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Web Accessibility and the Future of Remote Work with Sandrina Pereira

In this podcast episode, Front-end Engineer Sandrina Pereira discusses the importance of web accessibility, her work on server-side validations, and the future of remote work in the tech industry, highlighting the upcoming Epic WebConf where she aims to demystify web accessibility with real-world examples and advocate for inclusive hiring practices in the tech field.

In a thought-provoking dialogue, Front-end Engineer Sandrina Pereira explores the importance of web accessibility and how remote work is shaping the future of the tech industry. She discusses her role in crafting server-side validations for forms and her company's initiative to formalize a web accessibility statement, underscoring Remote.com's commitment to standards and improvement. Pereira also teases her upcoming presentation at Epic WebConf, aiming to demystify web accessibility with real-world examples and advocate for the consideration of diverse user abilities. Additionally, she reflects on the positive impact of remote work on inclusive hiring practices and the democratization of the tech field, as well as the significance of personal interactions at tech conferences.

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Meet Sandrina at Epic Web Conf.

Guests

Sandrina Pereira
Sandrina Pereira

Transcript

Kent: Hello everybody, I'm so excited to be joined by my friend Sandrina. Say hi Sandrina.

Sandrina: Hi everyone.

Kent: All right, so Sandrina, we are just a few months away from Epic WebConf, and I am so thrilled to have you speaking at the conference in Utah on April 11th, and I wanted to kind of break the ice for people so that they get to know you a little bit ahead of time, so they're excited to come and meet you at the conference. So could you give us a little introduction to yourself?

Sandrina: Sure, so I'm Sandrina, I'm from Portugal, and I'm a web lover that loves, you know, to turn ideas into accessible experiences, but without losing all the fun that the web brings. That's the focus here. And currently I'm a staff front engineer at remote.com. And yes, it's a company literally called Remote, and that's

Kent: Very cool, very good.

Sandrina: me.

Kent: So does the company make universal like TV remotes or? Just kidding.

Sandrina: Exactly. If you Google remote, we are still competing between the TV remote or the remote logo on the Google

Kent: Uh, yeah.

Sandrina: results.

Kent: Well, good luck on, on that front as well. Um, great. So can you tell us a little bit about the kind of work that you do on a regular day, uh, like day to day at remote.com for, as a staff engineer.

Sandrina: Okay, so it's a React ecosystem, so everything related with React. I'm more focused on stuff related with forms at scale. So forms from inputs, validations, UI, all up to the API side with the, you know, validations on the server as well. And how we keep up with building forms at scale, we are not talking about one and one other, we are talking about thousands of forms related with employment and policies. And yeah, that's me basically there. And what else? In between, I also try to help with accessibility at remote and try to make it compliant. Recently, I've been working on the accessibility statement for remote.com, which is super good. And

Kent: Hmm, interesting.

Sandrina: yeah, that's it.

Kent: Can you talk a little bit more about that? What is an accessibility statement?

Sandrina: Basically it's a page that you create on your website. that it's a statement saying like, how compliant or how accessible are you, how

Kent: Hmm.

Sandrina: your website is. And it's kind of a place where you say, look, these are the parts that we know that it's compliant. These are the things that we do in our website to make sure that stays accessible. And it's important that like the same part, it's not just about saying what is accessible. It's also about

Kent: Mm-hmm.

Sandrina: We are aware that this part here is not great, we are trying to do our best here and well, last but not least also provide email contacts to report accessibility issues.

Kent: Mm, I like that. That's a very accountable sort of approach to accessibility.

Sandrina: Yes.

Kent: It holds yourself accountable and it demonstrates that it's a goal and an important one for you at the company. So yeah, I'm always a fan of companies being more transparent. So that's very cool. I like that.

Sandrina: Yeah, yeah.

Kent: So if people want to go a little bit deeper into some of your background and stuff, they can actually check out our interview. for Epic Web that feels like just yesterday we talked about that.

Sandrina: True.

Kent: And yeah, it's pretty cool stuff that you're working on with the related to forms and things at remote. I would like to ask you though about your what you're planning on speaking about at Epic Webcom.

Sandrina: Okay, to be honest, I'm not sure exactly on what it is, will be exactly, but I have a bunch of ideas. But my goal is I'm gonna talk about accessibility in a practical way without boring rules. I'm not going to talk about rules. I'm going to talk about experiences, real life examples. And... I think my goal for the talk will be to show you that if you care about someone different than you, it's already halfway done to be

Kent: Hmm.

Sandrina: accessible. Because most of the times being accessible is just about thinking about different than you, using the internet and considering that. Being accessible is almost like building a website that it's flexible. If it's flexible, probably it will be also accessible.

Kent: Hmm, yeah, I like that idea or that approach.

Sandrina: I have something like that in mind.

Kent: I think typically using guilt as a mechanism for getting people to comply is a good way to get them to comply possibly, but not to enjoy doing it and not to be self-motivated to continue to do it in the future when you're not there to make them feel guilty. I think it is better to inspire people to be, find it within themselves to be motivated and empathetic to other users of their stuff.

Sandrina: Yeah, obviously like you can say, oh, you need to follow the law and because of the law you must do this, but yeah, that's... I don't want to go in that route.

Kent: Yeah, yeah, you'd rather that people make their websites accessible because they want to and because they care about

Sandrina: Yeah.

Kent: The people that they're working with so

Sandrina: And being accessible really means a lot of things. For example, if you do a pet project just for you, then it's 100% accessible because it's just for you, but now

Kent: Oh yeah.

Sandrina: when you work, you know, but what does it mean to be accessible? It really means just to be useful for the people who use your website. And in your pet project it's just you, so yeah, it's accessible for you. But then when you work on a big company, it's no longer about you. So you also need to care about the other people.

Kent: Yeah, I actually like that perspective a lot. One thing that I would caution people against though is, I don't remember where I first heard this, but somebody showed some statistics or their analytics and said, see, we don't need to make our web app mobile friendly because we get so few mobile visitors. And it's like, well, maybe you get so few mobile visitors

Sandrina: is that clear?

Kent: because it's not mobile friendly. So I think that it's important to keep in mind that, like you saying, oh, well, our app doesn't really, you know, have users who are blind or have an issue with using a keyboard or whatever. Like all of our users are able users. And I would caution against that attitude. Also because it's, you know, there are laws and stuff too. But like even, I think even people can be differently abled at different times of their lives, right, as well. So like, I'm holding a baby and now I can only use one hand or, you know,

Sandrina: Yeah.

Kent: stuff like that.

Sandrina: Yeah. And it really depends, you know, on, on your website again, but for example, at remote our company is, our product is about helping other companies to hire globally and talent as it is everywhere, opportunities should be as well. And the same time, any type of person can be anywhere. So that opens a window to any kind of person. So we try to be accessible to any type of employee or employer. And so, yeah.

Kent: Yeah, and it's a big part of equal opportunity as well. Like especially the people who are disadvantaged already don't need your app making their lives worse.

Sandrina: Yep.

Kent: And so yeah, I think there's a lot to be said about that. So I am really looking forward to your talk. I like the approach that you're planning on taking with it. Now, when we're at the conference. You're gonna have your talk and it's gonna be, it'll probably be stressful. It's always stressful for me. Until I get off that stage, I'm like, ah!

Sandrina: I know.

Kent: But you're gonna have plenty of opportunities to talk with other people at the conference. It's a single track conference, so everybody's gonna be in the same talks and then we'll have extended breaks to give people opportunities to talk with each other. And so my question to you is, what are the sorts of things that you hope people come and talk with you about? And what are you interested in talking with people about in that hallway track?

Sandrina: Within accessibility or outside accessibility?

Kent: Just anything, yeah. Like

Sandrina: Oh,

Kent: if

Sandrina: anything.

Kent: you're into baking and you want people to talk with you about making bread,

Sandrina: Oh.

Kent: that's cool too.

Sandrina: Okay, so, okay, within the Epic Web world, anything related with animations, I'm a huge fan. Like CSS or JavaScript, I don't care. Animations, 3D stuff, super immersive experiences. Within accessibility, bring me your most difficult cases. That's the thing that I'm like, oh, this is a super interesting one to make it accessible without losing all the interactions and experience and the merciful journey of whatever you are trying to accomplish and

Kent: Hmm.

Sandrina: outside the epic way of I don't know I'm really into calisthenics, I'm into personal finances and I'm into I don't know good food I like to eat.

Kent: Hmm. That sounds great. Well, good. So plenty of things to talk to Sandrina about everybody. You should go and find her at the conference and talk. It's that's why we go in person, right? Otherwise,

Sandrina: Yeah.

Kent: we all just like record on our computer and do a remote conference or something. But there's just something special about being there in person and

Sandrina: Yeah,

Kent: meeting with people. So

Sandrina: and yeah,

Kent: I'm excited to have you there.

Sandrina: and don't be shy, you know, probably it's a bunch of introverters trying to hang out, so yeah, please come say hi, I don't bite.

Kent: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Sandrina, for giving us some of your time today. I hope that you have a pleasant trip to Utah and that you have a good time while you're here. And I'm looking forward to seeing you in

Sandrina: Yeah,

Kent: April.

Sandrina: looking super forward for it. Thank you so much. Yay, it's what three months almost. Oh, it's almost there.

Kent: Yeah, it's coming right up. OK,

Sandrina: Yeah,

Kent: thanks

Sandrina: thank you

Kent: everybody.

Sandrina: so much. Okay,

Kent: See

Sandrina: bye

Kent: you everyone.

Sandrina: everyone, take care.

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