Speaker 1 00:00:07 This is the workflow show, a podcast, covering stories about media production technology from planning to deployment, to support and maintenance of secure media solutions. We cut through the hype in the media industry and discuss the actual problems we're trying to solve with technology. We call this approach workflow therapy. I'm Jason Whetstone, senior workflow, engineer and developer for Chesa and I'm Ben Kilburg senior solutions architect at Chesapeake systems. In this episode of the workflow show, we're going to raise awareness about digital accessibility. Our guest today is Joe Devin. Joe is CEO of diamond, a product design firm, and thought leader and digital accessibility, the creative minds at diamond collaborate with brands to include accessibility as a fundamental principle and the design of products and services. Joe also was co-founder of global accessibility awareness day and chair of the GAD foundation global accessibility awareness day takes place on the third Thursday of the month of may.
Speaker 1 00:01:10 What started as an idea on Twitter blossomed into a global awareness campaign that is now recognized by many countries, companies and brands. It reminds us of the challenges that people with disabilities or diminished senses might have and consuming digital content and what we can do in the design of products and services to include these individuals. Ben, and I will talk with Joe about some of these design choices and how they relate to the media industry first, though, a reminder to hit that subscribe button, which will help, you know, when we drop new episodes. And it also helps us know how many of you are listening. If you have suggestions for guests or episode topics, email@example.com is our email address now onto our discussion with Joe Devin, Joe Devin. Thank you for joining us on the workflow show today.
Speaker 2 00:02:00 My pleasure.
Speaker 1 00:02:01 Yeah, so we, we have you here today because of your work in digital accessibility. And I think this is a great opportunity for us to bring awareness to the media industry and to our listeners about digital accessibility and what that encompasses. So, first of all, I would like to know how you got into this. I always like to give a little bit of a spotlight to the journey that led you to where you are right now. So tell us a little bit about your background.
Speaker 2 00:02:25 Sure. So when it comes to accessibility, I guess like many folks you're touched by it one way or another. And my dad was just a brilliant man. He was a survivor of Auschwitz and DAS out of the concentration camps and spoke 10 languages was just a genius. But as he got older, his vision and his hearing got worse and his bank sent him an email. He had gotten fished before that and he was just unable to bank because the bank was inaccessible and I was a web developer at the time. I'm trying to remember if this, if this was before I started diamond, I was a web developer at American idol.
Speaker 1 00:03:05 Wow. Yeah, that's cool.
Speaker 2 00:03:08 Yeah. And you know, we had a blind singer at the time. There's always like little pieces to the connection to disability and accessibility, but it just made me so sad because web development was a tool that was meant to be accessible to everyone. And it should have been a solution for my dad to get to the bank. It took him all day to use access paratransit and just one trip to the bank was really hard calling them on the phone was extremely difficult too, because it couldn't really hear what they were saying. And the solution really should have been online, but it wasn't because there was bad contrast colors. And, uh, he just couldn't really read the screen and it just, it got me upset. So I wrote a blog post proposing that we create a global accessibility awareness day and that just totally blew up and went viral to the tune that we stopped counting when it hit 200 million users, um, reaching the hashtag, which is G a D that's the daily active user count at the time that Twitter. So we're like, we don't even need to track it anymore. Just hits that every year.
Speaker 1 00:04:15 That's really amazing. I just want to kind of like, just take a moment to acknowledge the fact that what we're talking about here is something that each and every one of us may have to deal with at some point in our lives. It's not just certain people that, you know, we may not think about or may not be aware of in our, in our community, but each and every one of us may have these issues of accessibility and, you know, just having to do day-to-day that you're talking about banking, which all of us have to do as adults. You know,
Speaker 2 00:04:42 The average is 11% of your lifespan you'll have a disability.
Speaker 1 00:04:46 Oh, that's incredible. That's an incredible statistic. Thank you. So where did it go from there after you hit the 2 million mark? What was the journey like from there?
Speaker 2 00:04:53 Yeah, 200 million. Yeah, but basically I started my company diamond about the same time, my co-founder and I met working on American idol.com. And it was pretty funny because I had both sides kind of take off pretty quickly. We had a pretty good reputation at Fox and they really told us to ramp up because they'd send us more business than we could handle. And that just grew us to the point that we had to struggle to scale it up. Really. It was awesome. And then on the other hand, there's this little event that just kept growing and growing, you know, the very first year, uh, we had 16 cities celebrating events. We had some governmental events. Then before long apple started to do events in every single apple store globally. Then they started to change their homepage for the day. Microsoft changed their homepage for the day.
Speaker 2 00:05:43 IBM changed their homepage. Then Microsoft released the Xbox adaptive controller on the day and the media started picking up on it. And every single year it just keeps eclipse the year before. And so the months leading up to me, just start to get pretty crazy. And yeah, I mean, I don't even have the words to describe what it's become. I thought it could be a success when I wrote the blog post, but it has eclipsed my wildest imagination and I thought it would be a lot harder. So that just tells you how many people it affects, how deeply it affects people and how important the mission.
Speaker 1 00:06:20 Yeah. It's also a Testament, I think, to when you have an idea and you give it a voice and put it out there, you know, that's the first step to release to something blossoming into this incredible, you know, thing.
Speaker 2 00:06:30 You're right. If I can just add to that, I'd say that if you have the right vision and you have no idea as to, to, or not until you put it out there, but you have to combine it with a community. And I had been building community in Los Angeles for a while. I started up, you know, I came from New York where there were lots of meetups and there was nothing in Los Angeles. So I started seven different meetups, really help build a community and Jenison the co-founder of gab, who is an accessibility advocate at the time out of a bank in Canada. But now he works for LinkedIn and he really had a great community. He would do these accessibility events in different cities around the world. And he is a force of nature, very well-respected in the accessibility community. So couldn't have done it without him. That's for sure.
Speaker 1 00:07:16 Yes. And for our listeners, in our episode notes, we'll post a link to some media I actually did in sort of prep for this episode, watching an episode that featured Jennison. And he's a very dynamic speaker. He's very a unique individual. I really enjoyed listening to him speak.
Speaker 2 00:07:30 Yeah, he's amazing.
Speaker 1 00:07:31 Yeah. So, um, tell us about diamond, Joe, what does diamond do?
Speaker 2 00:07:35 So diamond is an inclusive digital agency and we built software accessibly by default. So specializing product design, technology and accessibility. We obviously do a lot of media work, but our work has span lots of different companies. We've done sports work, we've done some work for the Pope. We've done work on robots, sensors, drones, but for me, the passion really is accessibility. And there's no serious agency currently that other than mastery, that builds accessible experiences by default. And I'm trying to copy the model of agile and try and change the culture of digital software development or digital product development. I should say, to include accessibility as part of the culture of development where the first, and it's not easy because you can't hire people that have like developers that have accessibility, know how you really have to bring them in and train them. So there's lots and lots of challenges, but basically I'm sharing it with the world and these podcasts.
Speaker 2 00:08:38 I'm hoping that other agencies actually copy us. There's so much work out there. There's no need to think of it as competition. And it's really thought leadership. So we're doing this as a model to show, you know what, there are at least a billion, it depends how you define disability, but at least a billion people that have a disability and more that have, let's say a range of ability. So what I mean by that is it's on a spectrum in my fifties. Now my eyesight is not that great. My hearing is decent, but as you get older, you go into a restaurant. You can't make out the conversations as well and drown out the background noise as well as you're used to. And so it's really a spectrum. And when you are developing accessibly by default, you're just making the product better for everyone. Sure. As you're 20 years old and you have like no issues whatsoever, or you're less likely to enjoy the ability to zoom up fonts and stuff like that, as much as somebody my age, but even so it does make the product better. And even for 20 year old, if there's, you know, trying to show something in their grandma, they still want to be able to up the fonts so that grandma could see it and enjoy it. Right. So it really is just about making your products better. It's usability.
Speaker 1 00:09:56 That's great. I love that. What I'm hearing really is this connection, even this connection of generations, like you just described there, you know, someone in their twenties connecting with a grandparent or a great aunt or uncle, and being able to share content with them and not necessarily being frustrated because, oh, geez, grandma, you can't read this. If that thought is really incorporated into the design, it's really better for everybody. Okay. So tell us about the accessibility report that diamond put out, give us a little bit of insight into that.
Speaker 2 00:10:23 Sure. You know, it's kind of funny how that came about because you know, it's a bizarre situation where you write a blog post and now all of a sudden things go viral, trillion dollar companies, you know, change what they're doing as a result of it. And then you have all these people like thanking you for creating this day. And I'm very shy about, you know, that kind of thing. And one year there was, you know, the onion, the satirical, uh, outlet,
Speaker 2 00:10:53 There's a Twitter feed called the blind onion, which is similar to the onion, except that it just focuses on blind issues. And they tweeted out one year. Now that global accessibility awareness day is over. We look forward to 364 days of global oblivion. And that kind of heard at the time because I was like, wait, wait, I didn't create a day in order that everybody just pat themselves on the back for all the great work they did of, I wanted to make a difference. And I wasn't sure where we making a difference or weren't we, that tweet just really highlighted to me that we need to get a baseline to understand are we improving or not? And people would always tell me, don't accept the negativity and all of that. But like seriously, like there's how many awareness days or how many topics do we cover, where we all celebrate something, but we really don't take action.
Speaker 2 00:11:45 And, and I thought that we needed that kind of report. And so at diamond, we were able to fund that report because of our move into fully being all about accessibility. And so we started kind of small. We partnered with web aim, which is a great organization that started their own report around the same time they have the same idea, but then eventually we kind of were able to grow our report in the three years. And the first year the numbers did not look really good. We were looking at the top a hundred websites and saw that 29% were accessible. And I just wanted to know, is this going to get better or worse, a little better, or stay the same. And the first two years, we couldn't really answer that question. And web beams report the numbers just keep looking pretty horrible, where like they do automate a testing of the top million websites and they're seeing 97% of them are inaccessible, give or take like every year, like it modifies slightly, but not by much.
Speaker 2 00:12:43 And the more that I saw their reporting, the more I realized that we have to look at the top names because the big tech companies are the ones that have the funds and that are investing in this. And they also kind of lead the way. So we have to look at the top in order to determine, is there an improvement happening? And then hopefully that will trickle down to the rest of the development community. And so in terms of the top a hundred websites in 20 19, 20 9% were accessible to screen readers. It went up to 40% in 2020, and then the last 1, 20 21 was 62%. So there was a massive growth in terms of the accessibility. Um, but that was just in the top websites. And then nobody had really done anything with mobile apps. And so we started to do some mobile app testing, and I was really surprised by a couple of things.
Speaker 2 00:13:34 We took the top 20 free and paid apps and did some analysis on them. And, uh, I wasn't sure if iOS would do better or Android, but it turned out that they're pretty close. There were certain things that, that iOS did better. There was certain things that Android did better, but it wasn't significant. There are some details for those that are interested in the report, it's a diamond.la forward slash soar S O a R. You can download it and really dive in. But essentially we saw really pretty good scores. Like 65, 70 5% of the apps were accessible to screen readers on the free apps. But then when we looked at the paid apps, the numbers went down pretty badly, uh, to like 35% on iOS and 29% on Android. And doing further analysis of that, what we realized is that the free apps tended to be by the larger companies, the thing companies and stuff like that. And so they were able to invest in it. But as soon as you got to those paid apps, even though they were making money because of the top 20 apps, they still far enough down the line that they were just not really good. So there's a lot of work to be done. And depending how you look at it, you could say we're improving, but we're certainly not improving enough.
Speaker 1 00:14:48 Yeah. App companies listen up, this is important stuff. It's very valuable and worth your time to invest in Joe. Can you talk a little bit about the criteria for the report? How do you determine how accessible a site or an app is?
Speaker 2 00:15:01 That's great. Great question. Gosh. I mean, it's a lot of details, so I don't want to totally bore you, but you know, really I have my accessibility team come up with the methodology, but when it came to the websites, it was done with screen reader testing. So if you're blind, you cannot see the screen, right? So you can only work essentially with a keyboard. The mouse is completely useless to you and you can't see the words either. So screen reader reads out the website or the mobile app to you with mobile, you can take your finger and mouse over certain elements. So it'll read those certain elements, but typically what will happen. And this is frequently with frameworks. The HTML was a wonderful technology that really defined different type of elements. So if you have a button or a form field and you use the proper HTML for it, then everything works really well. But what winds up happening is you have these frameworks that just take dibs and spans. I understand your audience is pretty technical, right?
Speaker 2 00:16:11 Yeah. So what'll happen is that they, instead of taking a button, which has the browser makers put in a lot of effort in order to figure out the accessibility, affordances like a scroll bar of some of these frameworks and often designers and developers, they're like, you know what? I want to add this cool new feature to a scroll bar. I want to add some color to it or whatever, um, make it look super cool. So I'm going to create my own scroll bar from scratch, and they'll just use a div to create the scroll bar. And then they're going to miss so much in the work that went into making sure that the scroll bar is accessible or the button is accessible. And then there is something called aria that allows you to hack that all of that back in, but you really don't want to do that. And so a lot of the modern websites today just have dibs and spans. They paint a picture of a button using a library rather than the built-in elements of the browser. Right.
Speaker 1 00:17:07 I see.
Speaker 2 00:17:09 Okay. So screen reader tends to do really well when you have HTML that it's reading, but then when it's all devices and spans, it can be very difficult to do things like navigate. So imagine you're on CNN and you've got tons of headlines and then you want to drill down. You don't want to read the entire page, right? You want to look at the headings and then drill down into a heading. But if you don't have semantic HTML in there, it gets to be very difficult.
Speaker 1 00:17:36 This is fascinating because you know, one of Chester's core businesses is in the media asset management space. And, you know, these systems are web based and they're very heavily built around these frameworks. So it's, I think it's important again, you know, we have vendor partners that, that make the software, so it's very valuable.
Speaker 2 00:17:55 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no, that's a, that's a whole other conversation. And, you know, with the gates foundation where we're working on a gap pledge for, we're trying to get the open source frameworks to make their products accessible. And Facebook took the first gap pledged to make react native accessible, and then Ember JS took the gap pledge as well. And so we're, we're making some progress there, but coming back to this. So we, we did a lot of screen reader work. Some books in the accessibility community are disappointed that we didn't add in other elements because accessibility is about a lot more than just people that are blind. But at the end of the day, you know, it takes a lot to do research like this, to come out with a report like this and you have to start somewhere. So, uh, we started with the screen reader where we did, we did screen reader testing.
Speaker 2 00:18:40 Um, there's something called ads, which is a tool that allows you to analyze accessibility errors. So we did do some degree of automated testing where we could, but we, we did a lot of manual testing and web IEM. We part when engine earlier that we partnered with in the first couple of years, they have their own automated tool and we just didn't feel like we needed to replicate what they've done. We really want to do different work. And then everybody kind of contributes to the community. It's like a wonderful community where the competition, it's not done with the same force as other industries, because everybody wants to make the entire industry better. So, you know, it tends to have less fighting of that nature, if that makes sense.
Speaker 1 00:19:21 Yeah, sure. Let's talk of intellectual property and who came up with the idea first and who's going to make the money. It sounds like is what you're getting at.
Speaker 2 00:19:28 Yeah, yeah, no, exactly. It's one of the few spaces as well, where the big tech companies, I'd say the accessibility teams on the different tech companies are pretty friendly with each other, pretty open with each other in terms of, Hey, this is how we improve our product. You know, you should improve your product that way. You know, maybe you could say that the Xbox controller, the adaptive controller could be seen as something competitive, but you know, I think everybody celebrates it at every single company. And, and I would say it's more an inspiration, Hey, look what they did. So now we're going to create our own controller, you know, that kind of thing. So it's really great working in this industry.
Speaker 1 00:20:05 Yeah. That's fantastic. Joe, to relate our discussion to the media industry and sort of what we do in the media industry, what are some things that you've seen good or bad in terms of accessibility in the media industry? So we've already talked a little bit about web based design. What about workspaces and things like that. I'm talking about an interacting with, with software and things like that, what people would use in terms of devices or things like that, is that something that you guys get into at all?
Speaker 2 00:20:30 So the pandemic obviously changed the world for the good and the bad. And so you had schools, all of a sudden moved to online meetings, moved to online, but schools in particular, they they've spent a lot of time and a lot of effort figuring out affordances how to make their schooling accessible. And now all of a sudden they lost all of it overnight. And so you have all of the software like zoom and, you know, Microsoft teams and all of that. They pretty quickly, I think it took them a maybe a month or two. They made available captions, automated captions, or captions as the industry likes to call it. But I mean, they say that just because obviously the quality started out to be pretty bad. It's gotten a lot better, but even so it's, it's much better to have automated captions than not, but they all came out with that product pretty quickly and they started to make it more free in the beginning.
Speaker 2 00:21:25 It was, it was more paid. So I'd say that that changed pretty quickly. Another aspect that people didn't think about the former head of disability for the city of Los Angeles is deaf. And he's a wonderful advocate for even before the pandemic hit, Hey, we need all of the emergency services to have ASL American sign language, as well as captions, because you need to read the news when there is an alert. And if you don't make that available, then you're blocking out a bunch of people who are deaf. And when you think about a pandemic where you suddenly say, oh, you know, don't go outside or wear a mask or get a vaccine. If that emergency information doesn't get passed on to somebody because it's an accessible to them, then they can't take action. And that might affect the rest of the community. You know, I think we're a little bit calmer now after all of this time, but certainly in the beginning, you know, you may remember it was really scary just to walk outside and of course say hello to somebody. I remember avoiding people and walking on the streets. And so that, I think that kind of highlighted the importance of, of ASL and captions. So those are just some first things that kinda come to mind.
Speaker 1 00:22:38 Yeah. And that's great ASL American sign language for the, just for our listeners. Yeah. Anything else you can think of off the top of your head? Just to rip a little more?
Speaker 2 00:22:46 Yeah. I mean, I, I'd also say let's think about the curb cut effect. You know, when we started talking and I asked if it's possible to turn on the captions, I'm not hard of hearing. I'm not deaf, but I love captions on my television set on my zooms. Don't tell anybody, but sometimes I lose track of what people are saying, or maybe I'm surfing a little bit on the side. And then all of a sudden I realized, it's a question for me. So I like to go on those captions and take a look at what was said, and then answer the question. So it appears that I was paying more attention than it was, for example. So the curb cut effect is a physical affordance that was created for wheelchairs, where the corners of sidewalks now have like a little sort of a ramp or a curb cut.
Speaker 2 00:23:30 And the assumption was this was just for wheelchairs, but then it turned out that people on bicycles, people on rollerblades folks with strollers, for their, their babies, everybody used those. And the curb cut is actually awesome for so many other reasons. And similarly captions is used 80% of its use is not by anybody. That's hard of hearing or deaf. So, you know, relating to media and accessibility, I'd say that that's, that's a really big one. What's annoying when it's not done right. Is, uh, I've seen like lots of sports shows in particular where the captions will be on the top left. It will be held over from previous show or stay up there for like 20 minutes. It won't be wide enough. You can't move it around lots and lots of problems with the quality of how the caption is displayed. And so that could be pretty annoying.
Speaker 1 00:24:27 Gotcha. This may be a inappropriate time. We talked about this a little bit the other day when we were just getting some ideas of some things we could talk about, difference between subtitles and captions. Is that something that you, that you were able to talk about?
Speaker 2 00:24:40 Sure. It's actually a great question and it's super confusing to people and what makes it even more confusing is that some countries swap out the meeting. So some countries, they say subtitles to mean captions and vice versa. And then in certain digital products like Peloton uses the term subtitles, steam VR would go subtitles and captions and YouTube uses subtitles in their interface. But the typical meaning in America is that closed captions are about making sounds and dialogue, visible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. And subtitles are more about a translation of a language. So think about this. You have a scene where people are talking and a phone or a doorbell rings in the background. If you're all you're trying to do is translate from one language to the other. Then it's assumed that you're going to hear that phone or doorbell ring and the subtitle wouldn't show. Whereas in captions, it would be put in brackets, a doorbell rings, you know, or if somebody is singing, there might be like that little musical note and stuff like
Speaker 1 00:25:42 That. Gotcha.
Speaker 2 00:25:43 The funny thing is, if you're like, if your first language is English or listening to a movie in Spanish, the subtitles will display the Spanish dialogue in English. But as soon as somebody starts speaking English, because this is just a translation, subtitles disappear,
Speaker 1 00:25:57 Right. That's why on some devices viewing devices, you'll see subtitles when know, when not in the, the main language, I guess, of the, of the program. Yes, me personally, I find captions to be distracting, but I I'm also usually purposefully watching TV or watching a movie. I don't, I don't have it sort of on while I'm doing other things. Usually, you know, for, for me, they seem a little bit more distracting, but I also do watch a lot of anime that's in Japanese. So I, you know, obviously I am accustomed to having them there and having that subtitles there at least. And I did notice that there's, you know, definitely there's, there's a huge difference between those, even though they're, they're similar in terms of there's text on the screen, it's a difference in the purpose of that. But one of the features I love is the subtitles on recall. So if I'm watching something and I couldn't quite make out what was said, I can hit the recall button and then the subtitles come up and show me what what's being said. And they only stay on for that, for that recall time, which is pretty cool.
Speaker 2 00:26:55 Where are you seeing
Speaker 1 00:26:56 A Roku TV? I think is where I have it. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:26:58 Oh, you made me think by the way of another curve kind of facts
Speaker 2 00:27:02 With the caption. So the captions, it was something that was really pushed. I think it was in the eighties or maybe it was even earlier. It was probably earlier, maybe the seventies or anyhow, once it became an FCC ruling, it kind of opened the door to create more subtitles as well. It just pushed the technology forward. And then when you got to Netflix, Netflix saw the ability to go global and then started to do these multiple languages. And so now in our home, my brother's girlfriend is Mexican and she speaks Spanish. And so now we have the ability to watch a Spanish show with English subtitles or English, audio, and Spanish subtitles. It just allows you to watch content in different languages, both on the audio and on the caption side of it and have a shared experience that just was never possible before. So I thought that was a pretty great herb kind of fact.
Speaker 1 00:27:53 Yeah, that's great. And then also kind of you're bringing together, you know, potentially just two different audiences, I guess. I, I guess I could say into the same space, which is really, I think very valuable. I've also wondered, you know, I used to watch a lot of dubbed anime and I have been watching a lot of Evana in Japanese that is subtitled. I wondered one of the reasons I, I kind of consciously made that choice, even if there's a dub available is because I'm wondering if I do that more, will I, will I learn some Japanese just picking it up as I'm watching these things and not even thinking about it, because I think that's, that's a really powerful effect that our brains can do where we learn without even really, you know, being told we're learning.
Speaker 2 00:28:33 Yeah. I just saw on TV, they were, they were saying that, you know, try and teach a baby how to speak. Like they, they just learn by listening. You can't have a curriculum and you can't like sit them down at 18 months. Listen, we have to talk. They just pick it up. But a trick I've found for really learning a foreign language really pretty well. It start to get into their music because you get a lot of vernacular, you get a lot of repetition. Um, and then you can look things up really, really improves the, you know, how fluent you are in that language.
Speaker 1 00:29:06 Yeah. I noticed this again with the anime as I watch, I am, I do pick up on those, on those similarities. Okay. So this word means I am, you know, this, this word means, but, or however it's, it's interesting. Yeah. How you pick up on those things just by being in that space and having the connection to what you do understand and being able to, to form those connections in your brain, I think is fascinating. Especially as an adult,
Speaker 4 00:29:34 It strikes me that just on the whole captions side track, when my son was born, which was about eight years ago, we started keeping the captions on all the time, because you know, when you've got a baby sleeping, you don't want loud explosions waking them up. If you're watching anything that might be exciting. And just having that additional metadata available to you constantly, I find really valuable and especially entertaining if perhaps that track might have different words than the actual spoken dialogue. Right. Which, you know, being a fan of anime too, like sometimes I'll see that often where I may be watching the English track for a specific show, but maybe the translations from Japanese and the English subtitles aren't the same. And so there you get dual context for whatever the dialogue might be in the show. So I always find that fascinating. The other thing, Joe, that you mentioned about captions containing descriptions of what's happening there as well. Makes me think of descriptive audio tracks. That's another thing that people are focused on and providing a little bit more information about what's going on. Is there anything that you can tell us about that?
Speaker 2 00:30:52 Yeah. So audio description, you know, if you're blind and you're really like listening to a show or a movie, you have the dialogue, but you also might be missing certain background things of what's going on. Like, oh, this person is walking into a log cabin or there's beautiful mountains in the background. And it kind of reminds me when I first experienced audio description, I was invited by some accessibility friends to a movie theater that had like headphones for audio description and they had another one for captions. And so it was watching this Disney movie and it was describing important stuff in the background. And I was like, oh my God, I totally didn't notice any of that background. And I'm like, there's something wrong with me. I've just like some of the environmental cues. Um, and then when I switched devices to the captions devices, I totally missed that audio description because it was done so well. And I'm like, what's going on? And you know,
Speaker 4 00:31:49 Wow.
Speaker 2 00:31:51 So that's pretty funny, but also you're talking about having the sound off and, and the captions on, uh, for, for the kids. I saw a great tweet. Somebody was saying, I figured out a trick, a hack to get my kids to read better. I put on their favorite shows. I tr I knew the sound and I just turned on the captions and make them read it.
Speaker 4 00:32:12 Wow. That's a great thing. Yeah. That's a great idea that could get me to read better, I guess, a good one. One of the things that we are talking about is the way we consume content, right. I believe I may have a little bit of dyslexia and I always have had trouble. Um, I'm also a musician, so I read music too, but I've always had trouble with
Speaker 1 00:32:38 Like looking at the whole page and being completely overwhelmed by the jumble. Okay. And of course I, you know, when you really, when you're overwhelmed, the solution is to break the problem up into smaller pieces. And that's where starting at the beginning of the page and reading the sentence and, you know, that's how you sort of break it down. But I find that with reading books, I've always been into fantasy series and things like that, but I never really read any of these books. So of course, you know, we've got, you know, there's a new, going to be a new series about Lord of the rings coming out. That's going to talk about the second age and the rings of power and all that kind of stuff. There's a wheel of time that's spent on Amazon prime. I mean, those are fascinating stories, but I never read them as a kid.
Speaker 1 00:33:15 I was aware of them. I had a friend that was really an avid reader and he would tell me about them. So I really like audible. I love audio books and that's how I choose to consume content. And I think about it as like, well, it's not really helping me read. It's not really helping me become a better reader, but I, at least I'm getting this content and getting these stories. I just finished the Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien. And, you know, again, huge, fascinating, very big fantasy story, you know, really important. I think in the, you know, if you're into fantasy stories, the audible presentation was like a performance. I mean, it was like a, it was like a theatrical performance. So it's, it brings this whole other element in that I think is really worth mentioning.
Speaker 2 00:33:54 Yeah. I listened to the godfather, probably the nineties, the book on tape and had like 10 different actors and they were incredible. I found it even better than the movie, which is hard to believe because it was such a great movie, but yeah, absolutely. Speaking of dyslexia, have you ever tried there's some font for dyslexia?
Speaker 1 00:34:13 No.
Speaker 4 00:34:14 No, but that sounds,
Speaker 2 00:34:16 Yeah, I've heard mixed things about the font. It's not like a panacea, but it's just a fascinating field of study and there's a fellow who used to be over at BBC called Gareth Ford Williams. And he's done a lot of work in this, Somebody worth watching.
Speaker 1 00:34:34 Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Thank you for that. The joke when I was a child, the joke was if you have dyslexia, everything's backwards, you know, and that's just what it is. So when, when that's what everybody's telling you, it is you don't really like, you know, put it together in your brain. Like this could be like, why reading is such a thing. It's why it's such a big deal. And again, I started playing the piano when I was in first grade and I remember like I could play and still to this day I can play very well by ear. I can, I can pick up an instrument. Um, if I hear a tune, I can play it. Sometimes I, you know, the frustration for me is that I can, I hear the tune in my head before I can play it. So for me, the sound is really much more prevalent than seeing the music on paper.
Speaker 1 00:35:13 I can still, I can read music just like I can read texts, but hearing it is really what gives me the context. And that's what puts it. That's what some incident of my brain. Um, so if I'm trying to learn to play something it's much more effective for me to have a recording then than to have the music. Sometimes I almost look at now when I sort of made the connection, like maybe you have a little bit of dyslexia. Maybe that's what it is. It's probably five or six ago that I kind of made this. I don't want to say that. I know that I have it, but I just have a feeling and I almost look at it as it's not really a disability. It's more the way my brain works. And because my brain works that way, I'm able to do like the job that I have. And I'm able to have this, you know, this sort of sound focused mentality about things. So I think it's kind of fascinating to look at what some may consider a disability as this is what makes your brain really special and unique.
Speaker 2 00:36:04 Yeah. That's, that's why I talk about it as a spectrum, you know, the who put in a massive effort to figure out how many people there are with disabilities. Then there's a disability organization that came up with much larger numbers. It's a lot of contentious stuff. But to me, it's like, no, everybody just thinks differently. Everybody has a different range of abilities. And the internet has had a couple of interesting discoveries. So, you know, the, remember the gold dress, it was the gold or blue dress, and everybody was blown away that different people saw different colors. And then there was a word that sounded different. Like different people heard one word versus another word. And I wanted to put this out on the internet. I read an article. There might be another kind of blindness because how vivid, if you're trying to remember, like, I try to remember my parents, what they look like in your head, right?
Speaker 1 00:36:57 Yeah. It's the frontal cortex, I think is the center memory, I guess.
Speaker 2 00:37:00 Yeah. But it's like, are you seeing it? Are you seeing it in color when you're trying to remember someone or something and some people they're just, they see it very vividly. I'm like, is this like a picture to you where you can look at the pattern on somebody's shirt? Or is it like super vague? Because to me it's super vague and maybe even sort of black and white, I can sort of know what red is, but at the same time it does, I don't see a picture. And that could be another kind of blindness. I don't know how vivid are your memories.
Speaker 1 00:37:30 Yeah, that's fascinating too. I've been doing a lot of reading about the way our brains work and sort of the neurological connections between the different brain centers and the different energy centers in your body. And that is also another fascinating thing is, you know, a lot of that is defined by neurological pathways that are formed between the centers of our brains. And it's interesting to me because you know, our brains are like this network of, of neural activity. And it's also like a muscle. It grows when you exercise different parts of it. So I've taken that to mean, like, I really need to make sure I keep my brain active and you know, don't just get stuck in my ways on everything. Make sure I'm open to new experiences because new experiences are what form new neural pathways in your brain. So that's been really fascinating to me as well.
Speaker 2 00:38:16 Yeah. You should check out some more audio books by Richard professor.
Speaker 1 00:38:20 Richard Restek
Speaker 2 00:38:21 Is a neuroscientist. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:38:23 Great. I've been reading Joe Dispenza recently. I'm fascinated by his work. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:38:28 Yeah. But what's interesting too, when you were bringing up the audio book, like now I find it a lot harder to read because of my, at this age, it's just not the same. It's hard to concentrate. Probably social social media probably messed up our brains too. So you don't have the same attention span, but audio books are great. I don't, I don't remember, like with where I read, like, did I read this book or did I hear this book? I wouldn't even remember, but I did try to listen to some logic books on audible and that did not work. Like there's certain things that you need to really read it and be able to even, maybe take a pen and rewrite it out, like math or logic. Um, but other than that, I think it's pretty good.
Speaker 1 00:39:12 Okay. So talk a little bit about that. Like, what was that experience like, because I've been curious about, you know, being a developer myself, I've often wondered like, you know, of course my primary listening environment for audible books is the car when I'm, when I'm doing my commute. But I also do when I'm like, you know, the things around the house, cooking, you know, preparing things, stuff like that. And so I often wonder is learning some of this coding stuff. Is this something that you can do on audible? And I'm sure there's definitely some benefit to be gained, but I can't imagine. I mean, like, you know, a lot of coding is hands-on, you've got to really be like understanding the concepts and practicing.
Speaker 2 00:39:45 Yeah. I mean, I definitely think if you're learning a programming language, you probably want to read that in a book. Uh, I still remember listening to, I think it was security now. Yeah. One of the first pod-casters and they were talking about Bitcoin when it was first coming out and how to maybe paid more attention. Or maybe if I had been reading about it, I would have actually bought some Bitcoin when it was first coming out. And I ha I found an old picture on Twitter, uh, where I did a meetup and somebody brought in like these Bitcoin coins, like physical coins or somebody that was selling coins. And it was like $7. Oh, dang. That's some dollars today,
Speaker 1 00:40:27 Several
Speaker 2 00:40:27 Hundred thousand.
Speaker 1 00:40:29 Cool. This is great. The primary thought I have is as creators of media and purveyors of media, what are some things that we can think about in order to make them cool content we're creating more accessible to others?
Speaker 2 00:40:53 That's a great question. I think that you ha you have to start by speaking to people with disabilities because we can sit here all day long and like come up with our thoughts. But until you speak to people with disabilities, you're just not going to get the full challenge that other folks with just different experiences, different bodies come up with. So I would definitely start there. What I really try to explain to people is a couple of things. One is you're not doing your craft, right? If you don't know about accessibility and what I mean by that, this really speaks well to designers. You know, if you have slack or Skype, there's an online, offline indicator. And the red means you're offline. The green means you're online. If you only use color to convey information, you have millions of people that are completely left out of the conversation because two people that are colorblind red and green are both gray.
Speaker 2 00:41:51 And all you need to do is put a little text in there and it costs no money for you to do this in advance, right. Or just make the indicator different symbol. It doesn't even have to have words on it, but just, you can't just use color to convey information. So if you're a designer and you haven't done any effort to study accessibility, you may not know this as a result. You're crap. You're not as good at your craft as somebody that did do that accessibility effort to understand it. What is your job as a designer other than to make things easy for your audience to use. Right? And so, so it's really to a large degree about craft. Then the other side of it is you're going to make your product so much better. So I know in the media asset management space, maybe the metaverse or whatever, want to call it VR AR mixed reality.
Speaker 2 00:42:41 I think that's still up and coming, but at the same time, you know, we have to be ready for what's coming. And you got to understand that you're recreating the physics, the real physics. You're trying to recreate that in a device. And when you're recreating the physics, you got to think about this as personalization. So how do you do better in personalization than making sure you know, a lot about accessibility that you're working with, people with disabilities, where you've got the edge cases that you're working on. And if you get all of those, right, it's gonna make your product much more personal, much more usable, and it'll be better for everyone and better for the company that invests their time in.
Speaker 1 00:43:23 So accessibility is not just about accessibility for disabled persons. It's really going to benefit everyone. Yeah, that's great. Cool. I think that's a really great place to wrap, honestly, except that I do want to call out global accessibility awareness day. So I just want to mention for our listeners global accessibility awareness day in 2022 is on May 19th. So that is the day that it is this year. It's usually in that week in may, right? Joe,
Speaker 2 00:43:49 It's the third, Thursday, every
Speaker 1 00:43:50 Third Thursday of
Speaker 2 00:43:52 Easy to figure it out.
Speaker 1 00:43:53 Yeah. Great. Okay. Why don't you talk about some of the events that you guys have done? Um, let's spend a little time on that. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:44:00 Yeah. Good question. I mean, it's, it's one of those days that as the co-founder, I can't tell you how many events I speak at, because I just don't know. I just literally go from one to the other, to the other, to the other it's it's global. Um, and a lot of it has gotten virtual. We don't organize the events. It's really open to the community to run events. So, you know, you can go into your apple store. I think Microsoft started to do something in their stores as well. You can, you can pop by. I mean, it's, it's just taken on life of its own to the tune that like Amazon does an entire month and they were doing it five years before I found out. So they're calling it global accessibility awareness month. And I'm not saying this about Amazon, but a lot of companies don't necessarily want to come out with the accessibility work.
Speaker 2 00:44:48 They don't want to be public about it because they don't feel like they're there yet and they don't want to be criticized. Oh, you're talking about accessibility and you're not quite there so that they'll do internal events. And I'd recommend that if you, if you, as a company are not quite there, but you're interested in improving your accessibility, running an internal event, there's nothing wrong with that at all. Um, I've spoken at many of them and nobody will know who those companies are though. They're really large enterprises. I'm happy to, you know, if it fits my schedule to speak, you know, internally at, at, at some of these events as is Genesin, but feel free to make a meetup of any kind. We also propose that people write a blog post where you try to use a website or your website or your work's website with just a mouse for an hour. And then just describe that experience, maybe work on fixing a bug that you've seen. We have people doing all sorts of activities of that nature. So it's really a great data to focus and just improve the world a little bit that day.
Speaker 1 00:45:50 Um, that sounds great. Definitely a worthwhile thing. I love the fact that this came out as an idea that just kind of blossomed from there and everyone could right away see the value and the importance of it. So it's great that, you know, that you said it kind of took on a life of its own. I think that's beautiful. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:46:05 Yeah. I'm always speechless. Like every year something puts, you know, the tingles in my pants, you know,
Speaker 1 00:46:12 That's awesome. Well, I would just want to say thank you for your work in the space and thanks to Jennison as well for the work that you guys have done in that space. I think that's very, very, very worthwhile and needed in our world. So thank you for sure.
Speaker 2 00:46:26 Thanks. Both of you. I really enjoyed this conversation,
Speaker 1 00:46:28 Joe Devin, CEO of diamond chair of the GAD foundation and co-founder of global accessibility awareness day. Thank you so much for your work and for joining us today.
Speaker 2 00:46:38 Thank
Speaker 1 00:46:38 You. Thanks for listening. The workflow show is a production of Chesa and more banana productions. Original music is created and produced by Ben Kilburg. Please subscribe to the workflow show and shout out to [email protected]
or at the workflow show on Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I'm Jason Woodstock.