To complement the facts in my bio, here I describe more subject aspects of the experience I have gained and how I apply it to solving accessibility problems.
My career in technology has been interesting because I have very little training in technology development. My academic background is in music, psychology, and education, whereas computer skills were a hobby. The emergence of the web, which aimed to democratize accessing and publishing content, allowed me to combine basic technical skills with user requirements knowledge from my work with students with disabilities. While I am not an engineer able to develop products or solutions from scratch, I have a good ability to understand the technical aspects of a design and correlate them with impact on user requirements. I am also good at spotting technical inconsistencies and errors, and providing quality assurance.
Early work focused on identifying technical approaches to making web content accessible, and determining ways to test for the presence or absence of accessibility features in content. I engaged with people with many kinds of disabilities, and gained a broad understanding of the ways technology can enhance peoples’ lives, as well as how it can create barriers. I have applied this understanding to creation of accessibility guidelines and guidance and engagement on accessibility features of dozens of W3C technologies.
Working with groups of people to develop content is a major aspect of W3C process. In addition to my own contributions to the content, I focused on enabling other people to make their best contributions. This involves providing technical and process support, facilitating communication, and sometimes helping to clarify unrecognized technical misunderstandings. I also identified participants with potential to grow in their roles and provided opportunities to support this. I am proud to have been involved in the emergence of leaders in our work and in positive career opportunities for many people.
These experiences have gained for me a large number of skills across a range of activities. In addition to those, my unique value is my semantic, networked way of thinking. I find that I store information easily by richly relating it to other information, giving me multiple paths for retrieval. These rich connections are also the foundations of insights arising from noticing non-obvious relationships. I do this best in “deep dives” in which I explore a topic in depth and then bring observations from this into the next stage of work.
For the next stage of my career, I plan to use these experiences and capabilities in a strategy or innovation role focusing on creating accessibility solutions in a world-focused manner.