I can learn something from you. How developers can build rapport with… | by Daniel Berryhill | Jan, 2024


How developers can build rapport with accessibility personnel (or with anyone, really)

A small boy sitting and listening to a small, enthusiastic girl.
Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

I’ve been in software development for a long time, in QA for nearly as long, and specifically in accessibility for four years now.

I mention that only to communicate that I have a decent understanding of what it’s like in each field. One lamentable thing I constantly see in various software teams is the lack of communication or coordination among the various skilled personnel.

Developers don’t talk to QA, QA doesn’t talk to designers, no one talks to accessibility personnel, etc.

I don’t think I have to convince you this is a bad thing. Yet, we find it difficult to break the “silo pattern”. I’m sure you can think of several instances where a crisis occurred due to a lack of communication among the groups. Perhaps the consequences were dreadful.

So, I propose a solution to prevent this type of miscommunication. I’ll focus on what a developer can do, specifically when it comes to reaching out to accessibility personnel. But you can certainly apply these the other way around, two different work groups, or even life in general.

Let’s start with the goals:

  • Build rapport with at least one member of the accessibility personnel
  • Have open and available communication with that person
  • Work towards a process change

Before you get defensive and say, “Well, why don’t they reach out to me? Why do I have to reach out to them?”

The answer is they probably already have.

Perhaps they haven’t reached out to you or your current team, but likely a previous one. Chances are, they’ve been shot down, sidelined, and even ignored.

I remember when I was in college, I had to attend a lot of lectures. There was one lady they’d bring up a few times a year. She was an advocate for hearing health. Forgive the dad joke, but we didn’t listen. She talked about the dangers of permanent hearing damage caused by loud music often playing in clubs.


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