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Transcript for Episode of A11y Savvy

Welcome to A11y Savvy. The podcast that explores how to design and develop for web accessibility. I'm your host, Crystal Preston-Watson. This is episode zero Mental Health Index.

I've tried to record episodes on quite a few times. And as you can see I failed. In episode one, I'm covering alternative texts and memes. And I was having some trouble because I don't like hearing the sound of my voice. Like most people, I was being very particular about how my sounded, esses sounded. And just like really hyper aware about popping, though, I have a pop filter, and it said that is what you're supposed to do. When you're film filming. When you're recording a podcast, it was going slow. And and so this past weekend, as I was trying to record

I got some news some pretty devastating news that my mother had passed away. I was told COVID-19 was suspected and they're writing tests. And about an hour or so ago, it was confirmed Even with getting this news I tried to keep recording because I had announced that this podcast was premiering this week. And God knows I have started so many projects that have ended before they started.

So yeah, I was gonna I was gonna do it and it did not happen. So welcome to episode zero.

I should warn you that this episode might be a bit all over the place. It's not scripted. It's going to be absolutely rough. And if that's not your thing, please join me next week for episode one.

I don't blame you in the slightes for skipping this one if you if you feel like doing so

I have planned to record an episode on the importance of web accessibility for mental health later this month. If you didn't know me his mental health awareness month, I wanted to take some time to think of an approach that hadn't been covered. Not that the two together have been covered extensively, they really haven't. But there's this great two part series written by David Swallow of The Paciello group, about accessibility for people with anxiety and panic disorders. And what I didn't want to do was just rehash what he address, especially since he did such a great job. I would rather give you the URL in the show notes. So you can go read them for yourself and I will do that. But after the last few days, I just decided to just record and talk rehashing scripts popping, be damned. I feel that a lot of times talking about mental health even though now it seems conversations do happen, it's still feel slightly taboo. And I don't like that, especially as someone who has dealt with mental health issues.

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and I've also under gone and had depression. Also when I was younger, my but my social anxiety disorder, it certainly didn't just start 10 years ago. It's been around for quite a while. And for those that don't know, Social Anxiety Disorder just means I have a fear or phobia of social situations. And it's affected my life in some extreme ways. I have had periods of time where I couldn't even leave my house for weeks, months, months at a time. I am awkward as anything. If you've met me in real life, that is no secret. But in the last few years with therapy and medication, I've learned to function cope and thrive. I frequently perform improv and sketch comedy on stage. I give talks at conferences. I even got married. I might be living my best life right now. But it doesn't mean my anxiety has gone away, or I don't have panic attacks. Because I still do. It's just that I know how to deal with them and I know how to function my way through it and cope my way through it.

But recently, I've noticed one area that has really triggered my anxiety and panic without fail, and that is push notifications on my phone. I have several news apps on my phone. I used to be a very big news junkie. I even worked at a few newspapers in the past. But since the last time I've worked in a newsroom, the way I consume news has drastically changed. But it's still important for me to keep current with, with news and events for and for me, that means mobile apps. And I, as many news outlets out there, they're kind of in browser desktop sites leave a lot to be desired. And that is definitely going to be a future episode, so stay tuned.

As my city's mandatory stay at home order wouldn't effect back in in March. Many of these ad news apps were sending out breaking news, push notifications. It was intense, but I rather be informed than left clueless and something else. Notice what the notification says that mixed in with breaking news about COVID-19. We're doing vocations about things that clearly weren't breaking news, like recipes and stories about shows. I do not watch. I mean, even if I watched these, these shows, I did not need to know about them. Right there. And then, I mean, listen, I watched Tiger King with the rest of everybody. But you didn't need to give me up to the date info of what's going on with Joe exotic, come on now. Now, some people might say, I have a duty as a user of these apps to customize my preferences. And I would agree when the app is explicit that settings can be Customize. But let's get real. That is certainly not always the case. One of the apps that I have, the only customization for push notifications is a toggle on or off. There's no way to specify the content that I would like to be pushed to my phone. So it's not just like will keep me informed about this breaking news, things that have could have a major effect on my life. It pushes anything that it feels that they that should, that they want to come to my phone.

Just as I as a user have a responsibility. I believe the creators of applications and websites also have a responsibility. I'm putting trust in this application. With its bare minimum of customization that it has somewhat good intentions. Now, I am not going to get into whether or not a user should trust a product or a corporation, that is a discussion for another time. But if you are creating something, building something, you need to think about what that creation is going to do for into the user. And then you design for that you build for that you test for that.

Mental health is not an edge case.

Web Accessibility is not an edge case.

Web Accessibility is a human right.

The internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. It is you in today's society, and you know and let me preface and I should say in a minute American society, the internet is very much ingrained in how it runs and its function. It's not 1996 were getting online was still very much a novelty for the majority of people. And I don't think it's excusable for any site or application to know, there are major barriers for significant portion of its users. Not anymore. And so that's why

I'm doing this podcast. That is the overarching theme. I want the web to be accessible for everyone.

I am going to bring this episode to a close as I said, it was real rough and I'm just kind of freestyling so I want to thank you so very much for joining me. For this very unique start to ally savvy. Next week is all about all texts and memes. So please come back. It's going to be a good time. Because I love memes because

I'm old and young at the same time. I will,

I hope you all take care of yourself. wear masks, wash your hands.

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