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Insightful and horrifying:
Blimey, imore.com has a cool (not cool) 100 trackers on its homepage.
Got our EORI number, so by the UK government’s standards, I’m as prepared for no deal as I need to be… 😑
Given that Apple have just removed Do Not Track from Safari because it was being used for tracking via “fingerprinting”, the decision to add trackability for assistive tech is baffling.
Léonie Watson wrote very clearly on this specific issue years ago: Thoughts on screen reader detection.
I’m so angry and want to write more about this, but I also want to get a Better update out today (going to try to smash those trackers before they get to you.) In short:
TRACKING IS BAD and invasive. Consent dialogs are not good enough for consent, let alone opt-out options. Discrimination based on tracking impacts marginalised and vulnerable people first and most. Yet 99% of the web is complicit in it. Go check yourselves. I regularly post links about the impact of tracking on the Ind.ie Radar if you want more background.
Looking forward to Think About! conference. It’s designed to be properly inclusive, has some great-sounding talks in the lineup, and me and Aral are doing our first ever keynote together. Only a couple of weeks left on “regular bird” tickets: Think About! conference
Can’t wait to read Everyday Information Architecture and learn more from Lisa Maria Martin. If you work in anything that touches the web, this book will be indispensable. Pre-order it now!
“We, by way of our platforms, give agency and credence to these acts of violence, then pilfer profits from them. Tech is a money-making accomplice to these hate crimes.”
Tatiana Mac writes so clearly and powerfully, also giving us real guidance for action. Stop what you’re doing and read this:
I’m sick of playing weekly whack-a-mole with nasty trackers on popular sites. If a site is trying this hard to invade our privacy & extract our personal information, we should stop visiting them, regulate them as malware, shut them down, and fire everyone responsible into the sun.
THIS is the rallying cry I needed on a Monday morning…
“But if we are going to talk about smashing patriarchy and dismantling systems of oppression (as we should!), we need to understand the role of surveillance and data exploitation in perpetuating and enhancing those systems”
Facebook’s lobbying against pro-privacy regulation is awful. Using Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In as an attempt to bond with commissioners who are women is a-whole-nother-level icky.
I wish tech journalism would find more diversity in the experts whose opinions they quote. I want to hear from experts who understand and represent the needs and concerns of people from marginalised groups. (And I couldn’t care less about what yet another startup CEO farts out.)
They’re making a Discovery spinoff about Section 31 starring the Philippa Georgiou character? YES PLEASE.
“The white Other still benefits from white supremacy. We face discrimination, trauma, pain, violence, exclusion, but it is not the goal of our societal structures. It is more often a product of it.”
I’ve always known seating, tables, phones and lecterns weren’t built for me, but didn’t realise my car isn’t designed for me to drive and, because of that, could easily kill me.
So far my 30s have been about embracing stuff I missed out on in my teens and early 20s because I thought it was “too girly” and “cliché.” Turns out wearing pink, listening to pop and doing facemasks is just fun.
Sorry to folks subscribing to my Notes and Photos on RSS. You’ll have just got a big dump of posts from the last couple of months. It turns out updating these things manually, then being ill, is less than ideal…
Why waste time on social media, I’m going to go outside and shriek into the wind instead.
Give me strength to deal with the men (sorry men, it’s always men) who read something I’ve written and reply with instructions I didn’t need nor asked for.
I’m late to the party, but this article by Eric Bailey contains so much good and clearly-written advice on browser defaults that benefit our web experience and have a big impact on accessibility. Bookmarking it for future reference and to win arguments!
I can understand journalists not having the ability to effect change in a publication’s dodgy practices and funding model.
But this article is written by “The Editorial Board.”
Last time we checked for Better, nytimes.com was loading 29 third-party trackers.
There is nothing less reassuring than the HMRC’s updates on Brexit.
No wait! There is something less reassuring… the HMRC’s “Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU” tool. Where you answer 7 questions and it gives you a long list of vague and unhelpful information.
(Not a fault of the tool so much as it being impossible to provide clear information about an unclear situation.)
The new Skunk Anansie live album is immense and is bringing back brilliant memories of joyful gigs ❤️
I’ve discovered how to survive a hellishly busy Stansted airport: glass of champagne, blasting Mogwai in my earphones, and writing up some thoughts on blockchain.
Started reading Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism on my flight. It is 🔥🔥 terrifying 🔥.
I’ve put my slides from yesterday’s talk, ‘People might actually use this’ online with accompanying text. It’s not a transcript, but when the video is up, I’ll post it (with captions) so you can get a real idea of how inarticulate I am in person.
If you care about the people joining the web community, please read this. Access is incredibly important, we need more technology shaped by folks who don’t come from privilege. (And tools and frameworks not determined by people with ulterior motives.)
Whenever I’m at a conference’s diversity panel, I can’t help but feel we’re sitting here begging to be included. The power dynamic is already against us, and it’s tiring always having to make arguments from a position of perceived inferiority.
I’ve made it, I’ve finally been called an SJW on Reddit.
Ah crypto = cryptocurrencies. cons = conferences.
Still, this one is a truly original comic genius.
Meritocracy is not a “cool governance model.” It’s a model that values and reinforces privilege. #aracon
Panel question “How do we ensure we’re not just creating new elites in the people who understand blockchain…?” Panellists: silence.
Hi Berlin. You’re cold. And I forgot how much people smoke here.
Nearly a year ago I gave a talk at Webstock, and was really pleased with it. It brings together my work on accessibility/inclusivity and ethics. This week, I finally put the slides online in a lovely readable format. (You can find the video there too.)
(Thanks to Notist for making it really easy to upload slides and convert them into something more accessible.)
If you find human rights in tech an overwhelming topic/don’t know where to start, I really recommend David Meyers’s Connected Rights newsletter.
It’s easy to read, and David’s recent use of “positively homeopathic fine” made me spit coffee down myself.
Google is not your friend.
And if you only optimise your sites for Chrome, and don’t test in other browsers, you are not just a lazy developer, but also complicit in exposing people to tracking.
Update: Two days since I posted this tweet and I’ve learned developers are way more defensive about being called lazy than they are about being complicit in tracking 😬
Just misread a thing about ssh tips as “shh tips” and yeah I think some people could do with those tips too.
(East) Londoners! I’m on a panel about ethics in design on Monday night. Come say hello if you’re going to be there. Tickets are free, but it looks like you’ll want to be there nice and early to get a seat!
Well pleased to be included in this lineup. Loads of good advice from Strong Feelings to take into 2019. (If you don’t already listen to the podcast, you should! Katel and Sara are true beacons of light in a dark industry.)
Make things change: 9 moods for 2019—These nine lessons from women entrepreneurs, authors, and activists will get you hyped for 2019—and keep you feeling steady, no matter what the year throws at you.
This article is really informative and helpful. (My feminism tries to be intersectional, trans-inclusive, and perpetually attempting to be less ignorant.)
Just saw yet another insightful and popular tweet by a woman where the replies are filled with men trying to improve upon what she is saying or make room for themselves.
Stop it. Just stop it. If you agree with a person’s perspective, retweet it! It doesn’t have to be about you.
I’m not saying don’t reply. But don’t bother if: - you’re just repeating their point back at them - your reply can be summed up as “yes I think so too” (this sounds as pompous on the internet as it does in person)
I’m so tired of participating in the tech industry being an endurance test in fragile masculinity.
I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion of this article, ‘“Owning your data” will not save you from data capitalism’ but I think it makes a few particularly useful points:
Perhaps saying “owning and controlling your own data” (a phrase we use a lot at Ind.ie) is misleading. We use it because, right now, corporations do own and control data about us, and so it makes sense that the inverse is that we (individuals) own and control that data. Maybe the emphasis should be on control. Maybe there are better words.
Endless practical advice coming from 24accessibility this year. Just read ‘I Threw Away my Mouse’ (inspired by Laura Carvajal) by Manuel Matuzović and it has so many examples of common issues and best-practice corrections for keyboard navigation.
This time of year is great for my RSS reader. 24accessibility 24ways and Notist are especially fab.
This time of year is great for my RSS reader. 24accessibility 24ways and Notist are especially fab.
Because I’ve been living under a social media rock, I didn’t realise there was an update to Heydon Pickering’s Inclusive Components book. Inclusive modal dialogs! (Useful after all the whinging I’ve done about modals lately…)
Only €18, you should treat yourself:
Turns out that VoiceOver pronounces my surname correctly, so I’m going to use that next time a human being keeps mispronouncing my name even though I told them how.
Veeeery windy on the Cork coast today. Hoping we don’t all blow away.
No wonder David Meyer sounds exasperated in this week’s Connected Rights newsletter. Lots of sensible suggestions, and a vital read if you’re in the EU/EU-adjacent.
At this point, I’m pretty sure that the tech industry uses “engagement” as a euphemism for “addiction.”
If you care about inclusive design and accessibility, you must buy Inclusive Components. I refer to Heydon’s writings on a weekly basis to make sure I’m not making a mess of my designs and dev. Truly invaluable work.
Best thing I’ve read on the topic (algorithmic accountability) in ages: Algorithms alone can’t meaningfully hold other algorithms accountable, as posted on the Ind.ie Radar.
Book recommendations towards the end: Algorithms of Oppression by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, and Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks.
Hire me as a consultant to improve your site’s performance*!
* I’ll tell you to remove your ridiculous third-party trackers, then shame you for invading your site visitors’ privacy. You’ll be embarrassed, but I’ll have shaved off 200+ requests, ~2mb, and cut load time in half.
Sleepy day, but I’ve managed to add a load of Twitter feeds to my RSS reader, so I feel like I’m making more progress towards removing my “for keeping up” need to use Twitter.
This Saturday 18th August 2018, it’s one year since I announced I’d written Accessibility For Everyone. And that announcement got more attention that I could’ve imagined.
As a result of that early publicity, A Book Apart opened pre-orders. And those pre-order sales were nothing to sniff at. However, I still feel a little resentful when people suggest that the particular tweet “did me a favour.” (I’m not going to show the original tweet here, as it just attracts more harassment.) My end goal is that more people make websites more inclusive, and so more sales help me reach that goal. But I want to explain the feeling I had when I wrote this tweet:
“Sorry, I’m so new, I’m still learning the correct language. Nothing I wrote, let alone the book, would be worthwhile without other people.”
It was late at night. I felt small, and that I didn’t deserve to have a book published. And anxious that people would think a) I didn’t have the right to have a book published, and b) that I was ungrateful to all the people who made the book exist.
The resulting outcry, and massive wave of support, felt incredible. So many people, so many I didn’t know, saying kind things to me. It lessened that anxiety, and when people told me I should feel proud of my achievement, I really felt proud.
But then came a lot of responses along the lines of “you should be grateful, he did you a favour.” Because his big name brought publicity that my little name would not. People have said this to me in person too. Kind people, meaning well. Someone even suggested that I should get him to print artwork to include in the book. The suggestion horrified me. I’m not grateful. I was so excited to share that I’d been working on a book for three years, but that announcement was hijacked by a well-known person publicly chastising me.
I don’t want a book about inclusivity to be tied to a tweet that made me feel excluded. And yet people will introduce me at conferences talking about that tweet. If I bring the book up in conversation, people will bring up that tweet. I’m not cross with the folks who want to deride the nature of the tweet, or the systemic inequality that leads to such a tweet. But it means I can’t escape that feeling of being small, or knowing that many people think I owe a person for making me feel that way because it may have resulted in a few more sales. You might notice I find it very difficult to call it my book. I call it Accessibility For Everyone or the book I wrote.
Sometimes I’ll make a knowing reference to the whole event when talking about the book. Like, I WROTE A BOOK. Or (jokily) implying that famous people endorsed my book out of the blue. But I don’t want to make a big deal of the event, or celebrate it, because I can’t escape the implication that I’m indebted to a person who wanted to publicly berate me. Or a social system that makes men think it’s ok to patronise women and marginalised people based on the assumption that a man knows best and everyone else must want to hear him. I do not consider “victim of mansplaining” to be one of my life’s achievements.
I am grateful to the people who took thirty seconds out of their day to bolster me when I was feeling exposed. I’ll never forget sitting in a burger bar on the Malmö coast, reading supportive tweets aloud to my boyfriend. That strangers considered how I might be feeling in that moment, and tried to make me feel better, was so incredibly kind.
Sales are still going steadily, so I’m really happy. That’s a steady number of folks who care about accessibility. And with the audiobook out this month, I’m hoping that we’ve made the book itself more accessible too.
I’m posting this as a note so it doesn’t draw unnecessary attention/further harassment. Still, I thought it worth publicly documenting my feelings about it. I started writing a little post to note the announcement’s anniversary and it spilled out into feelings. So I want to be able to point people at this explanation.
Did a little update to the site this evening. I have have categories and tags exposed again. I also simplified the link styling and fixed some bits of layout that I’d previously broken. Hooray for iteration!
If you’re a person who is on Mastodon, you may be interested to know that we now have our own instances for Ind.ie, and I have my own instance for me.
So you can follow us on Mastodon at:
If you’re not on Mastodon, and are wondering what I’m on about, you might find the following link useful!
This comes from me wanting to add more types of content. Photos and notes are both informal, with photos being the most informal, and I don’t want them to each be in the navigation. They’re just not that important.
The RSS feed for Photos isn’t quite up and running yet. I need to work out how to make the template produce the images in the right manner. This requires more digging into Hugo.
But I have got a fancy grid for the Photos list, and pleased with how that’s working out.
Somehow I had fudged my site’s RSS feeds. They are now un-fudged (and showing full content as intended!)
Thanks to Julian who has sharp eyes and gave me a kind nudge.
Angry thoughts while updating the Better Blocker blocklist… (I get them every time!)
If you are providing third party services on a domain that is entirely unrelated to your (or any previously acquired) business name, you look veeeery sketchy…
I’m looking at you, Adobe. 👀
If you do this and you hide your domain ownership in whois, you are extra sketchy.
Nothing makes me angry quite like researching trackers for Better Blocker.
Use Better Blocker? There’s new block rules waiting for you. Open the app to fetch them. A couple of little fixes and a couple of new trackers blocked. I’ll get more sorted over the next week (these were a little tricksy!)
Now I am having a large G&T.
I seem to be doing a lot of cross-posting content in different locations. Not just farming out links all over the place, but cross-posting because the discussions we have in different locations (Twitter vs Mastodon vs here) are all valuable in their own ways.
This is in conjunction with Aral and I focusing more on our personal sites (ar.al and laurakalbag.com. As we’re looking at how what we’re building works in conjunction with/layers on top of personal sites.
Aral has put together a setup where he can blog from a phone. I have added a Notes section on my site where I can post short-form stuff like photos and statuses (anything shorter than a blog post, really.) Though my setup is a little more static than Aral’s, as it is literally a static site built using Hugo and I use an iPhone. So no posting from a phone for me. (Yet.)
The idea is that the Notes section of my site is the canonical location for those bits of content. Then I can cross-post to other locations. (This is similar to IndieWeb concepts.)
However, manual cross posting is a pain. If I post a note to my site (create post, write in markdown, push to Git, deploy), I then have to manually go to wherever I want to cross-post (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, here etc) , rewrite the content/link to content in an acceptable format (under 260 chars etc), and post. The whole exercise takes time. It may be a worthwhile endeavour for a blog post about something meaningful. But it’s a lot of faff to share a dog photo or a “subtweet”, let alone a reply or reposting of somebody else’s content.
Which finally brings me to my point… how do I make cross-posting easier?
It’s not great. It is only for Twitter (IFTTT doesn’t support Mastodon.)
How do I do this better?
One extreme side is that I could build and maintain my own interface for cross-posting like Jeremy has. There are alternatives to IFTTT like Trigger Happy. Though some social networks (such as Instagram) only let you post from their interface, so this solution will never be entirely compatible with those particular walled gardens. Also, I’m not being defeatist in saying these solutions are somewhat beyond my means.
The other extreme (the low-tech solution) is that I have a to-do list template for every time I post something to make sure I format my posts correctly, and don’t forget a particular social network.
If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them!
Given that there’s a couple of women in UK parliament throwing the word “prostitute” around, I found this and it seems to be informative:
tldr; sex work and human trafficking are different, lumping everything under “prostitution” is unhelpful/harmful.
Too many devs in my mentions complaining they have no say about marketing and business depts adding tracking scripts to sites.
I hear that it’s hard, but if it is genuinely impossible, why are you working there? You have no agency and you are complicit in unethical technology.
Some people don’t have the privilege to change jobs (mostly folks from marginalised groups)…
But let’s be honest, many of you actually do have that privilege. I’m not here to take your excuses, I don’t have that power. You‘re responsible to society to not build shitty tech.
Today we learned I use US English pronunciation for a few random words. As the book is in US English, and I’m very British, hopefully it won’t be too off-putting… 😬