Friday, April 27, 2012

Letting go

So, i'm in the process of putting together a little "toolkit" that people can use to assist in doing the accessibility audits i've been doing. It's time to begin more actively letting them go. I've been doing more audits with other folks, and people are keen. In some ways it's hard to let them go, if that makes sense? But i also want to let them go, because that's the whole purpose of them! Getting the info out there, having more people involved in the process, and recognizing that accessibility isn't just one thing, these things are all super important to me, and is the major reason i began doing these.

But i want to find ways to have some "quality control" (i can see myself in a little lab coat with a stamp like the Fruit Of The Loom QC person) too, because it actually is important that it not just be a block of random information without context or supporting info, but useful, usable, accurate and up-to-date information. Organic, ongoing, adaptable, y'know?

So far i've got a summary of what it's all about; the templates for the audit, the overview, and the text i've been posting with them online; the methods i use to designate final accessibility ratings; and offering recommendations to venues and event holders. Do you think other things would be helpful for you if you're thinking about doing these audits? What sorts of supports, if any, would you find useful? 

I'm also thinking about picking a venue and taking a "field trip" with a bunch of interested folks and us all doing a practice run of the whole process. Contact, scheduling and performing the audit, followup, creating the final online products, including the overview and other pieces. i want to think about all the stages, and see if there are gaps folks would like to fill, and how, and what sorts of resources might help folks move forward with doing these on their own.

As well, i want to do some personal work on letting go and recognizing that the final products will not all look the way my final product looks, and that that's ok. It's hard when you've been working on something for so long, something which is also wrapped up in a lot of personal lived experience as a disabled person. This isn't a "project" for me, or a hobby, and when i see people treating accessibility that way, it kind of pisses me off, because one day they're in, the next day they're out. But i need to work on not allowing that able-bodied-centredness to dictate the work i do as a gimp. Lifeswork, i tell ya!

Thanks for everyone who is helping in some way, expressed interest in and done audits with me, posted the audits for events, sent folks my way to get an audit done, and so on. Onward! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Auditing and sharing and auditing and sharing...

So, a little math. In 3 years, ive done 51 accessibility audits. At an average of 5 hours work each, plus approximately 1-2 hours per audit on communication alone --and that's not including the work i do to upgrade the audit template, to research trends in access, to learn about and integrate technologies & services, update my access blog with new audits (which i'm sadly running behind on, ahem), as well as updating existing audits with new info and so on-- that makes around 331.5 hours since starting them in 2009. At least a hundred hours per year. With all that other stuff i've not included, add another 30 or so hours/year.  And i'm not even going to try to calculate how many dozens of hours i've spent subtitling 86 videos lol. Perhaps that's a future math project!

Even though there's frustratingly little in the way of monetary or trade payback, and even though it can be hard on my body, i really love doing these things. Aside from satiating my strange need to fill out forms, the info is important to me personally, and to folks i care about and folks i don't even know, so that we can more freely get into and enjoy the fabulous spaces so many other folks have such easy access to. And there's so much to learn about this stuff! Every time i do one, by myself or with other folks, i learn some new piece to add or point to change; and it also helps me to open myself up more to sharing my needs with folks who aren't gimps, which can be really exposing; or folks who are gimped in different ways than i am. It keeps me up on my shit too -- there are so many things i dont know, havent thought of, wouldn't even have considered. 

So when people tell me accessibility is as simple as putting a ramp in (don't get me wrong, ramps are great! i need em and love em!), i'd love to hand them one of these nearly 400-point audits and then chat about it over coffee --and sometimes that happens :) maybe i'll share a post on that sometime -- because we all have work to do, things to learn, we all make awesome contributions, and we all make a difference simply by doing the things we love and sharing them.