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Karina Chow

Thoughts and philosophies for how to set up your team’s workflow to tackle accessibility

If we’re working at smaller companies without specialized accessibility teams, how can we incorporate accessibility into our development workflow to create a more consistent environment in which we can tackle accessibility?

As a developer myself, I see automated accessibility measurements as a test coverage metric. In both cases, we can define a relatively quantifiable end goal and make concrete steps to get us closer to that goal. Furthermore, both accessibility and testing work is invisible to the user, but results in a more seamless product that provides a better overall user experience.

The ideal test coverage situation is one in…


A high-level view of tooling available to audit our products for accessibility issues and recommendations to get you started

A cover image that says “The Developer’s Guide to Web Accessibility Auditing and Tooling” in the same style as the 25th anniversary cover for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book cover.
A cover image that says “The Developer’s Guide to Web Accessibility Auditing and Tooling” in the same style as the 25th anniversary cover for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” book cover.

When we talk about web accessibility on a technical level, we usually talk about adhering to the W3C WCAG guidelines. If we’re starting on ground zero, understanding what has to be done to reach a compliance level can seem like an amorphous and maybe even impossible task.

Ideally, we’ve been aware of these guidelines from the birth of our product, and we’ve been keeping them in mind as we’ve been developing. …


When you lose your dream engineer because your interviewing process failed both your company and the candidate.

Based on a true story, and one of many inspirations to why I’ve been exploring how to improve the technical recruiting process.

Illustrated candy hearts, commonly eaten during Valentine’s Day, with the words “I love perf”, “need you”, and “full stack”.
Illustrated candy hearts, commonly eaten during Valentine’s Day, with the words “I love perf”, “need you”, and “full stack”.

To the performance engineer who got away:

When you applied to our company, everything was a hectic mess, as startups often go. Our frontend codebase only had 4 total tests in our test suite and our backend codebase had around 10% test coverage. The week I joined, the website went down several times and people were complaining on Twitter that our website took too long to load.

We were all overworked, but the tickets kept piling up. We…


How we can use UX principles to design a better, more empathetic technical interview experiences

If you’ve been in tech for more than a hot second, you probably know that technical interviews are broken. There’s plenty of arguments floating around about how whiteboarding algorithms and obscure brain teasers aren’t a good indication of a person’s ability to build products. That might be true, but the symptoms of a problem are not the root of a problem. The real issue with technical interviewing today is that we don’t place enough value in diverse skillsets and work philosophies. This lack of understanding is reflected in how we’ve designed and optimized our technical interview experiences to be one-dimensional…


Introductory information and advice on how to think about and approach web accessibility

Web Accessibility for Newbies picture
Web Accessibility for Newbies picture

In the current world of ubiquitous computing and an industry-wide desire to improve company and product diversity and inclusion, there’s no longer an excuse to not invest in web accessibility. That being said, getting started in web accessibility can be a daunting task. It’s hard to know where to start and what you can do right now to improve your product!

When I was starting, I was very confused and felt like I was constantly Google-ing definitions. Luckily for me, I had a colleague who was very knowledgable and relentlessly answered many of my questions. …


My personal and professional path thus far and where I hope to go next.

A few people have talked to me about the tech industry and have been asking me why I’m not clamoring to find myself another full-time engineering job. Well, pull up a chair and let me tell you a little story about myself.

Self portrait I made in college for a presentation describing the technologies I was most excited for

I. Love. Novelty.

Novelty is exhilarating. Novelty is needed. People can survive doing the same routine every day, but they need Novelty to thrive. This has always been my philosophy, and yet, I find myself stuck in a rut today.

My parents are both immigrants to the United States; my mother is from Berlin and my father is…


A short story of what I learned one summer as a snarky YMCA camp counselor

If the Powerpuff Girls were made with sugar, spice, and everything nice, I was definitely made with punk, spunk, and everything snarky. Even today, after working in industry for nearly a decade, you can see that in how I present myself professionally; my social bylines say “Screw the rules, I have green hair” and my LinkedIn background says “Experienced Frontend Developer with a demonstrated history of working in the internet.”

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

Like most high school seniors, I wrote quite a few college admission essays, but this is the one that I…


3 illustrations of a candidate interviewing via phone screen, online challenge, and take-home assessment.
3 illustrations of a candidate interviewing via phone screen, online challenge, and take-home assessment.
Illustration made using Stubborn

Like many engineers, I’ve had a career full of horrible interviewing experiences, both as a candidate and an interviewer. As a candidate, I’ve been told to write a distributed system implemented using mutexes on a whiteboard. I wrote it in pseudo code to a silent and judgmental interviewer, and then was told I failed the interview because I didn’t write the name for the Java mutex package correctly. Java was not listed on my resumé and I had never written it professionally.

As an interviewer, I interviewed a person whose skillset only included writing HTML and CSS, but who was…


Illustration of a person trying to convince discerning coworkers that accessibility is important
Illustration of a person trying to convince discerning coworkers that accessibility is important
Made with Stubborn

You’re working at a startup, flying at what feels like a thousand commits a second. You simultaneously are operating in a lean mean efficiency machine as well as an ever-growing snowball of tech debt. You’re working 50, 60, 70 hours a week, aiming for that new feature launch. The day is finally upon you, and shockingly, nothing goes horribly wrong at launch. You cry a single tear of pride at all you have accomplished.

A week later, your company is hit with an ADA lawsuit.

This has been a familiar fate for thousands of companies in the US every year…

Karina Chow

Screw the rules, I have green hair. 🇨🇳 +🇩🇪 , jaded SF Bay native, 3rd gen techie. Loves FE, a11y, UX, design, writing, creative technology, 🎷 🎨 🧵 🥋 🐰

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