ProductTank Hamburg celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs June 06 2022 False accessibility, Diversity, ProductTank, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 11652 ProductTank Hamburg celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day Product Management 46.608

ProductTank Hamburg celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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On May 19, 2022, ProductTank Hamburg celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a hybrid event on the important topic of accessibility. Our goal was to make the event itself as accessible as possible. That’s why we had a live captioner providing real-time captioning to viewers in the live stream. For those who did not have the opportunity to be there live, we hereby publish the transcript along with the recording of the event.

Introducing our speakers

Sheri Byrne-Haber

Sheri’s talk starts at 08:23 – click here to jump to this position in the transcript

Sheri is a world-leading expert in, and evangelist and advocate for making the world a more accessible place for people with disabilities, best known for launching digital accessibility programs at multiple Fortune 200 companies, including McDonald’s, Albertsons, and VMware.

A prolific writer on disability and accessibility, Sheri has published over 120 articles on Medium, reaching over half-a-million readers. Her effort, talent, and impact was recently recognized by Medium, with them naming Sheri their 2020 UX Author of the Year.

Through her work, Sheri has positively impacted millions of the more than 1 billion people around the world living with disabilities.

Christian Ohrens

The interview with Christian starts at 53:14 – click here to jump to this position in the transcript

Our second guest is Christian Ohrens. Christian is a professional DJ, film maker, journalist, radio host, photographer, and tour guide here in Hamburg. That in itself is an impressive list of activities. It becomes even more impressive when you realize one detail: Christian is blind from birth.

As a blind person, what of all things inspired him to take up photography and video art? How does he approach his productions? Which digital tools are a curse for him? Which are blessings? What can we learn for product development from his perspective? – We will get to the bottom of these questions in conversation with Christian and are very much looking forward to exciting insights.

Transcript

[Applause]

TOBIAS: Yes, we are back with ProductTank. Woohoo! That’s amazing. It’s so amazing to see you all in the room here, and it is also amazing to see a couple of people on stream, I guess, right?

ANJA: Yes, I guess that’s the new normal.

TOBIAS: I think so, although I hope we won’t do multiple hybrid events, because what we can tell, it’s quite complex. So, we also have Arne with us. Hello, Arne?

ARNE: Hello, everybody, from wherever you’re watching.

TOBIAS: We would hand over to you, Arne, to give us famous words of introduction. The stage is yours, so they say.

ARNE: I would like to welcome you to a very special edition of ProductTank Hamburg today. For today’s event, we are happy to contribute to the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day activities, and the purpose of the global Accessibility Awareness Day is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion and the more than one billion people with disabilities and impairments. With accessibility in mind, we are also delighted to offer live captions for this event. … there is the charming Anja and Tobias, who coach product leaders, and managers, and there’s me, Arne, I’m happy to lead the Product Team. In case you’re wondering why I’m participating remotely, one of my daughters caught Covid a couple of days ago, and I don’t want to put anybody at risk. Luckily, we have a hybrid event and this is not an issue. In case this is the first, ProductTank is a meet-up by product people for product people, and it was started in 2010 in London, and, meanwhile, spans over 200 cities worldwide. The organization behind ProductTank is Mind The Product, who, in addition, run conferences, they run a great blog, they have a membership programme, and much more, and what all these activities have in common is they aim to bring product people together to further our craft. I also want to mention that, next month, on the 17 th June, we will be hosting our annual conference, MTP Engage, in Hamburg, with great speakers such as Christina, or Martin Ericsson, and some dedicated sessions around being human as a product manager, being responsible as a product manager, being user-minded as a product manager, and giving direction. We expect an amazing day with 600 product people. The biggest product event in Germany so far. Ever, really! There are still tickets available if you’re interested. End of the promotional part! Now, in case you’re wondering how you can contribute to this lovely community, there are a couple of ways you can get involved, and, for instance, you can speak at a ProductTank Event. It could be in Hamburg or in the other cities. Please check the product website and there are – if you’re representing a company, you can also decide to host or sponsor the ProductTank like NEW WORK SE kindly does today, or you can write for the MTP blog, one of the most respected product blogs out there. If you’re curious for more content, you can also become a member of the MTP Membership Programme for much more content and an overall network of passionate product use. Before we come to today’s speakers, I would like to thank NEW WORK SE who are not only hosting us but who are also covering the cost of this event, so in order to get this out for you, to get the live captions, and also of course the drinks that you would find after the event in the lobby – all of this supported by NEW WORK. I will hand over to Jan Erik Schwitters from NEW WORK SE. To say a few words on behalf of

JAN: All right. [Feedback]. Thanks for that challenge at the beginning! Welcome to our NEW WORK SE, or new location, or new office. So I’m welcoming all of you here physically, and also virtually out there. If I’m doing something wrong, let me know. No? So, welcome. I’m personally energized by being in the office, and have been since last week, I think two days a week, or so. And it really energizes me because meeting people in the real world is different than watching Zoom, and I really enjoy that, but secondly, to my dear colleagues, is this New Office, and I hope you’ve seen a little bit of it. It’s a pretty nice location, with a [feedback sound]. Sorry, with a terrace, with a bar … [feedback sound]. Okay, better now? Okay. Easy tricks. Very nice location. I just want to explain with the bar with the terrace, the gym, and all that, and in case, unfortunately, you do not see much today, we have an internal party today, so that is not for the audience, but in case you want to see that office, drop me a note. We are hiring, so you can see that office every day, or else two days a week, or whatever you want, plus we are offering guided tours in case you’re interested, or we will just have a chit chat and drink a beer. So, having that said, in the name of Honeypot and all our brands, welcome and enjoy the day, and back to Arne.

ARNE: That’s right. Thank you very much, Jan. Thank you, again, to NEW WORK SE for supporting us today. So, now it’s time to come to tonight’s programme. So I’m really glad that, on the one hand, we have Sheri Byrne-Haber joining us from California today. Hello, Sheri. I will put you on stage in a second. Then I’m also happy that here in Hamburg we have our local speaker, Christian Ohrens with us. Welcome, Christian. Before Anja will introduce Sheri, here’s once more a reminder of the global accessibility awareness day, so you can find more information at this URL accessibility.day. In case you missed it earlier, here, again, is the QR code for the live captions for those of you who would like to make use of the live captions. And with that, I would like to hand it over to Anja. The stage is yours, Anja.

ANJA: [Applause]. Thank you very much, Arne, and, for the ones that are joining us via YouTube, the live caption link is also underneath the video in the description. Maybe that’s easier than dealing with the QR code. Welcome, again, from my side as well here in Hamburg, as well as wherever you are in the world. Please leave us a comment from where you’re joining us today.

First talk by Sheri Byrne-Haber

ANJA: I’m really happy to introduce our first speaker tonight to you, and, yes, we’re back, and be prepared to be amazed by the fantastic Sheri Byrne-Haber, who is a very strong voice against discrimination, and an advocate for people with disabilities. She is an extremely knowledgeable expert when it comes to accessibility, she is not only consulting Fortune 200 companies like McDonald’s or VMware but also consults in the governmental and educational sector. For comprehensive and multi-disciplinary knowledge, and educational background, including degrees in law, in business, and a computer science, she’s not only a lawyer, a software developer, she is also an extremely professional speaker, author, and blogger. So, in her blog, she posts weekly about the latest legal cases, about her experiences from consulting as well as her personal life. So, definitely worth having a look into this week in accessibility. She also recently got an award to be the Author of the Year for her Medium Publication, in the UX Collective Publication, and her book Give A Damn about Accessibility, with which is an amazing title, by the way, is available for free, and you can download it as PDF or as audio book under accessibility.uxdesign.cc. It’s really a pleasure to meet someone like Sheri who is so passionate to improve other people’s lives every day. And she indeed did improve the life of millions of people with disabilities which we have billions of people with disabilities worldwide. Really enjoy the talk, and Sheri, good to have you, welcome, and she will have a task for you before she starts. So, Sheri, take us away. [Applause].

SHERI: Thank you so much. I appreciate the invite to come and speak with you to what for me is the most important day of the year, Global Accessibility Awareness Day. I have a number of talks that I can give. I had difficulties choosing between two for this audience. I want to take a vote and people in the room can raise their hands. And then, Arne, or whoever, will tell me which one people are more interested in. So, in terms of my background, I am, stars I know, the only person in the world who is on three of the major accessibility standards organizations. I’m on the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, both their global leadership council, and their certification committee; I’m also on the ITI Council for Accessibility, and they’re the people who do the templates for the accessibility disclosures in the US that also has an EU version; and then finally, I’m on the W3C committee which is where the accessibility standards actually come from. So I have a pretty interesting perspective, I think, on where accessibility is going in the future over the next, let’s say, two to four years, because it’s really hard to project technology past about three years. It starts to get very murky. So I’ve got that talk, which is the future of accessibility, and then I’ve also got a more practical talk which is how to stand up an accessibility programme at your organization and how to build an accessibility road map, so it is a bit of a cookbook, but every step I explain why it is that you have to do that particular thing, and why it is in the list where it is located. So, show of hands. Who wants to hear the practical how to build an accessibility programme talk. … since it is split down the middle, I will give you the talk you don’t have public access to right now. I will send the link to the ProductTank people when it is available, and they can give it to people on the distribution list. Does that make sense?

ANJA: Everybody seems to be happy.

SHERI: Okay. Without further ado, how to build an accessibility road map. All right, so why do you need an accessibility road map and what goes into it? I have this philosophy that any time that I have to explain something more than twice, I write it down, and so that is what has gone into my blog, and that somewhat has also gone into this presentation. So, there are three primary reasons to care about people with disabilities, and I think this is a fairly global concept.. is not just US-orientated. First of all, obviously, people want to be inclusive. You know, disability is a dimension of diversity, equity and inclusion. It is not always adopted that way, but it really should be, because, when you look at the EI, it is about things that you were likely born with that you can’t change, that can work against you, because you’re not part of the majority. So, that is gender, that’s race, that’s ethnicity, and it is also disability. So, if you run into organizations that don’t include disability in their DEI programmes, they really should. Secondly, it’s a good business approach, so the rules are getting stricter and stricter about the public sector not wanting to purchase products that people with disabilities can’t use. And the public sector can be a huge component of companies’ revenue streams, so nobody wakes up in the morning and say, “You know what? I’m going to make this decision that means 25% of my customers can’t buy my product.” But that’s what happens when accessibility is not getting included in just business road maps and schedules, and definitions of done and MVP. And then, finally, accessibility is the law in many countries. And, in fact, in Germany, which is where you’re located, or many of you are located right now, they have some of the strictest accessibility laws in the world. They’ve been adopted and will become final in 2025. There are strict laws now, but the laws are going to become much stricter over the next three years. So why do we start with inclusion? Even if you don’t personally care about inclusion, it still impacts you, because millennials have, they are trending strongly towards caring about inclusion. 80% of millennials have said, “I decided not to apply for a job because I didn’t think the company was inclusive enough.” All right? So even if you think inclusion doesn’t matter, if you want to hire millennials in your organization, and millennials are currently one third of the workforce, it is really important to take a strong public stand towards inclusion. One of the things that millennials care the most about is neurodiversity. Because even if they don’t identify as neurodiverse, I guarantee you they know somebody who does, so that is important to them, and that is why you should always start with persuading people that accessibility is important with the inclusion aspect of it. It used to be that accessibility was a competitive advantage where maybe only a couple of vendors in a particular sector were provided accessible products and everybody else wasn’t, and that gave it that advantage. But we have four EU countries who have banned the public sector from acquiring accessible software. That’s today. And then we have got more regulations that have been locally adopted that will kick in in 2025 when the European Accessibility Act takes effect. We have two states in the United States that have very strict accessibility laws, so even if you happen to be in a country that doesn’t have accessibility law, if you want to do business in Sweden, in France, in Italy, in California, they are expecting you to be accessible because that’s their local laws. Okay, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Israel all have accessibility laws. And while you might not see this as important, private litigation in the United States is through the roof. There were almost 4,500 lawsuits just in the last year in a year where the courts were closed part-time because of Covid, just over accessibility, where people with disabilities are sue ing restaurants, hotels, online businesses, because they’re saying, “I can’t use your site because it’s not accessible, therefore you’re discriminating against me.” So now, what I’m going to do is talk about ten steps to take, and these are kind of in order to build a road map to having a strong accessibility programme, and strong disability inclusion initiatives within your organization. So the first thing is you’ve got to start with executive support. You’re going to need to spend money, okay – that’s a given – and you’re going to have people who want to focus on cool new features and not accessibility. Accessibility is a little bit like plumbing in that sometimes people don’t notice it until it breaks, and then all of a sudden, it is an emergency. Accessibility teams within organizations tend to be fairly small. You will see ratios of maybe one accessibility engineer for 500 developers, or one accessibility engineer for 800 developers sometimes. You need people talking about accessibility when your accessibility team members aren’t in the room, and that’s why you need both executive support and colleague support. The executives will help you get accessibility on that MVP, the minimum viable product. They will be able to influence. You’re not done until it is accessible. The colleagues will be helping you promote the concept of accessibility when the accessibility team isn’t there. So you need to have an internal accessibility policy. In order to have people talking about accessibility when the accessibility team is not in the room, the best people to talk about that are employees with disabilities. But, if your company is buying in  inaccessible software, you’re creating an environment where people with disabilities are going to feel discriminated against, they’re not going to feel like they belong, and most importantly, they’re not going to thrive. So in order to increase the number of employees with disabilities that your organization has, you need to establish an internal accessibility policy, and then you need to follow it. Anything that an organization buys, builds or uses should be accessible. Now, obviously, sometimes you get market areas where nothing is accessible. And so an example I will give you of that right now is like the cloud-based design products, like Figma and Miro and Jamboard. Some are, some aren’t. It is not possible to buy something that is accessible. What you need to do, if you have employees with disabilities who you need to use inaccessible products, you need to set up a plan. You need to have a defined exceptions process that assists that person in being able to contribute equally, even though they can’t use the software. When you prioritize inclusion, the number of accommodations requests, and that might be a US-centric term, I’ve also heard the phrase “adjustments” used, but they should drop substantially, because when you buy things that are accessible, you don’t need to set up these special workarounds for employees because they’re inaccessible. So, the first thing that you need to do, but we are actually at accept number 3 at this point, that is directly related to product accessibility, is you must build a digital inventory. So, a digital inventory is a list of every product, website support system, third-party vendor, anything that you use that has to be accessible. People don’t want accessibility products. People want accessible experiences. And so that includes things like your customer support system, and your training programme, and your documentation. Don’t just focus narrowly on the product, focus broadly on the entire experience, and then build a list. And do include third-party vendors, because frequently what happens with products is rather than building something from scratch, they will license it. For example, one thing that is really common to license is a chatbot. Nobody builds their own chatbots from scratch any more. Some chatbots are accessible; some aren’t. If you’re using an inaccessible chatbot, for example, or an inaccessible mapping system, because that’s another thing nobody builds any more, your product will never be accessible. Until that component that you’ve licensed is accessible. Sometimes that means working with the vendor to improve their accessibility; sometimes that means replacing the vendor if the vendor says we’re not interested in possibility. If it is important enough to you to make your product accessible, then you’re going to have to replace that vendor. As long as there is any inaccessible aspect to the experience, the whole thing is going to be inaccessible. So, the next step that we frequently direct people to do is to establish a training programme. This is actually pretty high priority, so that is why it is high up on the list. You need to decide what level of accessibility your organization is going to adopt as its standard. Most people today are using WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.1, level AA. So there are three levels of accessibility. A are the deal-breakers. If you’re violating an A guideline, such as putting up videos without captions, you’re blocking an entire group of people with disabilities from being able to participate in that aspect of your product. If you’re violating a double A guideline, you’re making it hard. It’s not impossible, but you’re making it very difficult. AAA guidelines are a little bit more aspirational. They make the product easy to use for people with disabilities. As I mentioned, most people have settled at this point on AA, because especially in the US, that is what has been adopted by the regulations, also, WCAG2.1AA is specifically referenced in the EU legislation, which is EN 301 549. So, decide on the level, and then train people on what it takes to meet that level of accessibility. Again, because having people talking about accessibility, when the accessibility team isn’t in the room is important, it is good to set up a champions’ programme, or an advocates’ programme, so that you can have localized experts embedded in teams who can answer questions. So it is especially important for global companies, because if somebody in India, for example, has an accessibility question, you don’t want to make them wait 24 hours to get the answer. If you have an accessibility champion in your Indian geo population, then that person should be able to help answer the question, or connect the individual to somebody on the accessibility team who can answer that question. Step number 5 is to establish the budget and identify the vendors. So, as we mentioned in step 1, which was to get executive support, you’re going to have to spend some money in order to build an accessibility programme. It is best if you can centralize the accessibility budget so that it is considered an overall operational expense when you start to do chargebacks to specific teams, then they tend to want to short-cut the accessibility process because they’re actually paying for it. By centralizing the budget, you’re removing that October. Now, it is possible, and very doable, to do accessibility on a shoestring budget. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to set up an accessibility programme. There is lots of stuff that is available that is free on open source, there is training that is available, you can use vendors in lower-cost areas, for example, if you want to hire somebody like me in San Francisco, which is one of the most expensive places on the planet, it’s going to cost you about $200 an hour to find somebody of my caliber. For somebody with maybe three to five years of testing experience, it is probably going to cost you $90 or 95 an hour. You can get people with the same skill sets in lower-cost areas, such as China and India, and Bulgaria for between $18 and $30 an hour. So there are companies that have people in those best areas, trained and certified to the American and EU accessibility standards, but because they’re in areas where the cost of living and salaries are much lower, that gives you a budgetary advantage, if that is something that is important to you. So, figure out how much money you get to spend and identify the vendors that you’re going to spend it on. There are other low-cost options that are working with nonprofits that focus on people with disabilities, for example, in the US, we have the famous school for the blind in s where Helen Keller went to school. Where an entire audience with vision loss, when they get older, can transition into accessibility-testing roles. It’s also possible to crowdsource. There are companies like Applause, and Digivanti who have groups of people with disabilities, they will take testing projects and people get paid per bug, so you’re not incurring an endless hourly expense, it’s more of a bug-bounty way of paying for your accessibility testing. It’s got a feedback loop, because the better your code is, the fewer bugs they’re going to identify, and the cheaper it’s going to be for you. Okay, the next thing that you can do is ask people if they are willing to disclose that they have a disability. It becomes much more progressive in organizations if executives will step up and say, “Hey, I am color blind, or I have dyslexia”. In the UK, probably the most famous instance of this is Richard Branson. He has actually started a dyslexia foundation. He has talked about how dyslexia has impacted his life. I realize that there is a lot of data sensitivity in the EU to particular health details. It’s really important not to focus on the medical condition but instead focus on what it is that the person needs in order to compensate for that. So, for example, for somebody who is color-blind, there are now glasses available that will reverse color blindness while the person is wearing those glasses. I was actually present when our Chief Information Officer at VMware saw the color red for the first time, and I literally cried. It was that powerful of an experience. But having people, building a psychologically safe environment where people with disabilities, especially people with hidden disabilities, are comfortable discussing them publicly, is one of the ways that you can build a more robust accessibility programme. Okay. Larger companies definitely need to have disability employee resource groups. So employee resource groups sometimes they’re called Business Resource Groups, or sometimes they’re called Affinity Groups, or groups of individuals plus allies that focus on a specific dimension of diversity and inclusion. So VMware has 38,000 employees right now. We have about 1,100 people usually at our monthly meetings where we talk about different aspects of disability, different breakthroughs in terms of the legal system, or technology, and we push the organization to become more inclusive of people with disabilities, so at VMware, our disability employee resource group is actually responsible for the DEI, or the Disability Equality Index – an American-based survey we take every year that identifies where we’re doing well in the organization with respect to accessibility, and where we’re doing poorly, and it helps us pick up areas that we can improve on. Now, at VMware, our Disability Employee Resource Group includes visible and invisible disabilities and we also include neurodiversity and mental wellness, because some people consider a neurodiverse condition disabling to themselves, but other people don’t – likewise with mental health conditions. I will just point out that invisible disabilities are 70% of all disabilities. So only 30% are visible; 70% are invisible. Okay, low-hanging fruit is that now you’re actually ready to start fixing things. Color choices, accommodation discussions, presentations, templates and captions are all really easy things to fix that have significant impact. So when you start doing your audits, what you want to do is you want to prioritize things that are high impact and low effort. And all of these things that I’ve listed here are definitely high impact and low effort. And do those first, because you will be able to capitalize on the wins in these areas to tackle some of the more difficult areas, such as getting your software to work with screen readers. Okay. You want to make your company a desired destination for employees with disabilities. So, I’m showing a picture right now of Stephanie. Stephanie worked at VMware, and she uses alternative and augmentative communications advice or AAC. She does not speak. She’s working on a Masters degree in communications right now. We had an event where people, engineers, the person sitting behind Stephanie is one of VMware’s engineers, where he came and interacted with her through the AAC device so he could then start thinking about, “Well, how would people use the VMware software with an AAC device?” So, again, this is probably the third time I’ve mentioned this, but getting employees with disabilities is critical, because they bring their lived experience, and then you just talk to them and you don’t make assumptions. Then you’re doing stuff with people with disabilities, and not for people with disabilities. And, finally, if it is not accessible, don’t launch it. You need to establish release gates for your software so that is checks to see whether the accessibility reviews have been done, and what the results are, and things that are not accessible or that have critical errors should not be launched, because then you’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to have do a patch, which costs more money, takes more time, takes effort away from future development, so there has to be a line in the sand that people don’t cross for accessibility programmes to be successful. So just to recap, and then if we’ve got time, we will move to Q&A. Accessibility needs to be part of every company’s mission and every employee’s job, okay? Down to janitors, okay? I have had situations where I couldn’t get down a hallway in my wheelchair because somebody left a piece of furniture out that I couldn’t get around. It’s that important. It literally is every employee’s job to look at accessibility through the lens of what their job description is and what it is that they do. You need to look at accessibility as a programme and not a project. Okay, when you are “done”, things change, right? You get new versions of browsers, new operating systems, new features, and then you’re going to have to go back and reassess accessibility for those. Apple’s going to release a new iPhone. You don’t have control over that. You have to make sure that when that new iPhone comes out that your software works correctly in using the accessibility features of the iPhone. So continuous process improvement, not that you finished that you think of it as a project you’re done, and you disband. Okay? Accessibility is not just about what an organization sells, it’s about employees needing to be able to fully participate, because employees need accessibility just as much as if not more than customers do. And use your corporate influence to let third-party vendors know that accessibility is important to you when, for example, when VMware works with Slack or Atlassian, or Zoom. I think we have 41 different vendors we’re working with just now. When they’re making improvements, they’re not improving it for VMware but for everybody. That’s a huge impact and influence that you can have on the disability world that’s going to improve everybody’s perception of your organization as an inclusive environment. [Applause].

ANJA: Thank you so much, Sheri. That was amazing. I look at smiling faces, everybody is super excited. We have a couple of minutes for questions. So.

SHERI: I have a question. Where is my beer! I don’t have a beer! [Laughter].

ANJA: Let me get on the plane.

SHERI: It’s ten o’clock in the morning so it is early for beer!

ANJA: Let me start with a question while the audience warms up. So, as product owner, you usually work with a lot of stakeholders, and what would be your response if they say, well, our clients are not disabled, or our product doesn’t address people with disabilities?

SHERI: Right. So I have heard that before. We don’t have customers with disabilities, and my answer to that is, to use an American expression, “horse-pucky” which means that’s not true. Remember, 70% of disabilities are invisible. 4.5% of the population is color blind. We know this. It’s genetic. If your product is tech-related, your number goes up to 6.5% because color blindness is linked to being male. So, what are you saying? That you don’t have any users who are men? Right? That’s just – they don’t have any users with disabilities that they know of, right? Because they haven’t asked. So, I would say do some quick user research. One of the things that we did at VMware was we tacked on at the end of our user research surveys just a question: are you interested in accessibility? Okay? We gave this to 1,100 users at our conference. 43% answered yes, that they were interested in accessibility. So I would say that you need to disabuse the person who is saying they don’t have users with disabilities by proving to them that they do.

ANJA: Awesome. Great. More questions? Otherwise.

TOBIAS: I saw one hand carefully being raised.

SHERI: One brave person

FLOOR:  First of all, thank you for sharing your insights. Very interesting. My question is about the low-hanging fruits that you mentioned, and maybe it’s my English skills, but I wanted to know regarding presentation templates, and another one you mentioned that was on the left of that, if you could explain just briefly what those mean?

SHERI: Sure. For presentation templates, I’m talking about the default templates for your Word documents, or your PowerPoint documents. A lot of times, they’re set up with colors or fonts that are not accessible, and doing an accessibility review of those is important to do early, because then people with disabilities will be more engaged and understanding more fully what is in these presentations and documents. So there are some color contrast rules that are identified in the WCAG guidelines, so, I won’t get too deep into the math, but a color on itself is considered to have a ratio of one. Black on white is 21. Everything else is somewhere in the middle. So the minimum requirement for contrast is 3. For large text, and 4.5 for small text. So, what that means is about 20% of color combinations are disallowed, because the contrast isn’t good enough. So, an example of that would be somebody puts the teeny tiny gray small-print text at the bottom of a page they’re hoping people don’t see. That’s not going to have sufficient contrast, so that is going to fail. Yellow on white is another combination that always fails. Sky blue on white is another combination that always fails. Color on color can be a little bit tricky. And you definitely don’t want to mix red and green because of the color blindness issues that we talked about before. So those are some of the basics of color accessibility and why presentation templates are so important to start early with making them accessible, because everybody in your company is going to use those, likely.

TOBIAS: Thanks very much. There is another question from our friend, Ishaan. Great to see the company coming back together.

ISHAAN: Happy to be here, thanks, Sheri, for sharing your thoughts. Actually, we were talking about color blindness, accessibility in our company’s UX design, so it is good to hear a few ideas. But, personally, I’m new to the topic, and I’m trying to get myself more aware, and maybe it is a stupid question, but, if it is a digital product, a software product, what is – what are the more examples apart from colour blindness that can be, let’s say, maybe you can tell some of them?

SHERI: Sure. So there are 50 guidelines in the WCAG. About half of them have to do with complete vision loss. Not because that’s the most common disability, but because it is the hardest thing to do, to make something that is inherently visual like a web page work for somebody who can’t see. So a couple of examples of things that are required for that particular group would be making sure that every time something changes on the screen, an announcement is made to the screen reader user. There is an add-on to HTML called ARIA, and you can do that, so you can use ARIA to customize what it is that people who are blind hear. So an example would be let’s say I’m shopping from a grocery store. I put a bag of cookies into my shopping cart. Well, what’s going to happen? First of all, the subtotal is going to change; second of all, maybe you have a coupon for those cookies, and that shows up on the screen. If there is a delivery minimum for your grocery order, that delivery, the amount that you have to buy will be reduced, because you’ve just added the cookies into the cart. So even though you’ve only done one action, it may trigger four or five different things on the screen. Another place where it is really common is you type in a postal code, and shipping charges come up. You’ve done one thing but you’ve got multiple outcomings changing on the side of the screen, and you need to make sure that all of those outcomes are explained to somebody who can’t see the screen. Reflow is absolutely critical. Anybody who designs an HTML page any more that doesn’t re flow needs to find another job, because without reflow, magnification won’t work, and we have five times as many people like me who use magnification to see as we do who use screen readers. So never design something without reflow as part of your definition of done, because you’re guaranteed to violate multiple WCAG guidelines.

TOBIAS: That was pretty clear. So never do this! So it is good that we have some practical advice. Are there more questions here in the room? Maybe in the chat. Oh, there are.

SHERI: Now they know I don’t bite, they will ask! What is your question?

TOBIAS: Oh yes, there is Madita. Hi Madita, How are you? What’s your question?

MADITA:  Hi! Again, thank you very much for your talk. I have a question regarding the selling of accessibility within companies, and I love to take the comparison to Google, or other search engines, which I liken a disabled user can’t see or hear, so you have to explain. … is highly ranked in companies but not accessibility. What are your arguments to go for this direction to say, well, you’re optimizing for search engines, but the little part to do the rest before the accessibility is easy to do, or do you say, ah, this is tricky, because yes, certain reasons?

SHERI: Sure. So most companies establish security and privacy programmes before they establish accessibility programmes, and it is always difficult when you’re coming into something mid- stream and trying to change the way it’s done. It’s much easier if you’re building something correctly from the beginning, but with accessibility you really get the opportunity to build it from the beginning. You’re usually retrofitting from the outset. So my recommendation for those types of situations is to look at accessibility as a form of regulatory compliance. You would never, ever release a product that didn’t comply with GDPR, right? That is a one way ticket to getting fired. Accessibility needs to be in that same conversation of security, privacy, accessibility. Because they’re all controlled by laws and litigation, and they all cut across the entire product. They don’t belong to one specific feature.

TOBIAS: Thanks very much. We’ve got another question, I think, right?

FLOOR:  My question is: why is it that in 2022, companies are still struggling to implement all the guidelines? I mean, it is as old as the internet and do you think this will change with the new law?

SHERI: So the biggest problem is that accessibility isn’t taught in college, right? You can get a computer science degree, or a design degree, without ever hearing the word “accessibility”. If that changed, if those degrees require even just one course on inclusive coding, or inclusive design, then you would have a whole cohort of people coming out knowing that this is important and bringing at least a little bit of skills into the organization that they could then build on. Right now, accessibility is all self-taught. I think about 40 years ago, when I first started working in computer science, software QA was the same: it was a mystery. You had to learn it on your own. You had to apprentice yourself to somebody who was already doing it, and more expert than you. Now, today, we have Six Sigma, people who can get entire degrees in quality engineering. I think accessibility today is where quality was 30 years ago, and I think the key to getting that change is getting it included into the college programmes. And boot camps as well. Since, you know, some education is starting to shift to a more non-traditional format.

ANJA: Thank you very much. I hope that answered the question. We are running a bit out of time, Sheri, but let me first of all thank you very much. This was really insightful. I think everybody will take something into their daily work tomorrow, and maybe you have some final thoughts, words, wishes, to our community?

SHERI: I would say that VMware pays me, so 20% of my time is working with other companies totally unconnected to VMware and to help them on their accessibility journey. I am one of the only Byrne-Habers on the planet, so I’m not difficult to find. Reach out to me on LinkedIn if you have any questions about your own accessibility programmes.

TOBIAS: That reminds me you didn’t answer my contact request yet…

ANJA: Thank you very much, Sheri. It was a pleasure to have you. Have a great rest of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and say hi to San Francisco.

SHERI: I will. Thank you so much. [Applause].

TOBIAS: Thanks very much. Sheri. Thanks very much for this inspiring talk, and it is is so great with these hybrid set-ups, although they drive complexity to help, it’s great to have speakers from the US interacting with an audience here in ham where you, and we also got a live captioner sitting in the UK and doing an amazing job for us. It is a real person, typing realtime, and if Ana could show the QR code again, that would be awesome, Anja, so people can see on the phones in the room what Andrew is doing there behind the scenes, because I think that’s legendary! It’s really amazing to see how captions can be typed that fast. For those in the room, you will see them slightly delayed because Andrew is in sync with the YouTube stream, and that is slightly delayed, so he’s even faster than what you see there! It’s really amazing.

Interview with Christian Ohrens

TOBIAS: Now it’s my pleasure to introduce to you our second guest tonight, and our second guest is Christian Ohrens. Christian was born in 1984 in the city of Wolfsburg, which has a passion for his local soccer club. He went to school in Hanover and Marburg before he started studying media and Communication Science where in 2012, he completed his Masters degree in media and communications science. And, after that, he started a multifaceted career. So I have to look into the notes to make sure that I have the complete list, so, Christian nowadays is a tech support, first level, and second level, as far as I stood for Deutsche Telekom, an independent journalist, a professional DJ, published a book recently, a photographer, a film-maker, a radio host, and also an amusement park tester, and a tour guide! And that in itself, I think, you would agree, is quite an impressive list of activities. And, it becomes even more impressive when you realize just one little detail, Christian is congenitally blind. So let’s please welcome, with a warm hand of applause, Mr Christian Ohrens on stage here in Hamburg. You asked for water. There is some water here. I have to open a bottle for you. One for me. So it is here to your right. And you also need a microphone in order to speak. That’s right, I forgot about that. Good that someone remembered! Wonderful! Christian, how are you?

CHRISTIAN: I’m fine, thank you. Glad to be here. Yes.

TOBIAS: I was thinking about the first question to ask you tonight, and as this is a highly tech-biased audience in the room, I was thinking about the one device that disrupted our lives back in 2007, and that is the iPhone. I would want to know how the iPhone changed your life?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, the iPhone was the first I say “telephone”, it’s more than a telephone, we have to say it this way, the iPhone was the first telephone which was, and which is fully accessible after buying. So, if you remember, those old Nokia telephones with Symbian operating system, there, you have to buy very expensive software which reads out the screen, your text messages, incoming calls, and so on, and with the start of the smartphone, you were able to access your phone after you bought it. So, yes. This is a very big success, a very big change. Honestly, I have to say, I’m not an Apple user any more!

TOBIAS: So you changed, let me guess to Android?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, of course.

TOBIAS: I will throw my notes away now! Why?

CHRISTIAN: I disagree with a little bit about the politics of Apple, with the closed system, nothing could be dropped on your phone, nothing could be sent off your phone to somebody else. You need iTunes to synchronize everything. It has to be synchronized inside the Apple system, and six years ago, I’ve been saying to myself, “Okay, I definitely need a change, I need a more open system” so I decided to buy an Android smartphone, and I’m very happy about it.

TOBIAS: You would say it is at least as good in terms of accessibility?

CHRISTIAN: Definitely it is. I would say it is to 90%, while the iPhone is 99%, but, yes, for me, it is just a telephone with an opportunity to read mails, and, for me, the smartphone isn’t a smart office like for the others. I’m a little bit old school in this way. So what I need it for, it’s more than enough.

TOBIAS: What do you need it for?

CHRISTIAN: For, yes, just to do telephone calls, to chat with common chat apps like WhatsApp, or Facebook, checking emails on the way, maybe listen to music. That’s it.

TOBIAS: One thing I tend to ask in job interviews when I’m interviewing product managers is which is your favorite app and why? Could you give me an answer?

CHRISTIAN: Podcast addict! It is a very good app to manage your podcasts, to explore new podcasts, and so on. And also, the calendar. Which you should not miss. Yes.

TOBIAS: Let’s dive deeper into the calendar, because that is something I was asking myself when we’ve been in touch to prepare for tonight. Because I just cannot imagine how it works to use a calendar without actually seeing the calendar, because for me, it’s a highly visual tool where I need to see the full week to understand what is going on. How does it work for you?

CHRISTIAN: It works in two ways. The easiest way, which you all can use, is to ask your voice assistant, which could be Siri, the Google Assistant, or Bigsby, and ask, “Hey, what is happening tomorrow? Are there any appointments?” The assistant will say yes or no. The other way is yes, just sort your calendar. You have the possibility to sort it to dates, or to hours, or whatever, and so also, the calendar is accessible. And you should, if you put something on your calendar, you should also put reminders for your several appointments there, so your smartphone will definitely send you a message some hours before your appointment will happen.

TOBIAS: And that made sure you were here one hour before the time!

CHRISTIAN: I’ve been here one hour before the time because I’ve been walking around the city, I’ve recorded some new videos today, and I’ve got enough time to be here earlier.

TOBIAS: Now that we praised a little bit what is going on on the Android platform, and what is going on on the Apple platform, let’s maybe start speaking about those things that annoy you the most. So what is the worst digital experience for you?

CHRISTIAN: The worst digital experience is if you are on the website of Deutsche Bahn and want to buy your tickets, and you have those really old-fashioned Captcha challenges where you have to type in some stupid words, or signs, or whatever, and, if you want to access them, there is a possibility, but you have to install a cookie, and how old-fashioned is this! You have to install a cookie, so this site is accessible to you. Today, there is no need for Captchas. You can have small mathematic exercises, or whatever, mathematical challenges, two plus five is something everybody could manage.

TOBIAS: 7!

CHRISTIAN: Yes! I think it is one of the worst websites experiences at the moment.

TOBIAS: Did you try their app to give them a chance?

CHRISTIAN: If you want to book over their app, you have to do the same challenge after you managed this challenge. You have the possibility to enable two-factor authentication, and, after that, you never have to type in this damned Captcha again. The way until you are there, it is, yes.

TOBIAS: I think we understand. I’m looking at faces in the audience. Is there a product manager from Deutsche Bahn here? But maybe they’re listening to the live stream, and they now have some inspiration on what to take. Sheri just spoke about accessibility in general, and specifically about the upcoming European Accessibility Act she mentioned during her talk. Do you have any expectations that this will change, for example, the experience you have when you go to deutschebahn.de?

CHRISTIAN: No, because we here in Germany aren’t able to do good laws for accessibility. This law is a chance for us, but this is not a must-have for companies to change something. The law asks companies to change something, but yes, I think the politician’s do not understand what it means to have an accessible life, or accessible products, accessible eCommerce, or whatever.

TOBIAS: But it reminds me a little bit of the days when we all spoke about privacy the same way, until two weeks before the GDPR became a must-have, and every company got stressed because they realized oh, we should do something about that, because now our board could go to prison when they don’t take care of it, so wouldn’t you at least hope that this will be the same evolution for accessibility over the next years?

CHRISTIAN: It might be nice, but if I ever look at other laws, for example, the, in Germany, it’s, it is the AGG, the Anti-[German spoken]. AGG. It helps you that you can participate in more things, but there are so many possibilities for companies to have their own exceptions to say no, you can’t participate, and this is for me the best example that we are not able to do very good laws for having people with disabilities participating in our daily life.

TOBIAS: If you were in power, what would you do?

CHRISTIAN: I would say – we should … should agree that people with disabilities can manage their life. Here in Germany, it’s very often so that people, that sighted people know always better what you as a blind person can do or should not do, and we should definitely stay away from this way of thinking. With this way of thinking in our minds, we cannot make good laws or good, yes, things, politics for people with disabilities.

TOBIAS: You cannot build a good environment when you listen to the ones who are affected, right?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, this is one of our biggest problems in Germany. That everybody be safe, and we only see the problem but not the solution.

TOBIAS: Yes. Let’s speak about one solution in one of the bigger tech trends we’ve seen in these e-scooters we see in the city all over the place. If you were in power, would you allow these things to be parked on the sideways?

CHRISTIAN: Not on the sideways, but, for example, we have special places for bicycles. Why not build such special places also for these scooters? So, if we talk about alternative mobility, like more bicycle ways, or whatever, we should also let the e-scooters only run on these cycle lanes, and also be parked where only bicycles should be parked and not somewhere else.

TOBIAS: Dedicated spots which you can easily navigate around?

CHRISTIAN: Yes.

TOBIAS: You kindly allowed us to show some of your pictures, because I said in the introduction, already, that you are not happy with just consuming the web, you’re also a content-creator, and one of your passions is photography, and we see a beautiful picture of Trier, my how many  home town, and you’ve been there on a trip and took some pictures. We’ve also seen my favorite portrait of yours, which shows you wearing that shirt that says, “Don’t stare at me like that, I’m just a blind photographer!” While I love that sense of humor in this statement, it also made me think about your motivations. Most of us I guess take pictures because we want memories, right? When we go to the most beautiful city, south of Hamburg, let’s say, Trier, then we take pictures to later on look at them, and, yes, finally remember. I guess that’s not your key motivation?

CHRISTIAN: Let’s go back in time. I’ve been traveling around Scandinavia in 2014, and I wrote a very long travel report about my experience, and I thought, okay, most of my friends are sighted, and nobody would read a travel report without any pictures. That is, really, it is … so, and during my studies, I thought to myself, hey, what would happen if you’re the man behind the camera? If you film or take a photo of things your opinion, and your way of thinking, and your way, like you see the world, and I thought, okay, these travels through Scandinavia is – was one of my biggest traveling projects alone without a companion, and why not trying to make some pictures and some videos? And for me, it is kind of an art project, because we all, when we make pictures, what are we doing? At first, we are looking for the best, for the best spot, yes. The second thing is we’re filtering. We are looking for the best picture out of those 100 pictures we’ve made, and the third thing, one of the worst things is we put into Photoshop and correct the picture. This is a lie. It is a lie to ourselves, because if you’re correcting your picture, if you’re filtering, it’s not the way you have seen the place where you have taken your picture. So what I do is not only take a picture of one fixed spot, like the Dome in Cologne, for example, or St Michael’s Church here in Hamburg, or …

TOBIAS: …or Porta Nigra in Trier…

CHRISTIAN: …yes! I’m heading heading around, and I take pictures, let’s say, every five or every ten centimeters I’m turning around, because there is not only the the Porta Nigra in Trier, it is not standing in the desert, it is things standing around, and it could be a construction building around, it could be a lamppost, it could be a group of people, it could be whatever, a dirty car. If you’ve ever been there, you would have seen all these things, so, this is the way I – let’s really say I see those places because I try to catch the atmosphere of this place, and what I do not is to – do an audio recording, what might be more logical, I do pictures, and I try to capture the atmosphere in pictures. I also record videos, and there, there is a very nice experiment because in the videos, I’m able to announce where I am. And, you could find out yourself, are all these things really in this video or not? There might be something really different, or nothing, or whatever. As I said before, for me, it doesn’t matter if the pictures are perfect or not, it’s the kind of an art experiment. The problem here in Germany is we always have to explain why we should do this, why we do that, and why we do not do the things like the others.

TOBIAS: Okay.

CHRISTIAN: And this is the reason why, why I sometimes wear this shirt. Because as I started taking photos, people very often came and tried to grab the camera, and say, hey, let me do this picture for you, or should I do it for you, and they do not understand that I want to do that, and nobody should grab others’ cameras!

TOBIAS: Yes. Absolutely. I fully agree. So, let’s not dive deeper into why you’re doing this, but I still need to ask you that you did a documentary a couple of years ago about the Marksmen Club in Neu Wulmsdorf – the English title of that documentary, it’s a 70-minute documentary, you can buy it online, it is called “A Piece of Culture That Disappears”. I would want to understand why a film about the marksmen tradition?

CHRISTIAN: The story behind this film is a friend of mine is playing the drums in the, oh, what do you call this?

TOBIAS: Oh, ehm. We call it the “Spielmannszug”. Let’s say the chapel of the marksman club, maybe? I would want to see what Andrew does with “Spielmannszug”.

CHRISTIAN: He played a solo at this festival, and he asked me if I could record him. And he knows, but, I’m also recording videos, and he likes the idea, and I said, hey, what is going on there. Should we tell you more about this playing, because I know this tradition from the village I’ve been growing up in, and yes, he, he told me a little bit about this four days, and I said, hey. This tradition might be very unknown to many people, because, and many villagers, it’s gone. You wouldn’t find this any more. So, I got the idea, why not make a documentary about this? And, as I told you, you have to always explain what you do. People are saying for your first documentary, couldn’t you choose some better, some important, more important subjects.

TOBIAS: More important than marksmen?

CHRISTIAN: It’s my first film, and so I decide what to do.

TOBIAS: So, what did you learn from this production? What was your first documentary?

CHRISTIAN: It was my first documentary where I made a lot of mistakes.

TOBIAS: A learning mindset, I guess.

CHRISTIAN: Of course. Starting with not having enough batteries for the microphone with me. I should have had a camera with me, or a better gimbal. It was a nice experience, I thought about doing more stuff like this, and then came corona, and, yes…

TOBIAS: And you had to write a book, right!

CHRISTIAN: This is not because of corona.

TOBIAS: It was released in 20212.

CHRISTIAN: Yes.

TOBIAS: Started earlier?

CHRISTIAN: I started writing articles for my blog in 2010, and the book is just a choice of articles out of a blog.

TOBIAS: I see. So you’re a blogger as well. That’s one thing you can look up on the internet. I think, Christian, you’re doing way too many things. We cannot discuss all of this in 20 minutes! Because you’re also a DJ. I wanted to speak with you about your DJ-ing, but maybe everybody goes online, because you are bookable, right? We can book you for our next wedding party, or company event.

CHRISTIAN: I do not drive to Trier! This is too far away.

TOBIAS: I can understand. Not only because of the distance. You do work here as a tour guide here in the city of Hamburg. I love that you mentioned earlier, you thought about how to write an article about how to write – about how you had to put images into these articles. A little bit with the same mindset, I guess, you’re doing the tours here in Hamburg where you allow sighted people to step into at least for a couple of hours, into the situation of what it is like being blind, and so these people get blindfolded, and you give them a guide stick, and then you guide them through the city of Hamburg. What did you learn from these tours? I think we all can at least have an idea of what we might learn, or we try at this. Try it, so, if you want to try it, you can go through the city of Hamburg with Christian. What interests me is what did you learn from these tours?

CHRISTIAN: One of the experiences, but you learn how to work with different people, with different needs, and different – yes, different needs, let’s say. To, it helps me to understand how to work with customers. And the personal contact, start the contact. It also helps to – yes, you know better your city, because if you are walking around, you have to know where you are, or you have to, – in the last five years I’ve been learning so much about this nice city, I’ve met a lot of interesting and nice people during the tours. Yes. That’s enough for me!

TOBIAS: Meeting nice people and helping them to change their perspectives.

CHRISTIAN: Yes, and even if it is just, many people are asking, hey, what is the aim of your tours? What do you want?  What do you want people to learn?

TOBIAS: Then you need to explain, right?

CHRISTIAN: Why do you always want people to learn something? If it is a team event with your company, and you want to have two hours’ fun, and you want to do something different, and to go on a dragon boat, or to do whatever, it is for me, it’s okay, if people, if people enjoying their tour, it’s nice. If they are, if they’ve learned something for themselves, yes, it’s nice, okay. But, I don’t want to, in Germany, we would say I don’t want to be there always with the raised finger.

TOBIAS: Don’t want to teach people or preach. You gave me my key word for the last question, and that is “fun”. I mentioned in the beginning that you’re also a professional tester of amusement parks! That means that you test amusement parks for their accessibility, and that you write reports about that, how well these parks work for people without visual perception, and, from your reports, I learned that you seem to be a person that is not scared of anything, and that is also something I think we heard in the last 20 minutes, just from learning about all your activities, so my question is, when you go to an amusement park – and I need to tell you, the last time I’ve been on an fair ride is like 15 years ago and it ended up me being a bit in the hospital because I got so sick from the break dancer! I totally don’t understand how you can go to these things and what do you want to know about a ride before you enter it, or do you just go there and you enter all the rides because you’re not scared of it?

CHRISTIAN: This is one of the biggest problems here in Germany. Most of the operators, or the owners of the park, say, “Hey, you have – you need somebody with you, because you need to know how the ride goes” I say, “Why do I need to know how the ride goes?” Sighted people leave their glasses at the entrance, so at 80 meters’ height, they always do not see what happens, because they’re closing their eyes. If I need to know about the ride, the car driver, if I step into the taxi later on, the taxi driver wouldn’t also say it to me, okay, now we’re going right, now we’re going left, now we’re braking.

TOBIAS: I understand! This is because they drive slower than the rollercoasters, right!

CHRISTIAN: Yes. But, the belts on the car are not…

TOBIAS: …as safe on the ones as the rollercoasters?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, of course. I do not understand why I should know about the ride. The important thing to know about the ride is, okay, is there a looping? If you don’t like to have looping, yes? Or isn’t there? So this is the only thing for me. And, on the other hand, I don’t care.

TOBIAS: Is there anything that is holding you back?

CHRISTIAN: Not at the moment. Maybe I haven’t tried it before. The problem is, here in Germany, in most of the parks, you’re not able to do the ride without a senior companion, because, the [German spoken], and also some local organizations say, “Hey, you’re not allowed to do the right because you have to e advantage 80 yourself in an 80-meter site when the train stops.” I ask, “How often does the roller coaster stop? 20 times a day, more or less, or whatever?” The problem is like I said before, we in Germany, we love to be safe. We want everything to be safe, 250%. And this is the reason why we say, okay, you’re blind, I say, you need somebody besides you to help you. Okay. This, yes, don’t must be the problem, because, if you’re standing in front of me in the queue, I could ask you, would you help me? But, the park would say no, this is forbidden. You have to bring your companion, which is, listen, responsible for you. Nobody has to be responsible. Nobody can be responsible for you, because you’re an adult, you’re over 18 years old. You’re responsible for yourself, and nobody else.

TOBIAS: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: This is also why I believe that we have a big problem with true accessibility here in Germany.

TOBIAS: Yes. I think that’s a wonderful final statement, that we should all be aware that we treat you like an adult, because you’re an adult, and we should take your needs into account the same way we try to take all the other user needs into account, and that is something we can all take with us, and try to bring to life in our products, I guess from tomorrow onwards. Let’s hope that Deutsche Bahn listens, and they will fix some Captcha challenges soon.

CHRISTIAN: No, they won’t, because they are thinking they’re doing everything right. If you’re commenting on their Facebook page, you get very nice standard phrases back, oh, we apologize, like in the announcement on the platform. We apologize for any inconvenience!

TOBIAS: Christian. Thanks very much for joining us tonight! [Applause]. It was really a pleasure having you, and learning from your perspective. There were so many topics we didn’t cover, but, you can buy his book Experiences, on Amazon, you can book a tour with him, there are fliers outside the door, you can find him online, the link is in the show notes, and for sure, you can book him as a DJ for your next wedding party or team event, or whatever. Thanks again for joining us tonight. Thanks for allowing us to learn from your perspective, and thanks everyone in the audience for joining us tonight, everyone in the live stream for joining us tonight. This is now the official end of the live stream. Just a second, before we hear in the room get a chance to socialize and have some drinks, beer, Coke, water, whatever you prefer. Thanks again to both our speakers, Sheri Byrne-Haber and Christian Ohrens. Thanks to everyone joining us. Thanks to our sponsor, NEW WORK SE, for having us, thanks to Jan-Erik Schwitters representing NEW WORK SE here tonight, and also going to have a beer with us, I guess, and also thanks to our captioner, Andrew, in the UK, and last but not at least, thanks to my fellow co-organisers, Anja and Arne, and to Ben, who is taking care of the video tonight. Thanks, Ben! Thanks, everybody! Enjoy the rest of the evening.

[Applause].

[a]Can you link that to an anchor further down in the doc? See comment further down.

[b]Can you link that to a second anchor further down in the doc? See comment further down.

On May 19, 2022, ProductTank Hamburg celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a hybrid event on the important topic of accessibility. Our goal was to make the event itself as accessible as possible. That's why we had a live captioner providing real-time captioning to viewers in the live stream. For those who did not have the opportunity to be there live, we hereby publish the transcript along with the recording of the event.

Introducing our speakers

Sheri Byrne-Haber

Sheri’s talk starts at 08:23 – click here to jump to this position in the transcript Sheri is a world-leading expert in, and evangelist and advocate for making the world a more accessible place for people with disabilities, best known for launching digital accessibility programs at multiple Fortune 200 companies, including McDonald’s, Albertsons, and VMware. A prolific writer on disability and accessibility, Sheri has published over 120 articles on Medium, reaching over half-a-million readers. Her effort, talent, and impact was recently recognized by Medium, with them naming Sheri their 2020 UX Author of the Year. Through her work, Sheri has positively impacted millions of the more than 1 billion people around the world living with disabilities.

Christian Ohrens

The interview with Christian starts at 53:14 – click here to jump to this position in the transcript Our second guest is Christian Ohrens. Christian is a professional DJ, film maker, journalist, radio host, photographer, and tour guide here in Hamburg. That in itself is an impressive list of activities. It becomes even more impressive when you realize one detail: Christian is blind from birth. As a blind person, what of all things inspired him to take up photography and video art? How does he approach his productions? Which digital tools are a curse for him? Which are blessings? What can we learn for product development from his perspective? - We will get to the bottom of these questions in conversation with Christian and are very much looking forward to exciting insights.

Transcript

[Applause] TOBIAS: Yes, we are back with ProductTank. Woohoo! That's amazing. It's so amazing to see you all in the room here, and it is also amazing to see a couple of people on stream, I guess, right? ANJA: Yes, I guess that's the new normal. TOBIAS: I think so, although I hope we won't do multiple hybrid events, because what we can tell, it's quite complex. So, we also have Arne with us. Hello, Arne? ARNE: Hello, everybody, from wherever you're watching. TOBIAS: We would hand over to you, Arne, to give us famous words of introduction. The stage is yours, so they say. ARNE: I would like to welcome you to a very special edition of ProductTank Hamburg today. For today's event, we are happy to contribute to the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day activities, and the purpose of the global Accessibility Awareness Day is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion and the more than one billion people with disabilities and impairments. With accessibility in mind, we are also delighted to offer live captions for this event. ... there is the charming Anja and Tobias, who coach product leaders, and managers, and there's me, Arne, I'm happy to lead the Product Team. In case you're wondering why I'm participating remotely, one of my daughters caught Covid a couple of days ago, and I don't want to put anybody at risk. Luckily, we have a hybrid event and this is not an issue. In case this is the first, ProductTank is a meet-up by product people for product people, and it was started in 2010 in London, and, meanwhile, spans over 200 cities worldwide. The organization behind ProductTank is Mind The Product, who, in addition, run conferences, they run a great blog, they have a membership programme, and much more, and what all these activities have in common is they aim to bring product people together to further our craft. I also want to mention that, next month, on the 17 th June, we will be hosting our annual conference, MTP Engage, in Hamburg, with great speakers such as Christina, or Martin Ericsson, and some dedicated sessions around being human as a product manager, being responsible as a product manager, being user-minded as a product manager, and giving direction. We expect an amazing day with 600 product people. The biggest product event in Germany so far. Ever, really! There are still tickets available if you're interested. End of the promotional part! Now, in case you're wondering how you can contribute to this lovely community, there are a couple of ways you can get involved, and, for instance, you can speak at a ProductTank Event. It could be in Hamburg or in the other cities. Please check the product website and there are - if you're representing a company, you can also decide to host or sponsor the ProductTank like NEW WORK SE kindly does today, or you can write for the MTP blog, one of the most respected product blogs out there. If you're curious for more content, you can also become a member of the MTP Membership Programme for much more content and an overall network of passionate product use. Before we come to today's speakers, I would like to thank NEW WORK SE who are not only hosting us but who are also covering the cost of this event, so in order to get this out for you, to get the live captions, and also of course the drinks that you would find after the event in the lobby - all of this supported by NEW WORK. I will hand over to Jan Erik Schwitters from NEW WORK SE. To say a few words on behalf of JAN: All right. [Feedback]. Thanks for that challenge at the beginning! Welcome to our NEW WORK SE, or new location, or new office. So I'm welcoming all of you here physically, and also virtually out there. If I'm doing something wrong, let me know. No? So, welcome. I'm personally energized by being in the office, and have been since last week, I think two days a week, or so. And it really energizes me because meeting people in the real world is different than watching Zoom, and I really enjoy that, but secondly, to my dear colleagues, is this New Office, and I hope you've seen a little bit of it. It's a pretty nice location, with a [feedback sound]. Sorry, with a terrace, with a bar ... [feedback sound]. Okay, better now? Okay. Easy tricks. Very nice location. I just want to explain with the bar with the terrace, the gym, and all that, and in case, unfortunately, you do not see much today, we have an internal party today, so that is not for the audience, but in case you want to see that office, drop me a note. We are hiring, so you can see that office every day, or else two days a week, or whatever you want, plus we are offering guided tours in case you're interested, or we will just have a chit chat and drink a beer. So, having that said, in the name of Honeypot and all our brands, welcome and enjoy the day, and back to Arne. ARNE: That's right. Thank you very much, Jan. Thank you, again, to NEW WORK SE for supporting us today. So, now it's time to come to tonight's programme. So I'm really glad that, on the one hand, we have Sheri Byrne-Haber joining us from California today. Hello, Sheri. I will put you on stage in a second. Then I'm also happy that here in Hamburg we have our local speaker, Christian Ohrens with us. Welcome, Christian. Before Anja will introduce Sheri, here's once more a reminder of the global accessibility awareness day, so you can find more information at this URL accessibility.day. In case you missed it earlier, here, again, is the QR code for the live captions for those of you who would like to make use of the live captions. And with that, I would like to hand it over to Anja. The stage is yours, Anja. ANJA: [Applause]. Thank you very much, Arne, and, for the ones that are joining us via YouTube, the live caption link is also underneath the video in the description. Maybe that's easier than dealing with the QR code. Welcome, again, from my side as well here in Hamburg, as well as wherever you are in the world. Please leave us a comment from where you're joining us today.

First talk by Sheri Byrne-Haber

ANJA: I'm really happy to introduce our first speaker tonight to you, and, yes, we're back, and be prepared to be amazed by the fantastic Sheri Byrne-Haber, who is a very strong voice against discrimination, and an advocate for people with disabilities. She is an extremely knowledgeable expert when it comes to accessibility, she is not only consulting Fortune 200 companies like McDonald's or VMware but also consults in the governmental and educational sector. For comprehensive and multi-disciplinary knowledge, and educational background, including degrees in law, in business, and a computer science, she's not only a lawyer, a software developer, she is also an extremely professional speaker, author, and blogger. So, in her blog, she posts weekly about the latest legal cases, about her experiences from consulting as well as her personal life. So, definitely worth having a look into this week in accessibility. She also recently got an award to be the Author of the Year for her Medium Publication, in the UX Collective Publication, and her book Give A Damn about Accessibility, with which is an amazing title, by the way, is available for free, and you can download it as PDF or as audio book under accessibility.uxdesign.cc. It's really a pleasure to meet someone like Sheri who is so passionate to improve other people's lives every day. And she indeed did improve the life of millions of people with disabilities which we have billions of people with disabilities worldwide. Really enjoy the talk, and Sheri, good to have you, welcome, and she will have a task for you before she starts. So, Sheri, take us away. [Applause]. SHERI: Thank you so much. I appreciate the invite to come and speak with you to what for me is the most important day of the year, Global Accessibility Awareness Day. I have a number of talks that I can give. I had difficulties choosing between two for this audience. I want to take a vote and people in the room can raise their hands. And then, Arne, or whoever, will tell me which one people are more interested in. So, in terms of my background, I am, stars I know, the only person in the world who is on three of the major accessibility standards organizations. I'm on the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, both their global leadership council, and their certification committee; I'm also on the ITI Council for Accessibility, and they're the people who do the templates for the accessibility disclosures in the US that also has an EU version; and then finally, I'm on the W3C committee which is where the accessibility standards actually come from. So I have a pretty interesting perspective, I think, on where accessibility is going in the future over the next, let's say, two to four years, because it's really hard to project technology past about three years. It starts to get very murky. So I've got that talk, which is the future of accessibility, and then I've also got a more practical talk which is how to stand up an accessibility programme at your organization and how to build an accessibility road map, so it is a bit of a cookbook, but every step I explain why it is that you have to do that particular thing, and why it is in the list where it is located. So, show of hands. Who wants to hear the practical how to build an accessibility programme talk. ... since it is split down the middle, I will give you the talk you don't have public access to right now. I will send the link to the ProductTank people when it is available, and they can give it to people on the distribution list. Does that make sense? ANJA: Everybody seems to be happy. SHERI: Okay. Without further ado, how to build an accessibility road map. All right, so why do you need an accessibility road map and what goes into it? I have this philosophy that any time that I have to explain something more than twice, I write it down, and so that is what has gone into my blog, and that somewhat has also gone into this presentation. So, there are three primary reasons to care about people with disabilities, and I think this is a fairly global concept.. is not just US-orientated. First of all, obviously, people want to be inclusive. You know, disability is a dimension of diversity, equity and inclusion. It is not always adopted that way, but it really should be, because, when you look at the EI, it is about things that you were likely born with that you can't change, that can work against you, because you're not part of the majority. So, that is gender, that's race, that's ethnicity, and it is also disability. So, if you run into organizations that don't include disability in their DEI programmes, they really should. Secondly, it's a good business approach, so the rules are getting stricter and stricter about the public sector not wanting to purchase products that people with disabilities can't use. And the public sector can be a huge component of companies' revenue streams, so nobody wakes up in the morning and say, "You know what? I'm going to make this decision that means 25% of my customers can't buy my product." But that's what happens when accessibility is not getting included in just business road maps and schedules, and definitions of done and MVP. And then, finally, accessibility is the law in many countries. And, in fact, in Germany, which is where you're located, or many of you are located right now, they have some of the strictest accessibility laws in the world. They've been adopted and will become final in 2025. There are strict laws now, but the laws are going to become much stricter over the next three years. So why do we start with inclusion? Even if you don't personally care about inclusion, it still impacts you, because millennials have, they are trending strongly towards caring about inclusion. 80% of millennials have said, "I decided not to apply for a job because I didn't think the company was inclusive enough." All right? So even if you think inclusion doesn't matter, if you want to hire millennials in your organization, and millennials are currently one third of the workforce, it is really important to take a strong public stand towards inclusion. One of the things that millennials care the most about is neurodiversity. Because even if they don't identify as neurodiverse, I guarantee you they know somebody who does, so that is important to them, and that is why you should always start with persuading people that accessibility is important with the inclusion aspect of it. It used to be that accessibility was a competitive advantage where maybe only a couple of vendors in a particular sector were provided accessible products and everybody else wasn't, and that gave it that advantage. But we have four EU countries who have banned the public sector from acquiring accessible software. That's today. And then we have got more regulations that have been locally adopted that will kick in in 2025 when the European Accessibility Act takes effect. We have two states in the United States that have very strict accessibility laws, so even if you happen to be in a country that doesn't have accessibility law, if you want to do business in Sweden, in France, in Italy, in California, they are expecting you to be accessible because that's their local laws. Okay, Canada, the UK, Australia, and Israel all have accessibility laws. And while you might not see this as important, private litigation in the United States is through the roof. There were almost 4,500 lawsuits just in the last year in a year where the courts were closed part-time because of Covid, just over accessibility, where people with disabilities are sue ing restaurants, hotels, online businesses, because they're saying, "I can't use your site because it's not accessible, therefore you're discriminating against me." So now, what I'm going to do is talk about ten steps to take, and these are kind of in order to build a road map to having a strong accessibility programme, and strong disability inclusion initiatives within your organization. So the first thing is you've got to start with executive support. You're going to need to spend money, okay - that's a given - and you're going to have people who want to focus on cool new features and not accessibility. Accessibility is a little bit like plumbing in that sometimes people don't notice it until it breaks, and then all of a sudden, it is an emergency. Accessibility teams within organizations tend to be fairly small. You will see ratios of maybe one accessibility engineer for 500 developers, or one accessibility engineer for 800 developers sometimes. You need people talking about accessibility when your accessibility team members aren't in the room, and that's why you need both executive support and colleague support. The executives will help you get accessibility on that MVP, the minimum viable product. They will be able to influence. You're not done until it is accessible. The colleagues will be helping you promote the concept of accessibility when the accessibility team isn't there. So you need to have an internal accessibility policy. In order to have people talking about accessibility when the accessibility team is not in the room, the best people to talk about that are employees with disabilities. But, if your company is buying in  inaccessible software, you're creating an environment where people with disabilities are going to feel discriminated against, they're not going to feel like they belong, and most importantly, they're not going to thrive. So in order to increase the number of employees with disabilities that your organization has, you need to establish an internal accessibility policy, and then you need to follow it. Anything that an organization buys, builds or uses should be accessible. Now, obviously, sometimes you get market areas where nothing is accessible. And so an example I will give you of that right now is like the cloud-based design products, like Figma and Miro and Jamboard. Some are, some aren't. It is not possible to buy something that is accessible. What you need to do, if you have employees with disabilities who you need to use inaccessible products, you need to set up a plan. You need to have a defined exceptions process that assists that person in being able to contribute equally, even though they can't use the software. When you prioritize inclusion, the number of accommodations requests, and that might be a US-centric term, I've also heard the phrase "adjustments" used, but they should drop substantially, because when you buy things that are accessible, you don't need to set up these special workarounds for employees because they're inaccessible. So, the first thing that you need to do, but we are actually at accept number 3 at this point, that is directly related to product accessibility, is you must build a digital inventory. So, a digital inventory is a list of every product, website support system, third-party vendor, anything that you use that has to be accessible. People don't want accessibility products. People want accessible experiences. And so that includes things like your customer support system, and your training programme, and your documentation. Don't just focus narrowly on the product, focus broadly on the entire experience, and then build a list. And do include third-party vendors, because frequently what happens with products is rather than building something from scratch, they will license it. For example, one thing that is really common to license is a chatbot. Nobody builds their own chatbots from scratch any more. Some chatbots are accessible; some aren't. If you're using an inaccessible chatbot, for example, or an inaccessible mapping system, because that's another thing nobody builds any more, your product will never be accessible. Until that component that you've licensed is accessible. Sometimes that means working with the vendor to improve their accessibility; sometimes that means replacing the vendor if the vendor says we're not interested in possibility. If it is important enough to you to make your product accessible, then you're going to have to replace that vendor. As long as there is any inaccessible aspect to the experience, the whole thing is going to be inaccessible. So, the next step that we frequently direct people to do is to establish a training programme. This is actually pretty high priority, so that is why it is high up on the list. You need to decide what level of accessibility your organization is going to adopt as its standard. Most people today are using WCAG - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.1, level AA. So there are three levels of accessibility. A are the deal-breakers. If you're violating an A guideline, such as putting up videos without captions, you're blocking an entire group of people with disabilities from being able to participate in that aspect of your product. If you're violating a double A guideline, you're making it hard. It's not impossible, but you're making it very difficult. AAA guidelines are a little bit more aspirational. They make the product easy to use for people with disabilities. As I mentioned, most people have settled at this point on AA, because especially in the US, that is what has been adopted by the regulations, also, WCAG2.1AA is specifically referenced in the EU legislation, which is EN 301 549. So, decide on the level, and then train people on what it takes to meet that level of accessibility. Again, because having people talking about accessibility, when the accessibility team isn't in the room is important, it is good to set up a champions' programme, or an advocates' programme, so that you can have localized experts embedded in teams who can answer questions. So it is especially important for global companies, because if somebody in India, for example, has an accessibility question, you don't want to make them wait 24 hours to get the answer. If you have an accessibility champion in your Indian geo population, then that person should be able to help answer the question, or connect the individual to somebody on the accessibility team who can answer that question. Step number 5 is to establish the budget and identify the vendors. So, as we mentioned in step 1, which was to get executive support, you're going to have to spend some money in order to build an accessibility programme. It is best if you can centralize the accessibility budget so that it is considered an overall operational expense when you start to do chargebacks to specific teams, then they tend to want to short-cut the accessibility process because they're actually paying for it. By centralizing the budget, you're removing that October. Now, it is possible, and very doable, to do accessibility on a shoestring budget. I'm not saying you have to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to set up an accessibility programme. There is lots of stuff that is available that is free on open source, there is training that is available, you can use vendors in lower-cost areas, for example, if you want to hire somebody like me in San Francisco, which is one of the most expensive places on the planet, it's going to cost you about $200 an hour to find somebody of my caliber. For somebody with maybe three to five years of testing experience, it is probably going to cost you $90 or 95 an hour. You can get people with the same skill sets in lower-cost areas, such as China and India, and Bulgaria for between $18 and $30 an hour. So there are companies that have people in those best areas, trained and certified to the American and EU accessibility standards, but because they're in areas where the cost of living and salaries are much lower, that gives you a budgetary advantage, if that is something that is important to you. So, figure out how much money you get to spend and identify the vendors that you're going to spend it on. There are other low-cost options that are working with nonprofits that focus on people with disabilities, for example, in the US, we have the famous school for the blind in s where Helen Keller went to school. Where an entire audience with vision loss, when they get older, can transition into accessibility-testing roles. It's also possible to crowdsource. There are companies like Applause, and Digivanti who have groups of people with disabilities, they will take testing projects and people get paid per bug, so you're not incurring an endless hourly expense, it's more of a bug-bounty way of paying for your accessibility testing. It's got a feedback loop, because the better your code is, the fewer bugs they're going to identify, and the cheaper it's going to be for you. Okay, the next thing that you can do is ask people if they are willing to disclose that they have a disability. It becomes much more progressive in organizations if executives will step up and say, "Hey, I am color blind, or I have dyslexia". In the UK, probably the most famous instance of this is Richard Branson. He has actually started a dyslexia foundation. He has talked about how dyslexia has impacted his life. I realize that there is a lot of data sensitivity in the EU to particular health details. It's really important not to focus on the medical condition but instead focus on what it is that the person needs in order to compensate for that. So, for example, for somebody who is color-blind, there are now glasses available that will reverse color blindness while the person is wearing those glasses. I was actually present when our Chief Information Officer at VMware saw the color red for the first time, and I literally cried. It was that powerful of an experience. But having people, building a psychologically safe environment where people with disabilities, especially people with hidden disabilities, are comfortable discussing them publicly, is one of the ways that you can build a more robust accessibility programme. Okay. Larger companies definitely need to have disability employee resource groups. So employee resource groups sometimes they're called Business Resource Groups, or sometimes they're called Affinity Groups, or groups of individuals plus allies that focus on a specific dimension of diversity and inclusion. So VMware has 38,000 employees right now. We have about 1,100 people usually at our monthly meetings where we talk about different aspects of disability, different breakthroughs in terms of the legal system, or technology, and we push the organization to become more inclusive of people with disabilities, so at VMware, our disability employee resource group is actually responsible for the DEI, or the Disability Equality Index - an American-based survey we take every year that identifies where we're doing well in the organization with respect to accessibility, and where we're doing poorly, and it helps us pick up areas that we can improve on. Now, at VMware, our Disability Employee Resource Group includes visible and invisible disabilities and we also include neurodiversity and mental wellness, because some people consider a neurodiverse condition disabling to themselves, but other people don't - likewise with mental health conditions. I will just point out that invisible disabilities are 70% of all disabilities. So only 30% are visible; 70% are invisible. Okay, low-hanging fruit is that now you're actually ready to start fixing things. Color choices, accommodation discussions, presentations, templates and captions are all really easy things to fix that have significant impact. So when you start doing your audits, what you want to do is you want to prioritize things that are high impact and low effort. And all of these things that I've listed here are definitely high impact and low effort. And do those first, because you will be able to capitalize on the wins in these areas to tackle some of the more difficult areas, such as getting your software to work with screen readers. Okay. You want to make your company a desired destination for employees with disabilities. So, I'm showing a picture right now of Stephanie. Stephanie worked at VMware, and she uses alternative and augmentative communications advice or AAC. She does not speak. She's working on a Masters degree in communications right now. We had an event where people, engineers, the person sitting behind Stephanie is one of VMware's engineers, where he came and interacted with her through the AAC device so he could then start thinking about, "Well, how would people use the VMware software with an AAC device?" So, again, this is probably the third time I've mentioned this, but getting employees with disabilities is critical, because they bring their lived experience, and then you just talk to them and you don't make assumptions. Then you're doing stuff with people with disabilities, and not for people with disabilities. And, finally, if it is not accessible, don't launch it. You need to establish release gates for your software so that is checks to see whether the accessibility reviews have been done, and what the results are, and things that are not accessible or that have critical errors should not be launched, because then you're going to be in a situation where you're going to have do a patch, which costs more money, takes more time, takes effort away from future development, so there has to be a line in the sand that people don't cross for accessibility programmes to be successful. So just to recap, and then if we've got time, we will move to Q&A. Accessibility needs to be part of every company's mission and every employee's job, okay? Down to janitors, okay? I have had situations where I couldn't get down a hallway in my wheelchair because somebody left a piece of furniture out that I couldn't get around. It's that important. It literally is every employee's job to look at accessibility through the lens of what their job description is and what it is that they do. You need to look at accessibility as a programme and not a project. Okay, when you are "done", things change, right? You get new versions of browsers, new operating systems, new features, and then you're going to have to go back and reassess accessibility for those. Apple's going to release a new iPhone. You don't have control over that. You have to make sure that when that new iPhone comes out that your software works correctly in using the accessibility features of the iPhone. So continuous process improvement, not that you finished that you think of it as a project you're done, and you disband. Okay? Accessibility is not just about what an organization sells, it's about employees needing to be able to fully participate, because employees need accessibility just as much as if not more than customers do. And use your corporate influence to let third-party vendors know that accessibility is important to you when, for example, when VMware works with Slack or Atlassian, or Zoom. I think we have 41 different vendors we're working with just now. When they're making improvements, they're not improving it for VMware but for everybody. That's a huge impact and influence that you can have on the disability world that's going to improve everybody's perception of your organization as an inclusive environment. [Applause]. ANJA: Thank you so much, Sheri. That was amazing. I look at smiling faces, everybody is super excited. We have a couple of minutes for questions. So. SHERI: I have a question. Where is my beer! I don't have a beer! [Laughter]. ANJA: Let me get on the plane. SHERI: It's ten o'clock in the morning so it is early for beer! ANJA: Let me start with a question while the audience warms up. So, as product owner, you usually work with a lot of stakeholders, and what would be your response if they say, well, our clients are not disabled, or our product doesn't address people with disabilities? SHERI: Right. So I have heard that before. We don't have customers with disabilities, and my answer to that is, to use an American expression, "horse-pucky" which means that's not true. Remember, 70% of disabilities are invisible. 4.5% of the population is color blind. We know this. It's genetic. If your product is tech-related, your number goes up to 6.5% because color blindness is linked to being male. So, what are you saying? That you don't have any users who are men? Right? That's just - they don't have any users with disabilities that they know of, right? Because they haven't asked. So, I would say do some quick user research. One of the things that we did at VMware was we tacked on at the end of our user research surveys just a question: are you interested in accessibility? Okay? We gave this to 1,100 users at our conference. 43% answered yes, that they were interested in accessibility. So I would say that you need to disabuse the person who is saying they don't have users with disabilities by proving to them that they do. ANJA: Awesome. Great. More questions? Otherwise. TOBIAS: I saw one hand carefully being raised. SHERI: One brave person FLOOR:  First of all, thank you for sharing your insights. Very interesting. My question is about the low-hanging fruits that you mentioned, and maybe it's my English skills, but I wanted to know regarding presentation templates, and another one you mentioned that was on the left of that, if you could explain just briefly what those mean? SHERI: Sure. For presentation templates, I'm talking about the default templates for your Word documents, or your PowerPoint documents. A lot of times, they're set up with colors or fonts that are not accessible, and doing an accessibility review of those is important to do early, because then people with disabilities will be more engaged and understanding more fully what is in these presentations and documents. So there are some color contrast rules that are identified in the WCAG guidelines, so, I won't get too deep into the math, but a color on itself is considered to have a ratio of one. Black on white is 21. Everything else is somewhere in the middle. So the minimum requirement for contrast is 3. For large text, and 4.5 for small text. So, what that means is about 20% of color combinations are disallowed, because the contrast isn't good enough. So, an example of that would be somebody puts the teeny tiny gray small-print text at the bottom of a page they're hoping people don't see. That's not going to have sufficient contrast, so that is going to fail. Yellow on white is another combination that always fails. Sky blue on white is another combination that always fails. Color on color can be a little bit tricky. And you definitely don't want to mix red and green because of the color blindness issues that we talked about before. So those are some of the basics of color accessibility and why presentation templates are so important to start early with making them accessible, because everybody in your company is going to use those, likely. TOBIAS: Thanks very much. There is another question from our friend, Ishaan. Great to see the company coming back together. ISHAAN: Happy to be here, thanks, Sheri, for sharing your thoughts. Actually, we were talking about color blindness, accessibility in our company's UX design, so it is good to hear a few ideas. But, personally, I'm new to the topic, and I'm trying to get myself more aware, and maybe it is a stupid question, but, if it is a digital product, a software product, what is - what are the more examples apart from colour blindness that can be, let's say, maybe you can tell some of them? SHERI: Sure. So there are 50 guidelines in the WCAG. About half of them have to do with complete vision loss. Not because that's the most common disability, but because it is the hardest thing to do, to make something that is inherently visual like a web page work for somebody who can't see. So a couple of examples of things that are required for that particular group would be making sure that every time something changes on the screen, an announcement is made to the screen reader user. There is an add-on to HTML called ARIA, and you can do that, so you can use ARIA to customize what it is that people who are blind hear. So an example would be let's say I'm shopping from a grocery store. I put a bag of cookies into my shopping cart. Well, what's going to happen? First of all, the subtotal is going to change; second of all, maybe you have a coupon for those cookies, and that shows up on the screen. If there is a delivery minimum for your grocery order, that delivery, the amount that you have to buy will be reduced, because you've just added the cookies into the cart. So even though you've only done one action, it may trigger four or five different things on the screen. Another place where it is really common is you type in a postal code, and shipping charges come up. You've done one thing but you've got multiple outcomings changing on the side of the screen, and you need to make sure that all of those outcomes are explained to somebody who can't see the screen. Reflow is absolutely critical. Anybody who designs an HTML page any more that doesn't re flow needs to find another job, because without reflow, magnification won't work, and we have five times as many people like me who use magnification to see as we do who use screen readers. So never design something without reflow as part of your definition of done, because you're guaranteed to violate multiple WCAG guidelines. TOBIAS: That was pretty clear. So never do this! So it is good that we have some practical advice. Are there more questions here in the room? Maybe in the chat. Oh, there are. SHERI: Now they know I don't bite, they will ask! What is your question? TOBIAS: Oh yes, there is Madita. Hi Madita, How are you? What’s your question? MADITA:  Hi! Again, thank you very much for your talk. I have a question regarding the selling of accessibility within companies, and I love to take the comparison to Google, or other search engines, which I liken a disabled user can't see or hear, so you have to explain. ... is highly ranked in companies but not accessibility. What are your arguments to go for this direction to say, well, you're optimizing for search engines, but the little part to do the rest before the accessibility is easy to do, or do you say, ah, this is tricky, because yes, certain reasons? SHERI: Sure. So most companies establish security and privacy programmes before they establish accessibility programmes, and it is always difficult when you're coming into something mid- stream and trying to change the way it's done. It's much easier if you're building something correctly from the beginning, but with accessibility you really get the opportunity to build it from the beginning. You're usually retrofitting from the outset. So my recommendation for those types of situations is to look at accessibility as a form of regulatory compliance. You would never, ever release a product that didn't comply with GDPR, right? That is a one way ticket to getting fired. Accessibility needs to be in that same conversation of security, privacy, accessibility. Because they're all controlled by laws and litigation, and they all cut across the entire product. They don't belong to one specific feature. TOBIAS: Thanks very much. We've got another question, I think, right? FLOOR:  My question is: why is it that in 2022, companies are still struggling to implement all the guidelines? I mean, it is as old as the internet and do you think this will change with the new law? SHERI: So the biggest problem is that accessibility isn't taught in college, right? You can get a computer science degree, or a design degree, without ever hearing the word "accessibility". If that changed, if those degrees require even just one course on inclusive coding, or inclusive design, then you would have a whole cohort of people coming out knowing that this is important and bringing at least a little bit of skills into the organization that they could then build on. Right now, accessibility is all self-taught. I think about 40 years ago, when I first started working in computer science, software QA was the same: it was a mystery. You had to learn it on your own. You had to apprentice yourself to somebody who was already doing it, and more expert than you. Now, today, we have Six Sigma, people who can get entire degrees in quality engineering. I think accessibility today is where quality was 30 years ago, and I think the key to getting that change is getting it included into the college programmes. And boot camps as well. Since, you know, some education is starting to shift to a more non-traditional format. ANJA: Thank you very much. I hope that answered the question. We are running a bit out of time, Sheri, but let me first of all thank you very much. This was really insightful. I think everybody will take something into their daily work tomorrow, and maybe you have some final thoughts, words, wishes, to our community? SHERI: I would say that VMware pays me, so 20% of my time is working with other companies totally unconnected to VMware and to help them on their accessibility journey. I am one of the only Byrne-Habers on the planet, so I'm not difficult to find. Reach out to me on LinkedIn if you have any questions about your own accessibility programmes. TOBIAS: That reminds me you didn't answer my contact request yet… ANJA: Thank you very much, Sheri. It was a pleasure to have you. Have a great rest of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and say hi to San Francisco. SHERI: I will. Thank you so much. [Applause]. TOBIAS: Thanks very much. Sheri. Thanks very much for this inspiring talk, and it is is so great with these hybrid set-ups, although they drive complexity to help, it's great to have speakers from the US interacting with an audience here in ham where you, and we also got a live captioner sitting in the UK and doing an amazing job for us. It is a real person, typing realtime, and if Ana could show the QR code again, that would be awesome, Anja, so people can see on the phones in the room what Andrew is doing there behind the scenes, because I think that's legendary! It's really amazing to see how captions can be typed that fast. For those in the room, you will see them slightly delayed because Andrew is in sync with the YouTube stream, and that is slightly delayed, so he's even faster than what you see there! It's really amazing.

Interview with Christian Ohrens

TOBIAS: Now it's my pleasure to introduce to you our second guest tonight, and our second guest is Christian Ohrens. Christian was born in 1984 in the city of Wolfsburg, which has a passion for his local soccer club. He went to school in Hanover and Marburg before he started studying media and Communication Science where in 2012, he completed his Masters degree in media and communications science. And, after that, he started a multifaceted career. So I have to look into the notes to make sure that I have the complete list, so, Christian nowadays is a tech support, first level, and second level, as far as I stood for Deutsche Telekom, an independent journalist, a professional DJ, published a book recently, a photographer, a film-maker, a radio host, and also an amusement park tester, and a tour guide! And that in itself, I think, you would agree, is quite an impressive list of activities. And, it becomes even more impressive when you realize just one little detail, Christian is congenitally blind. So let's please welcome, with a warm hand of applause, Mr Christian Ohrens on stage here in Hamburg. You asked for water. There is some water here. I have to open a bottle for you. One for me. So it is here to your right. And you also need a microphone in order to speak. That's right, I forgot about that. Good that someone remembered! Wonderful! Christian, how are you? CHRISTIAN: I'm fine, thank you. Glad to be here. Yes. TOBIAS: I was thinking about the first question to ask you tonight, and as this is a highly tech-biased audience in the room, I was thinking about the one device that disrupted our lives back in 2007, and that is the iPhone. I would want to know how the iPhone changed your life? CHRISTIAN: Yes, the iPhone was the first I say "telephone", it's more than a telephone, we have to say it this way, the iPhone was the first telephone which was, and which is fully accessible after buying. So, if you remember, those old Nokia telephones with Symbian operating system, there, you have to buy very expensive software which reads out the screen, your text messages, incoming calls, and so on, and with the start of the smartphone, you were able to access your phone after you bought it. So, yes. This is a very big success, a very big change. Honestly, I have to say, I'm not an Apple user any more! TOBIAS: So you changed, let me guess to Android? CHRISTIAN: Yes, of course. TOBIAS: I will throw my notes away now! Why? CHRISTIAN: I disagree with a little bit about the politics of Apple, with the closed system, nothing could be dropped on your phone, nothing could be sent off your phone to somebody else. You need iTunes to synchronize everything. It has to be synchronized inside the Apple system, and six years ago, I've been saying to myself, "Okay, I definitely need a change, I need a more open system" so I decided to buy an Android smartphone, and I'm very happy about it. TOBIAS: You would say it is at least as good in terms of accessibility? CHRISTIAN: Definitely it is. I would say it is to 90%, while the iPhone is 99%, but, yes, for me, it is just a telephone with an opportunity to read mails, and, for me, the smartphone isn't a smart office like for the others. I'm a little bit old school in this way. So what I need it for, it's more than enough. TOBIAS: What do you need it for? CHRISTIAN: For, yes, just to do telephone calls, to chat with common chat apps like WhatsApp, or Facebook, checking emails on the way, maybe listen to music. That's it. TOBIAS: One thing I tend to ask in job interviews when I'm interviewing product managers is which is your favorite app and why? Could you give me an answer? CHRISTIAN: Podcast addict! It is a very good app to manage your podcasts, to explore new podcasts, and so on. And also, the calendar. Which you should not miss. Yes. TOBIAS: Let's dive deeper into the calendar, because that is something I was asking myself when we've been in touch to prepare for tonight. Because I just cannot imagine how it works to use a calendar without actually seeing the calendar, because for me, it's a highly visual tool where I need to see the full week to understand what is going on. How does it work for you? CHRISTIAN: It works in two ways. The easiest way, which you all can use, is to ask your voice assistant, which could be Siri, the Google Assistant, or Bigsby, and ask, "Hey, what is happening tomorrow? Are there any appointments?" The assistant will say yes or no. The other way is yes, just sort your calendar. You have the possibility to sort it to dates, or to hours, or whatever, and so also, the calendar is accessible. And you should, if you put something on your calendar, you should also put reminders for your several appointments there, so your smartphone will definitely send you a message some hours before your appointment will happen. TOBIAS: And that made sure you were here one hour before the time! CHRISTIAN: I've been here one hour before the time because I've been walking around the city, I've recorded some new videos today, and I've got enough time to be here earlier. TOBIAS: Now that we praised a little bit what is going on on the Android platform, and what is going on on the Apple platform, let's maybe start speaking about those things that annoy you the most. So what is the worst digital experience for you? CHRISTIAN: The worst digital experience is if you are on the website of Deutsche Bahn and want to buy your tickets, and you have those really old-fashioned Captcha challenges where you have to type in some stupid words, or signs, or whatever, and, if you want to access them, there is a possibility, but you have to install a cookie, and how old-fashioned is this! You have to install a cookie, so this site is accessible to you. Today, there is no need for Captchas. You can have small mathematic exercises, or whatever, mathematical challenges, two plus five is something everybody could manage. TOBIAS: 7! CHRISTIAN: Yes! I think it is one of the worst websites experiences at the moment. TOBIAS: Did you try their app to give them a chance? CHRISTIAN: If you want to book over their app, you have to do the same challenge after you managed this challenge. You have the possibility to enable two-factor authentication, and, after that, you never have to type in this damned Captcha again. The way until you are there, it is, yes. TOBIAS: I think we understand. I'm looking at faces in the audience. Is there a product manager from Deutsche Bahn here? But maybe they're listening to the live stream, and they now have some inspiration on what to take. Sheri just spoke about accessibility in general, and specifically about the upcoming European Accessibility Act she mentioned during her talk. Do you have any expectations that this will change, for example, the experience you have when you go to deutschebahn.de? CHRISTIAN: No, because we here in Germany aren't able to do good laws for accessibility. This law is a chance for us, but this is not a must-have for companies to change something. The law asks companies to change something, but yes, I think the politician's do not understand what it means to have an accessible life, or accessible products, accessible eCommerce, or whatever. TOBIAS: But it reminds me a little bit of the days when we all spoke about privacy the same way, until two weeks before the GDPR became a must-have, and every company got stressed because they realized oh, we should do something about that, because now our board could go to prison when they don't take care of it, so wouldn't you at least hope that this will be the same evolution for accessibility over the next years? CHRISTIAN: It might be nice, but if I ever look at other laws, for example, the, in Germany, it's, it is the AGG, the Anti-[German spoken]. AGG. It helps you that you can participate in more things, but there are so many possibilities for companies to have their own exceptions to say no, you can't participate, and this is for me the best example that we are not able to do very good laws for having people with disabilities participating in our daily life. TOBIAS: If you were in power, what would you do? CHRISTIAN: I would say - we should ... should agree that people with disabilities can manage their life. Here in Germany, it's very often so that people, that sighted people know always better what you as a blind person can do or should not do, and we should definitely stay away from this way of thinking. With this way of thinking in our minds, we cannot make good laws or good, yes, things, politics for people with disabilities. TOBIAS: You cannot build a good environment when you listen to the ones who are affected, right? CHRISTIAN: Yes, this is one of our biggest problems in Germany. That everybody be safe, and we only see the problem but not the solution. TOBIAS: Yes. Let's speak about one solution in one of the bigger tech trends we've seen in these e-scooters we see in the city all over the place. If you were in power, would you allow these things to be parked on the sideways? CHRISTIAN: Not on the sideways, but, for example, we have special places for bicycles. Why not build such special places also for these scooters? So, if we talk about alternative mobility, like more bicycle ways, or whatever, we should also let the e-scooters only run on these cycle lanes, and also be parked where only bicycles should be parked and not somewhere else. TOBIAS: Dedicated spots which you can easily navigate around? CHRISTIAN: Yes. TOBIAS: You kindly allowed us to show some of your pictures, because I said in the introduction, already, that you are not happy with just consuming the web, you're also a content-creator, and one of your passions is photography, and we see a beautiful picture of Trier, my how many  home town, and you've been there on a trip and took some pictures. We've also seen my favorite portrait of yours, which shows you wearing that shirt that says, "Don't stare at me like that, I'm just a blind photographer!" While I love that sense of humor in this statement, it also made me think about your motivations. Most of us I guess take pictures because we want memories, right? When we go to the most beautiful city, south of Hamburg, let's say, Trier, then we take pictures to later on look at them, and, yes, finally remember. I guess that's not your key motivation? CHRISTIAN: Let's go back in time. I've been traveling around Scandinavia in 2014, and I wrote a very long travel report about my experience, and I thought, okay, most of my friends are sighted, and nobody would read a travel report without any pictures. That is, really, it is ... so, and during my studies, I thought to myself, hey, what would happen if you're the man behind the camera? If you film or take a photo of things your opinion, and your way of thinking, and your way, like you see the world, and I thought, okay, these travels through Scandinavia is - was one of my biggest traveling projects alone without a companion, and why not trying to make some pictures and some videos? And for me, it is kind of an art project, because we all, when we make pictures, what are we doing? At first, we are looking for the best, for the best spot, yes. The second thing is we're filtering. We are looking for the best picture out of those 100 pictures we've made, and the third thing, one of the worst things is we put into Photoshop and correct the picture. This is a lie. It is a lie to ourselves, because if you're correcting your picture, if you're filtering, it's not the way you have seen the place where you have taken your picture. So what I do is not only take a picture of one fixed spot, like the Dome in Cologne, for example, or St Michael's Church here in Hamburg, or ... TOBIAS: ...or Porta Nigra in Trier… CHRISTIAN: …yes! I'm heading heading around, and I take pictures, let's say, every five or every ten centimeters I'm turning around, because there is not only the the Porta Nigra in Trier, it is not standing in the desert, it is things standing around, and it could be a construction building around, it could be a lamppost, it could be a group of people, it could be whatever, a dirty car. If you've ever been there, you would have seen all these things, so, this is the way I - let's really say I see those places because I try to catch the atmosphere of this place, and what I do not is to - do an audio recording, what might be more logical, I do pictures, and I try to capture the atmosphere in pictures. I also record videos, and there, there is a very nice experiment because in the videos, I'm able to announce where I am. And, you could find out yourself, are all these things really in this video or not? There might be something really different, or nothing, or whatever. As I said before, for me, it doesn't matter if the pictures are perfect or not, it's the kind of an art experiment. The problem here in Germany is we always have to explain why we should do this, why we do that, and why we do not do the things like the others. TOBIAS: Okay. CHRISTIAN: And this is the reason why, why I sometimes wear this shirt. Because as I started taking photos, people very often came and tried to grab the camera, and say, hey, let me do this picture for you, or should I do it for you, and they do not understand that I want to do that, and nobody should grab others' cameras! TOBIAS: Yes. Absolutely. I fully agree. So, let's not dive deeper into why you're doing this, but I still need to ask you that you did a documentary a couple of years ago about the Marksmen Club in Neu Wulmsdorf – the English title of that documentary, it's a 70-minute documentary, you can buy it online, it is called “A Piece of Culture That Disappears”. I would want to understand why a film about the marksmen tradition? CHRISTIAN: The story behind this film is a friend of mine is playing the drums in the, oh, what do you call this? TOBIAS: Oh, ehm. We call it the “Spielmannszug”. Let’s say the chapel of the marksman club, maybe? I would want to see what Andrew does with “Spielmannszug”. CHRISTIAN: He played a solo at this festival, and he asked me if I could record him. And he knows, but, I'm also recording videos, and he likes the idea, and I said, hey, what is going on there. Should we tell you more about this playing, because I know this tradition from the village I've been growing up in, and yes, he, he told me a little bit about this four days, and I said, hey. This tradition might be very unknown to many people, because, and many villagers, it's gone. You wouldn't find this any more. So, I got the idea, why not make a documentary about this? And, as I told you, you have to always explain what you do. People are saying for your first documentary, couldn't you choose some better, some important, more important subjects. TOBIAS: More important than marksmen? CHRISTIAN: It's my first film, and so I decide what to do. TOBIAS: So, what did you learn from this production? What was your first documentary? CHRISTIAN: It was my first documentary where I made a lot of mistakes. TOBIAS: A learning mindset, I guess. CHRISTIAN: Of course. Starting with not having enough batteries for the microphone with me. I should have had a camera with me, or a better gimbal. It was a nice experience, I thought about doing more stuff like this, and then came corona, and, yes... TOBIAS: And you had to write a book, right! CHRISTIAN: This is not because of corona. TOBIAS: It was released in 20212. CHRISTIAN: Yes. TOBIAS: Started earlier? CHRISTIAN: I started writing articles for my blog in 2010, and the book is just a choice of articles out of a blog. TOBIAS: I see. So you're a blogger as well. That's one thing you can look up on the internet. I think, Christian, you're doing way too many things. We cannot discuss all of this in 20 minutes! Because you're also a DJ. I wanted to speak with you about your DJ-ing, but maybe everybody goes online, because you are bookable, right? We can book you for our next wedding party, or company event. CHRISTIAN: I do not drive to Trier! This is too far away. TOBIAS: I can understand. Not only because of the distance. You do work here as a tour guide here in the city of Hamburg. I love that you mentioned earlier, you thought about how to write an article about how to write - about how you had to put images into these articles. A little bit with the same mindset, I guess, you're doing the tours here in Hamburg where you allow sighted people to step into at least for a couple of hours, into the situation of what it is like being blind, and so these people get blindfolded, and you give them a guide stick, and then you guide them through the city of Hamburg. What did you learn from these tours? I think we all can at least have an idea of what we might learn, or we try at this. Try it, so, if you want to try it, you can go through the city of Hamburg with Christian. What interests me is what did you learn from these tours? CHRISTIAN: One of the experiences, but you learn how to work with different people, with different needs, and different - yes, different needs, let's say. To, it helps me to understand how to work with customers. And the personal contact, start the contact. It also helps to - yes, you know better your city, because if you are walking around, you have to know where you are, or you have to, - in the last five years I've been learning so much about this nice city, I've met a lot of interesting and nice people during the tours. Yes. That's enough for me! TOBIAS: Meeting nice people and helping them to change their perspectives. CHRISTIAN: Yes, and even if it is just, many people are asking, hey, what is the aim of your tours? What do you want?  What do you want people to learn? TOBIAS: Then you need to explain, right? CHRISTIAN: Why do you always want people to learn something? If it is a team event with your company, and you want to have two hours' fun, and you want to do something different, and to go on a dragon boat, or to do whatever, it is for me, it's okay, if people, if people enjoying their tour, it's nice. If they are, if they've learned something for themselves, yes, it's nice, okay. But, I don't want to, in Germany, we would say I don't want to be there always with the raised finger. TOBIAS: Don't want to teach people or preach. You gave me my key word for the last question, and that is "fun". I mentioned in the beginning that you're also a professional tester of amusement parks! That means that you test amusement parks for their accessibility, and that you write reports about that, how well these parks work for people without visual perception, and, from your reports, I learned that you seem to be a person that is not scared of anything, and that is also something I think we heard in the last 20 minutes, just from learning about all your activities, so my question is, when you go to an amusement park - and I need to tell you, the last time I've been on an fair ride is like 15 years ago and it ended up me being a bit in the hospital because I got so sick from the break dancer! I totally don't understand how you can go to these things and what do you want to know about a ride before you enter it, or do you just go there and you enter all the rides because you're not scared of it? CHRISTIAN: This is one of the biggest problems here in Germany. Most of the operators, or the owners of the park, say, "Hey, you have - you need somebody with you, because you need to know how the ride goes" I say, "Why do I need to know how the ride goes?" Sighted people leave their glasses at the entrance, so at 80 meters' height, they always do not see what happens, because they're closing their eyes. If I need to know about the ride, the car driver, if I step into the taxi later on, the taxi driver wouldn't also say it to me, okay, now we're going right, now we're going left, now we're braking. TOBIAS: I understand! This is because they drive slower than the rollercoasters, right! CHRISTIAN: Yes. But, the belts on the car are not... TOBIAS: …as safe on the ones as the rollercoasters? CHRISTIAN: Yes, of course. I do not understand why I should know about the ride. The important thing to know about the ride is, okay, is there a looping? If you don't like to have looping, yes? Or isn't there? So this is the only thing for me. And, on the other hand, I don't care. TOBIAS: Is there anything that is holding you back? CHRISTIAN: Not at the moment. Maybe I haven't tried it before. The problem is, here in Germany, in most of the parks, you're not able to do the ride without a senior companion, because, the [German spoken], and also some local organizations say, "Hey, you're not allowed to do the right because you have to e advantage 80 yourself in an 80-meter site when the train stops." I ask, "How often does the roller coaster stop? 20 times a day, more or less, or whatever?" The problem is like I said before, we in Germany, we love to be safe. We want everything to be safe, 250%. And this is the reason why we say, okay, you're blind, I say, you need somebody besides you to help you. Okay. This, yes, don't must be the problem, because, if you're standing in front of me in the queue, I could ask you, would you help me? But, the park would say no, this is forbidden. You have to bring your companion, which is, listen, responsible for you. Nobody has to be responsible. Nobody can be responsible for you, because you're an adult, you're over 18 years old. You're responsible for yourself, and nobody else. TOBIAS: Yes. CHRISTIAN: This is also why I believe that we have a big problem with true accessibility here in Germany. TOBIAS: Yes. I think that's a wonderful final statement, that we should all be aware that we treat you like an adult, because you're an adult, and we should take your needs into account the same way we try to take all the other user needs into account, and that is something we can all take with us, and try to bring to life in our products, I guess from tomorrow onwards. Let's hope that Deutsche Bahn listens, and they will fix some Captcha challenges soon. CHRISTIAN: No, they won't, because they are thinking they're doing everything right. If you're commenting on their Facebook page, you get very nice standard phrases back, oh, we apologize, like in the announcement on the platform. We apologize for any inconvenience! TOBIAS: Christian. Thanks very much for joining us tonight! [Applause]. It was really a pleasure having you, and learning from your perspective. There were so many topics we didn't cover, but, you can buy his book Experiences, on Amazon, you can book a tour with him, there are fliers outside the door, you can find him online, the link is in the show notes, and for sure, you can book him as a DJ for your next wedding party or team event, or whatever. Thanks again for joining us tonight. Thanks for allowing us to learn from your perspective, and thanks everyone in the audience for joining us tonight, everyone in the live stream for joining us tonight. This is now the official end of the live stream. Just a second, before we hear in the room get a chance to socialize and have some drinks, beer, Coke, water, whatever you prefer. Thanks again to both our speakers, Sheri Byrne-Haber and Christian Ohrens. Thanks to everyone joining us. Thanks to our sponsor, NEW WORK SE, for having us, thanks to Jan-Erik Schwitters representing NEW WORK SE here tonight, and also going to have a beer with us, I guess, and also thanks to our captioner, Andrew, in the UK, and last but not at least, thanks to my fellow co-organisers, Anja and Arne, and to Ben, who is taking care of the video tonight. Thanks, Ben! Thanks, everybody! Enjoy the rest of the evening. [Applause].
[a]Can you link that to an anchor further down in the doc? See comment further down.
[b]Can you link that to a second anchor further down in the doc? See comment further down.