Ease of Use: an exploration of usability and accessibility

A quick introduction to Ease of Use and those behind it

Hey! We're excited to soft launch our mini project exploring concepts around usability, accessibility, product design and front-end development. We'll be sharing blogs and articles we come across, and will be diving deeper in some of them.

Sometimes we'll also dive deeper with design and code implementations of some of the ideas we come across. One day we might even try our hand at this podcast thing, so we'll see.

If you have any topic requests or feedback, please @ us on twitter at @yawnxyz and/or @haley_barlar

A bit about Haley:

Hi I'm Haley 👋I'm a fibers artist turned frontend engineer currently working at Blacklane, a Berlin-based premium travel company. My journey in tech started after spending about four years backpacking through Asia and Australia and wanting to get a bit more settled in a career. I learned about "coding" by accident, did some research, and was sold. I moved from Vietnam to New York City, spent three months doing a full stack bootcamp, and found my first job in Berlin while on a two week holiday in Germany.

My first week at work, I struggled to use Git. I created tw\o separate branches from each other, worked on each at different times, and eventually lost all the work from both. Once the mystery of Git became a bit more obvious, my next task was to figure out how to use TypeScript. Solving that after many hair pulls, I was faced with another challenge. And so it went, day after day, learning a new tool, figuring out how to be a professional engineer at a company with over 70 nationalities all working together. It wasn't until I stumbled upon accessibility that I started to see my place in the vast world of tech. Accessibility, UX/UI, CSS, React, these were the things that made sense to me. Creating an interface that was inclusive and accessible to everyone became my top priority. Diving deeper, I began to see more and more how crucial it was to place accessibility on the same level of importance as infrastructure. I saw how many frontend engineers weren't focusing on it because they just didn't know about it. It became my mission to change this. And here we are today 🙋‍♀️

If you're interested learning more about me or seeing some of my work, head over to haleybarlar.com.

A bit about Jan:

Hey I'm Jan, a "UX developer" with a smattering of experience here and there, kind of like a jack of many trades, king of none sort of thing. I spent a few years doing UX and information architecture (does anyone use that term anymore) at a couple of agencies, then worked on a digital community-building product at Ubiquiti, and then took a break from work... and started striking off on my own trying out all kinds of startup ideas. None of them panned out, but the experience did force me to learn all my front-end dev skills from scratch (node, express, React, Vue, Sapper, Middleman, etc.). I did get a CS degree from undergrad, but honestly the overlap between what you learn in CS and front-end development is a big fat zero. At least when I graduated back in '09.

I'm pretty firmly a product from the user-centered design school of thought (literally: I have a Masters from the HCI program at Carnegie Mellon, which is all over UCD and service design), so any approach I take around designing a product is around "how can this be made better for those it's intended for (or unintended for)?".

I honestly don't know much about making things accessible, and I constantly question how much "I actually know" about designing for usability. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I'm constantly curious and and a constant skeptic.

So there you go — I've worked as a UX designer, have been writing code and producing sites independently (outside of an dev position), and have been trying my hand at this startup thing the last few years. I've spent the last three years working on a techbio/biotech startup called Phage Directory, where we're building a platform for developing class of virus-based antibiotics. Find out more at my portfolio: https://janzheng.com