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Spotlight: Kevin Mar-Molinero

What is your day job?

Working at Kin+Carta my job is highly varied, it can go from hands on audits of sites against WCAG standards through to defining the company strategy for inclusive design, developing methodologies for delivery of inclusive design and public speaking.

Currently a core feature of my role has been further upstream in the process, sitting in on user testing and research, and reviewing the outputs, as well as writing user stories and acceptance criteria for accessibility that applies to UX; Design; Development.

The final part to this work is the internal organisational work, mentoring junior staff who are interested in the area, working with our legal team to set standards and assess client liability and reviewing internal tooling and products to make sure our own working environment is as inclusive as possible.

Alongside this I'm also lucky enough to represent inclusive design in the UK by sitting on the British Interactive Media Association's Inclusive Design Council, which looks to educate the industry, provide opportunities to people getting into the industry and work with schools to encourage people into accessibility and inclusive design as a career.

How has learning about accessibility impacted what you do?

I'm what I guess you'd call a "grey beard" for accessibility, whilst I got into the industry later in life—in my early 30's—it was relatively "early" in the modern considerations around accessibility and inclusion. When i started we had no developer tools in the browsers, WCAG was still at 1.0 and Inclusive Design wasn't a term anyone had heard of.

That meant that accessibility was very much the domain of front end developers, and only got done or considered if passionate and interested developers made it happen—often in their own time. And this is probably where the main impact came in.

I have personal reasons for wanting to work in and do accessibility—I'm dyslexic and have dyscalculia and my mum is legally blind, whilst my uncle is fully blind—and learning that accessibility was a part of the job, and more importantly an achievable thing in the web and digital space, inspired me to make it my mission to have it embedded in everything and respected as a discipline and craft of it's own right.

That impact has meant that i've had the opportunity to work across the whole lifecycle of projects in a way I'd most likely not have done without it, and most importantly has taught me that accessibility can never be the task of a single person alone, and accessibility without co-creation is a job half done at best.

One other important factor I've learned is that doing accessibility right makes everything else better, designers and UX considering accessibility make better experiences for everyone and developers write cleaner code and learn to think about the broader ethical and social considerations of their work.

What's one thing you'd want someone to know about doing accessibility work?

The longer I work in the accessibility and inclusive design space the more i realise that I don't know more than I do, and I should never second guess how people use the web. Instead it's about listening and learning, giving voices to those who don't normally get them and focussing on the boring bits because they make such a huge difference.

So it might sound obvious but the one thing I'd say is that you won't always get it right, you can't ever know it all, and losing ego is the most important thing you can do. I know that's technically not one thing, but I'm going to blame that on my dyscalculia.

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