It's everyone's job

A while back someone I know that has a role in a product team (so, not a developer) showed me their brand new feature. Because I had just been working on a similar feature I decided to see how they were doing the keyboard navigation of that feature (because I wanted to learn and improve mine). They weren’t. So it wasn’t accessible. At the time, it wasn’t possible to see the contents of that feature using the keyboard at all.

I reported back to them and explained what happened when I used it and their reply was something along the lines “that’s a disappointment - I expected our developers to do better”. They took the feedback and improved it. When I heard their disappointment with their team, it reminded me of a quote from Mindera’s culture book that stayed with me: “It’s everyone’s job”. And I try, sometimes fighting my own blind spots, to apply it whenever I can.

An unaccessible feature will go live when any of these steps fails:

  • The client/product/tickets don’t mention it in their requirements;
  • It is designed without accessibility in mind;
  • When the code developed isn't accessible;
  • When in the code review it isn't flagged;
  • When the accessibility of a feature isn’t tested in the testing environments;

At any moment, anyone in team can flag that something is missing, broken or can be improved. Everyone reads the tickets/acceptance criteria, everyone sees the designs, someone develops but someone reviews the code, everyone testes it (and most of the times, they will use the ticket’s acceptance criteria as a reference of what to test).

It is important to be everyone’s job because no one is perfect. Because mistakes can be made but mostly because we are all learning. In every single mentioned step there could be someone who just started that particular role, for example, and they will learn from these interactions and it will become part of their routine for their next tasks.

Apply the "it's everyone's job" where you can and everyone in the team will learn a skill for the future.