Broadly speaking, it’s best not to disable buttons or inputs. Instead we can allow data entry and provide helpful error text (either inline on-the-go or on form submission).

HTML buttons and inputs accept a Boolean disabled attribute. This stops the element from receiving events like clicks and keyboard focus. …

I recently got around to reading Sheri Byrne-Haber’s very excellent “Giving A Damn About Accessibility” handbook. Here are some of my key takeaways.

  • Discriminating against People with Disabilities (PwD) is ableist and unethical. “Is it okay to make software that [any given group] can’t use?” No!
  • Saying inaccessible software only…

Here are some things I try to watch out for in meetings.

  • 1️⃣ One conversation at a time. We want all the content of the meeting to be relevant to all the people in the meeting.
  • 🏠 Pay extra attention to remote people. We want to involve them regularly.
  • Have breaks if the meeting is more than an hour. We ideally want (short!) breaks every half an hour.
  • ⏲️ End on time. If we don’t cover everything, we set a fresh meeting for later.

See also: Five tips for better meetings

Originally published at on April 19, 2021.

The 25th March is World Retrospective Day. I’ve just had my annual performance review at work. I thought I’d combine bits from both on the subject of “strategic pessimism.”

Arrows going around and away from the Happy Path

I got some great feedback from my colleagues as part of my review. But one thing surprised me: people thought of…

Last week I took some days off and (virtually) attended axe-con, Deque’s conference for building accessible experiences. I picked a few talks to watch and made sketchnotes.

I usually learn a lot from conferences. The problem for me tends to be trimming the list down to something actionable and achievable 😬. For axe-con, I’ve picked three things to do:

  • Counter “we don’t have time to cater to special needs” by focusing on the core human need. E.g. “Eating is not a special need!”
  • Make an a11y Acceptance Criteria library (maybe using the Given / When / Then format).
  • Use the coach model instead of the Subject Matter Expert model: it implies teaching and training, and transferring of skills.

Day one

Here are my sketchnotes:

Sketchnotes from “difference drives innovation and disability inclusion benefits us all“"”. My top takeaway: counter “we don’t have time to cater to special needs“ by focusing on the core human need. “Eating is not a special need!“

I’ve just finished working my way through “Scrum Master Workbook Part 1”. It’s really well paced and there was lots to learn.

Here are some of the things that I’ve picked up and am either doing already or have a concrete plan to start doing soon.

Things for me to do for myself

After every meeting, do…

As part of UX South Africa 2020, I contributed to a short thank you video for Don Norman, who was speaking at the conference.

Here’s the final compilation video:

And here’s my 45 second video:

The video has embedded captions. Here’s the transcript:

Don Norman broke my brain…

I joined the online version of UX New Zealand this year. Here’s one thing that stood out for me from each of a few of the talks.

Day one

  • Stop looking for who to include and start looking at what practices and mindsets are exclusionary (from “Consider the periphery” by Elizabeth Lang).

I managed to catch a few of the talks at this year’s A11y Camp. Here are three of my top takeaways from three of the talks. The first one in each list is something I’ve turned into a TODO for myself.

Alexis Lucio: From Nothing to Something: How A Team of 2 Kickstarted an Accessibility

  • Have a11y one-page guidelines (for bite-size learnings)
  • Have a…

Like many people, over the years I’ve been in a lot of meetings. Here are five things that I’ve found tend to make for better meetings.

  • 🙋‍♀️ Facilitator. To help us stay on topic and stay on time. (Example: jazz hands to signal off topic)
  • 📅 Agenda. So we know why we’re there and what our goal is. (Can be only one thing!)
  • 👍 Ground rules. So we know what we can expect from each other. (Examples: the retrospective prime directive, phone use outside the room only)
  • 🤫 Silent brainstorming. To let all the ideas surface, and to let everyone have their say. (Usually with sticky notes)
  • 🖼 Visual note taking. To record what happened. Visual because images are better for memory and understanding. (Ideas, not art: doesn’t have to be fancy!)

That’s it!

Originally published at on October 7, 2020.

Steve Barnett

Web Site Maker, Picture Taker, (Ex) Shop Maintainer. Max Barners is just my stage name.

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