November 11th, 2019 · personalComments Off on 11/11 – Don’t mention the war
I’ve just spent the 2-minute silence contemplating my late father’s involvement in the Second World War, how proud I am of him, and what he thought of the Britain in which he passed away just two weeks ago.
Dad always told me that he “fought in World War II for Europe”. He fought for peace, he was pro-Europe, and had many European friends. Heck, even our family’s ancestors came to Britain from Germany centuries ago.
On this day, please don’t use the First or Second World War as justification for Brexit, or make the wars about patriotism and national pride. While we should be glad and thankful that the Allied forces united and won those wars, those who “fought for their country” really fought for freedom and democracy for all people, mustered by the rhetoric of patriotism and national pride. They fought against fascism, signs of which we are sadly seeing increase worldwide.
The wars were awful and millions of people died, so let’s not allow wartime to be humanity’s heyday.
Hello, friends! It’s been so long, I thought it was about time I updated you on what I’ve been doing.
Do you remember that roller coaster ride I referred to when I joined OmniTI? Well, it just kept on going! And after a year of doing the transatlantic telecommute, I felt the need for solid ground. I left OmniTI in September.
I worked on some great projects while I was there, with big brands and alongside wonderfully talented people. I learned a lot, made some new friends, and had quite a bit of fun thrown in, too! Thank you to those who shared their knowledge and humour with me.
R and R
To recharge my batteries a bit, I decided to take a little time away from the Web and computer keyboards. I visited a few friends around the UK, spent a relaxing couple of days on Lundy Island, and got myself to Accessibility 2.0 and PHPNW ’09. I may have also made it to a gig or two along the way!
In the background, interesting discussions were afoot, and a fantastic opportunity presented itself. Which brings me to…
For the last couple of months, I’ve been setting up a new web design and development co-operative with some friends of mine: Alan, Andrei, Chris and Jon. In December, we launched Analog.
They say working with friends or family is a bad idea. The way I see it, I want many of the same things out of my working relationships as I do out of my friendships. I like to be around friends because they’re people I’m happy in the company of. I trust them, and respect their opinions. A healthy work relationship will have many of these same traits: fun, mutual respect, honesty and openness.
When we got together as a group in September, Chris summarised his work aspirations as, “Good people. Good work.” And that was it in a nutshell for me. I have huge respect for the people I work with at Analog. They were work colleagues, and even clients, before they became my friends. I know I can work with them, and build great things. If you don’t know them, let me introduce you quickly:
Alan Colville is a talented experience designer who worked with Jon Tan and I at Grow Collective. When he’s not inspiring me with his insights into user behaviours, he’s amazing me by running up mountains and biking down them!
I’ve been working with Jon Tan for several years now, at Grow and OmniTI. He’s a fab designer, and passionate about his craft. Not only have we made a good team, we’ve also become good friends. With many a tale of travel and type, you’re never bored around Jon.
I usually write about accessibility on this blog. The analog.coop holding page has a few talking points I could cover, not least the improved semantics of HTML5, and the accessibility features of ARIA. I’ll write more about these soon. For now, I hope that one page shows that accessibility doesn’t have to come at the cost of beautiful design.
Thank you, Carolyn Wood for being absolutely stellar, and helping us put our vision into words for our web site. Incidentally, the holding page scores pretty well on readability tests, which makes me happy!
Ta very much, HTML5doctor.com, for being a great place to get practical help with HTML5. Special thanks to Bruce Lawson who’s a super chap for helping me out with one particular HTML5 peculiarity.
In May last year, I took a trip to Dronten in Holland where my father took part in several remembrance services for those who gave their lives in the Second World War. The Dutch really celebrate their freedom, May 5th being their Liberation Day, which marks the day The Netherlands were freed from German occupation in 1945. It was quite emotional to be part of several ceremonies and festivals where people who fell, many nameless, were remembered and celebrated.
Right, now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’m happy to announce here that I will be joining Jon at OmniTI to form part of their interface design team as an accessibility engineer!
Essentially, I’ll be doing the stuff I love: accessible interface design, consulting and training, and quality assurance (“pedant duties”). And I’ll be doing it from within the loving arms of one of the Web’s cleverest companies. To echo what I said the other day, working with the people at OmniTI over recent months has been great. Even though I’ve been working remotely, I’ve been surrounded by really clever folks, which means it’s always a learning experience, and always fun. Hopefully, some of them feel that they have been learning from me, too.
I’ve always sat somewhere between the back-end development geeks and the front-end creative types. In my new job, I will be concentrating on interface design, but I will be working closely with other teams to help ensure accessibility is built into the applications built by OmniTI. It’s perfect for me, and I’m really looking forward to it.
What a way to round off the year! I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of cool stuff in store for 2009. I hope you all have a great Christmas, and I’ll see you on the other side of New Year!
So, I guess you’re all wondering where I’ve been of late? I mentioned in my last post about 2007 being a good year – well, it’s certainly started off well! November 5th has grown up!
As I have now been officially welcomed, I’m very pleased to announce that I’m working as interface and application developer for Grow Collective, a Web design co-operative based in Bristol. Thanks for the warm welcome guys!
I’m stoked to be working with Jon, Paul and Charlie. Ever since first bumping into Jon on Accessify Forum, I’ve admired Grow’s work, and now it’s my work too! Mwah, ha, ha!
Working with Grow on projects over the last few months has kept me busy, but I’ve found it inspiring and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been particularly good because I’ve been able to concentrate on working in areas I am good at and enjoy. It’s great to feel recognised for a skill and to be given the opportunity to develop those areas of my work.
So, it’s been busy lately – and it’s still busy. There’s a blog redesign I’ve contributed topreparing for launch , a stationery company’s redesign in the final stages, and a shiny new Web application on the way – we’ve got lots of exciting things to get cracking on with! And, with some of the load of self-employment lifted by my colleagues at Grow, I’m going to have more time to spend here – aren’t you lucky?!
Several discussions with my new work-buddies have brought light to some interesting ideas and technical tidbits that others may find useful. So, armed with a few ideas floating around on the breeze and a pocketful of draft blog posts, expect to see a bit more natter and a bit less… silence.
Hello, I'm Jon.
I’m the founder and Managing Director of As It Should Be, a UK consultancy helping digital teams design and build more accessible and sustainable products and services. I’m passionate about making the digital world better for all people and for our planet, running an ethical business, and practical approaches to achieving accessibility and sustainability.