With Global Accessibility Awareness Day approaching on May 19th, we are featuring our Digital Accessibility Specialist, Beth Somerfield for this month’s Meet the Team Q&A!
Tell us about your background and what led you to work at Anthro-Tech?
I came to Anthro-Tech from working in the public sector on website and service-focused web applications. Anthro-Tech was an opportunity to focus more fully on accessibility and collaborate with a team that holds human-centered design values at our core. With public-sector service in my background, I wanted to be a much-needed ally to the people who are doing the hard work of being government and organizational change-makers.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on since being at Anthro-Tech?
Picking favorites is so hard! So, I’m going to pick three. I am about to kick off a project with Washington State Parks (WA Parks) to redesign their website. I already think of it as a favorite because this is the third Anthro-Tech and Parks collaboration I’ve worked on.
The first was customer-centered research to understand why people visit – or don’t visit – parks. The research was to support efforts to make their marketing more inclusive. The second project was a roadmap project that set the foundation for creating a usable, accessible, and engaging new WA Parks website. Now, we are starting the redesign with the building blocks in place to have a human-centered process with accessibility and usability baked into our work. We know how to collaborate with the Parks team, they’ve shown that they value inclusion and respect the people who use their services, and we’re ready to create something that the people of Washington will love.
What are your hopes for the Accessibility/UX industry?
Championing accessibility is an uphill climb. We so often see organizations overlook how many people they serve are impacted by inaccessible technology. They view accessibility as an afterthought or a bureaucratic checkbox rather than a basic human right that people should not be excluded from services and experiences. I think HCD and accessibility are a powerful partnership in breaking past narrow views. I hope that by continually centering people in the design process, ensuring that our work is inclusive, and testing assumptions we can build better stuff.
What are three career lessons you learned so far?
- It’s important to celebrate and build on small successes.
- It’s powerful, effective, and energizing to think long-term and big picture.
- There is always more to learn.
Beth’s expertise in digital accessibility ensures that our clients’ products and services are accessible, useful, and usable for people with disabilities. She achieves this by creating UX and accessibility roadmaps, reviewing website and app accessibility, supporting inclusive usability studies, annotating designs for accessibility, and supporting good UX and accessibility throughout the product lifecycle. We are proud to have Beth on our team!