putting that together, in my opinion, before you start the project.

That's part of that due diligence, that research phase, is, is where I would couple it. you know, not when you're starting the work, but. I'm in that research phase when you're going through and understanding what you need in order to do your job accordingly. those human beings are what you need in order to determine, you know, whether or not you did your job right.

and being able to, to toss it to them. And, you know, they are in a lot of ways, our extended team. and I think that's something that you can't put a price on. I mean, you can if you get sued, but, That's something that has a drastic ripple effect in the way that you go about designing and building your product. And at that point, you also start to have these ancillary benefits where you have numbers that you can bring to stakeholders.

And I think that's the biggest thing that we, that we see is that people say, you know, well, you know, stakeholders aren't letting me do it, and it becomes. Have you only talked about the ethical side, because unfortunately the ethical side from for a lot of stakeholders isn't going to do it. But if you have this work that you've done, and you've showed that with X amount of people in that testing group,  at that point, you're, you're able to quantify that.

There's a, there's a value on that. You see, Where that profit and customer loss is going to come into play, but you can't do that if you test with, you know, this very specific, very basic expected stereotypical testing group. 

JH: [00:26:42] Can I, I'm just, to back up for a second. can I kind of put designers on the hot seat for a second here? Cause,

Cat: [00:26:46] Wow. Why 

JH: [00:26:47] I think what you would just, what you just said, right, was like, take this to stakeholders and get their buy in for prioritizing accessibility. But like, when I think about like how we got here, right?

And like, how the internet is not as accessible as it should be. It's like when you think of the original, like HTML spec, like we've had alt tags on images like forever, the headers and the document structure and the tab keyboard navigation and like focus States in inputs and stuff, right? Like in somewhere, we decided that like the, you know, the stock browser styles and experiences weren't what we wanted.

And people started, you know, creating custom menus and inputs and overriding stuff. And a lot of that was done in a way that wasn't accessible or we started using like, to your point, the light grays and stuff that became popular as a visual trend. 

like, so is it like the, I don't want to like say that designers caused that divergence, but, right.

But like at some point now, they're the same people have to fix it. Or like what is the connection there? Cause like if you make a site right now, right? Just using plain HTML markup. It's pretty accessible, like just out of the box. Right. And so like we've done something to kind of pervert that along the way.

Cat: [00:27:49] yeah, for sure. you know, I think, you know, you have, you know, you have these very basic frameworks that are, you know, set out for you to be able to take and then, you know, skin it how you want. that's part of what helps people fall in love with the products that we create for them, aside from the fact that it solves a problem.

It solves a need that they have. but, part of our job is, is to make it beautiful. that is part of the definition of good design. I think a few things happen along the way. one is, that we've lost a lot of the foundational principles of design and engineering, that take these things into account.

 you know, I think. I think it's a joint responsibility. We are responsible as designers to make sure these things are covered, and then we're responsible to hand that off to engineers and say, here's, here's what needs to be done. That's our responsibility, the design work and the handoff.

But I think it's important to note that engineers should be in that conversation too. You know, designers and engineers should be sitting at that table when the ideas conceptualized, when you figure out how you're going to tackle that problem. and you know, I was having a conversation the other day about like, someone was talking about this like aesthetic accessibility paradox and I'm like, there is no fucking paradox.

It's our job to make sure that it looks good and can be used by everyone. This is, this is not a novel thing. This is just as a job. It always has been, like you just said from the very start, this, this is, this is it. Nothing has changed there. 

We need to depend on each other. You know, once my work is handed over to an engineer, it's my job to make sure it's being implemented properly. and then it's, it's my job to continue to make sure that users are being able to navigate it the, in the same way that they were during prototyping. Do you know, during user testing?

but nobody in this as, Oh, just another cog on the wheel, you know. And we're all responsible. You know? It's not, you know, a design team isn't just a team full of designers.

JH: [00:29:53] Right, right. Yeah. I like the way you said like it's, you know, it's not a paradox. Like we need to do both. Like if something looks beautiful but isn't accessible, like that's not a good solution. If something looks like shit but is accessible, like that's not a great solution either. Like the challenge is working within the constraints to do both, right?

Like, and I think sometimes maybe we've, we've lost sight of the need to check both boxes. Perhaps.

Cat: [00:30:13] We also lost sight of the fact that, it's OK to be criticized for what we're doing. You know? No. Like there's this whole thing about. Like giving proper feedback. And that's just a byproduct of the fact that people suck at communication, especially in the age of, of, you know, technology and social media.

people don't know how to deliver, feedback in a way that is human. But, it's important to call this shit out. You know, like you're, you know, when, when you, when you step out of that like accessibility, aesthetic, paradox that everybody's talking about, which doesn't exist, you. It just gets boiled down to, you didn't do your job.

You did not do your job. And now, depending on what you're doing, that can mean that you, you run the risk of killing someone. or you know, they can't properly use, you know, their, their, their wheelchair, or you know, what have you. Ha. There's a, there's a.

A wide variety of impact that comes from designers and engineer's not doing their job.

And that's not always there. their fault initially, but I think, if you have the ability to stand up for these things, if you have, the space, on the privilege of affording being fired because you know, you can get another job, then I think it's important to go ahead and voice. Your opinion, you know, you were hired to do a job as a designer and engineer.

tell them how they're not allowing you to do your job properly. and if they say, you know, look, this is what it's being used for and there's no arguments, tell them to go fuck themselves. You know, there's that, that's it. Like there, there should be no reason why. We are accepting, putting people in harms way.

and, and that's not, you know, not everybody can afford to do that. I understand that. but there are plenty of people in these companies that can, and, you know, the basics haven't changed. Our job hasn't changed. technology has, and, and we need to understand how, those foundational principles and the things that we need to cover in our job.

you know, fit into this, you know, this new world.

Erin: [00:32:12] So, Kat, you, you know, you've been focused on accessibility for years now. And, we talked at the beginning about how there is more awareness and buzz and people talking about.

You know, trying to be, be more inclusive and accessible in their work. What is your general sort of take on where we are and where we're going?

Are you optimistic? Are, you know what you know, and no one

what's going to happen in the next five years, but what, where do you see things going and what's your general mood about it?

Cat: [00:32:48] I think in general, I'm extremely optimistic about it, because we see just how. these big topics, these controversial topics, these heavy topics, start out. And that chatter starts out and, and, and conversations internally and externally, start happening. And you see that and you can, you can gauge where things are going.

 I think we're strong enough to deal with the uphill battle that comes with it. I think their strength, that strength is there. I think we have enough people to push everyone forward. But I think that's important too, is that when we get up to that Hill, we need to turn around and pull people up, and, and help them.

And it, it only takes a few. And so, for me, I'm happy that this chatter is happening, we're not experts on this too. this is a continual learning process. We're learning from each other, and I think it's important to be able to allow people to make those mistakes, um, and understand it's our job as, as executives and, and senior designers, you know, these vets to, to bring junior and, you know, new designers up and inform them.

and I think with technology, I'm happy to, to have stark in that, that ring with technology.

I think it'll make the lives of teams a lot easier in that it will give them the tools they need to do their job properly. and I think that's part of the battle too, is that, The tools previous to stark existing just aren't there. They're fragmented. They're low tech, and they're not beautiful.

They're in accessible, you know, they're not easy to use. And so, by designing tools, like stark to help teams, already puts them in a position to succeed. and I think that's, that's a big part of it.

Erin: [00:34:26] Fantastic.

Carrie Boyd

Content Creator

Carrie Boyd is a Content Creator at User Interviews. She loves writing, traveling, and learning new things. You can typically find her hunched over her computer with a cup of coffee the size of her face.

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