Episodes
Shell Little standing outside, looking at the camera. She's wearing a white blazer over a black lace top and a black wide-brimmed hat fedora hat.
13 Letters
June 3, 2021

Cognitive Dissidents

Shell Little actually studied accessibility in college – making her a rare example of someone who didn't "stumble" into accessibility but hit the job market knowing exactly what she wanted to do. Still, she didn't know that she, herself, was part of the demographic that benefitted from inclusive design. Now an inclusive design lead on Wells Fargo's Accessible User Experience team and accomplished speaker in her own right, Shell shares her journey, talks about what a "Cognitive disability" can really mean, and even explains the surprising connection between accessibility and cosmetology.

Episode Transcript

Will Butler:

Hello, and welcome to 13 Letters: The Accessibility Podcast hosted by me, Will from Be My Eyes and Cordelia McGee-Tubb from Salesforce. This week on 13 Letters, we're talking cognitive disabilities and cognitive accessibility with Shell Little who works on the accessible user experience team at Wells Fargo and is also an amazing speaker, presenter, and overall resource about all things cognitive accessibility. That includes ADHD, autism, aging, and anything really that can lead to the need for good, understandable design. A big thank you to Diamond for continuing to sponsor transcripts. Find out more about the inclusive digital agency @diamond.la. And now our discussion with Shell Little.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I always start by saying I'm really excited. So I'll try and use a different adjective. I'm pumped to have you here today, Shell. You're an amazing conference speaker and it's so cool to be able to speak in real time with you about accessibility today. So thanks for joining us.

Shell Little:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for asking me to be our guest. I am pumped to be here.

Will Butler:

I was nervous when I heard that you were listening to old 13 Letters episodes. Do you have any feedback for us, Shell?

Shell Little:

They're great and I'm so glad someone's doing this. No, really great content. I enjoyed learning about, especially when it comes to accessibility, there's so many different spaces and there's so much important work being done and to shed light on things like government and higher education and what happened with COVID. I think it's a really important thing because we can get stuck in our own little avenues of accessibility.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

And something we really haven't explored much on this podcast so far is neurodiversity and cognitive accessibility. So that's one of the many reasons why we're pumped to have you here. But before we dig into that, we want to introduce folks to you. So who is Shell Little, where did you grow up?

Shell Little:

I'm trying to figure out who Shell Little is too, honestly these days. I grew up in the Midwest. I grew up on the west coast of Michigan. So, I grew up in a tiny little beach town, it's not tiny, Grand Haven. So it was beautiful where I grew up, but slowly crept my way across the state. I'm actually a licensed cosmetologist, fun fact. I got my license in COS, in Grand Rapids. And then I slowly went to community college and worked my way over to Lansing where I went to school. And then after school I packed up and two weeks later moved up to Seattle and that's where I've been ever since.

Will Butler:

Wow. How long ago was that?

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Oh, sorry.

Shell Little:

A couple of years ago. I moved out in 2016.

Will Butler:

Okay. Yeah, Cordelia you were going to ask what I was going to ask, but.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Yeah. Can we go back to the part where you said you were a licensed cosmetologists, and can you just tell us more about that?

Will Butler:

Yeah. That's a 13 Letters first, for sure.

Shell Little:

There we go. Yeah. So, I couldn't afford to go to a four-year university. So, pre 2008 market crash I wanted to go into wig work. I love hair. I love makeup. I love wigs. So, that was the plan, go to hair school, get my COS in AST and then moved to Chicago and start working in wigs. But then the 2008 market crash happened and had to reevaluate priorities. And I was really good with computers. I had taken Dreamweaver in high school and got into a little bit of beginner's web and really, really loved design. So I knew that I was good at computers and that my dad's a huge nerd. We were the first people in my town to have wireless internet like we had every ancient computer.

Shell Little:

So I just grew up around technology and I knew that it would be good for me to go into something tech, but I had no idea what to go into. And so, yeah. I went to hair school and worked my way through college basically. So I worked 30 hours and then I would go Tuesday, Thursdays were my class days. So I worked seven days a week basically. It was really brutal, but I got through it and I still do hair. Like I do my own hair, fun facts if you have seen my hair know that I did it. And I cut my partner's hair and stuff like that, but for the most part, it was more of a tactic to get through hair school or sorry to get through college. And then what's nice is now that I'm still licensed, I get access to the good stuff at the special hair store that you have to be licensed to go to. So it's a fun.

Will Butler:

So there is a little special hair store?

Shell Little:

There is, it's for professionals only where they sell wholesale items and that you can get super dirt cheap stuff because it's where salons buy their products. So it's a very nice perk-

Will Butler:

Wow.

Shell Little:

... just pay $15,000 in a year of your life and then you get access to it but.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

You get access to it for the rest of time?

Shell Little:

As long as I'm licensed. So got to keep my license up.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Wow.

Shell Little:

Yeah. So it's fun-

Will Butler:

[crosstalk 00:05:11]-

Shell Little:

... every once in a while. So it's a good creative outlet at this point I think.

Will Butler:

How's the wig industry doing these days?

Shell Little:

Oh, they're booming.

Will Butler:

[crosstalk 00:05:20]-

Shell Little:

Oh my gosh.

Will Butler:

... Cardi B and all these people. It must be a good time for Wigs.

Shell Little:

Yes. It really is. I love them. I just love costumes to dressing up like Halloween is my jam. So for me, yeah, it's fun to still have that license. It's fun to still do hair every once in a while, but for the most part, I like eat, sleep and breathe accessibility. So sometimes I will forget. I'm like, oh yeah, no, I'm actually qualified in these things. Oops.

Will Butler:

Its-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Is there a crossover space between accessibility and cosmetology?

Shell Little:

And hair-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Yeah.

Shell Little:

I think it's the human element is where I see the connection, where being in the service industry at all it's about you connecting with your client, with your person and that kind of skill of like, someone sits down in your chair, you have no idea who they are, where they came from and you are attempting to learn their needs and create a relationship with them. I think that kind of skill, it's almost how improv helps you with the most random things. Improv helps you with interviews. I think being inherent doing COS and meeting so many new people and talking to so many new people really helped when it came to working with design, because that's what we do. We create connections.

Shell Little:

We tell someone the bad news like, "Hey, I'm so sorry, but the person who cut your hair last time, cut a hole out in the front. There's nothing I can do, but I can make it look a little bit better." Same thing with tech you pick up, you're like, "Hey, the person who made this didn't check all their boxes, but I'm going to do what I can, the best I can." I think that the human element is what really tied it together for me. I learned a lot of skills, made a lot of mistakes but in the end it's all about people, I guess.

Will Butler:

Yeah. So you've got your degree in what?

Shell Little:

I know the name is really a little bit funky, but it's called experience architecture, but it's just a UX degree. So you're architecting experiences. I just typically say I have a degree in UX because everybody thinks I build buildings, which I don't. But yeah. So Michigan State University is the first college in the US to have a straight up UX degree as a minor. So I got my bachelor, oh sorry, not as a minor, as a bachelor's degree rather than a higher degree. So my bachelor's degree is in UX. The program was in its infancy when I went through it, I think I was the ninth person to graduate.

Will Butler:

Wow.

Shell Little:

My graduating class was three people-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Wow.

Shell Little:

... but now it's huge. Like they have 100 of students. It's amazing to see, but what's great about my program was it was housed in the humanities. So I went to the college of arts and letters. So everything was very like human. Let's bring in the human element, the humanity side. So the courses I took, I took interaction design. I took content writing. I took governance. We took design classes. So how to do prototyping, rapid prototyping. We did UXR like everything you could ever imagine needing to be in this field we did it all and it was hilarious how ready I was for the field. What's funny is that I got hired at Wells Fargo where I work right now, two weeks after college and I'd been there ever since.

Shell Little:

And what's funny is I remember the first couple of days of working there, like we're going to do infinity diagramming and everybody on my team was like, "I have no idea what that is." And I was like, "Oh yeah, I'm ready. Let's do this." I was so prepared for affinity diagramming-

Will Butler:

Wow.

Shell Little:

... from college, but yeah, so I stumbled into the program, which most people did as a junior and it clicked. And then in our UXR program, when we were doing UXR that's where we start talking about accessibility and disability. And it was kind of comical. I look back and it was literally like a light switch. I was like, Oh, that's it, I'm done. That's my career because I was constantly searching for something that I could do. I want to make a difference in the world, but I also want to have a field that you can get success, you can go places and do things. And trying to find a balance between making the world a better place and being successful. It's how do you balance that?

Shell Little:

So finding something like accessibility, where I can selfishly make the world better for me and for others was a really good fit. And yeah, I studied it throughout the rest of college and did an internship. And then I did a job where I was basically QA. It was awesome. Learned so much, made so many mistakes. It was great. Like that's the best part about colleges. I was in an environment that failure was absolutely great. I failed my UXR final exam, but got an A on it because we did a post-mortem on why we bombed so bad. And my professor was like, "That's it. That's what you need." Like I got an A and I was just like-

Will Butler:

wow.

Shell Little:

... this is exactly the place that I want to be, where you can absolutely bomb, but when you learn from those mistakes, you actually succeed in the end. So it was a really great program. Like I said, I left really ready to go for my career.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Oh my gosh, now I want to go there. I want to go get another degree there. That sounds amazing.

Shell Little:

Yeah, it was really cool.

Will Butler:

I can't even count the number of times, can't think of another time where someone's been like, "Oh my gosh, I got out of college ridiculously ready." Like that doesn't [crosstalk 00:10:33]-

Shell Little:

I know. Like in accessibility I love hearing people's backgrounds. Like where were you? It's like, "Oh, I was a dance instructor and then blah, blah, blah." Like, that's fascinating how you... And that's what's so brilliant and wonderful about our field is there so many people from so many different walks of life, but I definitely, when I tell people they're like, "So how'd you get new accessibility?" I'm like, "I studied it in college," and they're like, "Oh cool." And I'm like, "Yeah, that's it." That's my story.

Will Butler:

Then you put on a cool wig, and then they're like, " Cool."

Shell Little:

Yeah, exactly.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

But I hope that'll be more and more common path in the future too because so many colleges just don't teach about accessibility. So many people don't realize it's an option until they stumble across it later in life, or if they have a personal connection to it. So I love hearing everyone's diverse career backgrounds, but I also would love to see more people come fresh out of college. Like I am ready for accessibility. Let's do this. You need both I think.

Shell Little:

I absolutely agree. And I think the great thing about my program is internships were mandatory, which they should be because you learn so much when you're actually doing, like theory is great. But when you're doing, that's when you really to make the mistakes and learn and grow. So for me, I worked so many internships in college. I think I had nine in two years. But the one that really, working with MSU, Michigan State University's IT department and procurement. So basically, the college of ed wanted to buy a piece of technology. We vetted it with the vendor to make sure it was accessible before it was purchased. And it was a lot of, "Hey, we have an hour." They just told us let's go. And then doing rapid reviews, by hand we had no money.

Shell Little:

So no tools, like all from scratch QA, I got such a wonderful handle on WCAG and how it's actually applied because we're talking to real vendors who talked to TPG and talk to level access and talk to DQ. So the exposure was fantastic, and after I left I ended up managing a lot of the students by the end. And when I left, I was like, "Yeah, I'm ready to go. Let's just do this." And then I found my role and it just clicked for me. So I'm really grateful for that path. There was a lot of stumbling to try to find it, but once I got it, it was like, I don't know. I felt like I was in the right place. I'm like, yep. This is it.

Will Butler:

In those rapid procurement times where it's like red alert, we have to check this software. How do you go about doing that?

Shell Little:

Yeah. Honestly, it's basically like, how do you rapid test a page? And for me, and most people would say, first thing you do hit it with a keyboard. That's the very first thing, how bad is it? You can tell how bad something is when you hit it with a keyboard. You're like, "Oh, everything's focusable. Okay. Things are actionable. I can space bar. You're like, "All right, that's not so bad. Now let's put on a screen reader and see what happens." Like tell me your dirty secrets, that's what the IT does. It's always like, it digs up the dirty secrets. Oh, you thought you could hide that thing on the side of, no, you can't hide that. I found it. But yeah, definitely starting off with the keyboard, navigating through the whole flow and then popping screen reader on, navigating the whole flow and then just really crunching and writing down as much stuff as you find.

Shell Little:

And yet we ran off like Excel sheets, like here's your tickets. Here's your 300 tickets I found in an hour, it's brutal but like I said, super, super great way to learn. It was like trial by fire. I wouldn't put someone else through it, but being put through it, I really, really learned a lot really fast.

Will Butler:

When I imagine there's some things from the cognitive perspective that are often missed when you do the keyboard and the screen reader assessment.

Shell Little:

Absolutely. And that's the hard part-

Will Butler:

Which we'll talk.

Shell Little:

Yeah. Absolutely. The hard part is like only so much can get caught by being a WCAG violation, which is something that, of course we will talk about in a little bit.

Will Butler:

Yeah. Well, Shell a little bit more about if you would, what about your personal connection to accessibility because you identify as neurodivergent. Did that have anything to do with your decision to go into accessibility or what does that mean to you?

Shell Little:

Yeah, it's funny. I actually didn't know that I was as disabled as I actually am, mostly because of internalized ableism, but I actually didn't get diagnosed with ADHD until after college. So I fell in love with accessibility before I realized how important it was for myself, which really was a game changer. It was funny when I was in college, so I have ADHD and that's like if you're going to make a shell cake, that's one of the biggest ingredients. But I had somebody say to me like, "Hey Shell, did you ever think you had ADHD? Has that ever been like a thing anybody's ever said to you?" And I was like, "Absolutely not. That's not me."

Shell Little:

And they were like, "Yeah, like what about your family? Is anybody else?" And I'm like, no, just my mom, brother and older sister, that's it as ADHD diagnosed. So it was very much like, oh like shit, oh God, I think I might. So going through the diagnosis process and finding out all these different things, I'm like, it's amazing, when you get diagnosed, like there's so much power in diagnosis. People are always like, "Why do you need a diagnosed? I'm like, A, there's protection, but B there's power. And the power is unraveling things that you thought you just sucked out or you just weren't good at, or oh, I'm just bad at this thing. It's like, no, actually I'm experiencing a barrier that I didn't know was a barrier.

Shell Little:

Like I remember back in college, my senior year, we had to take a Python and it was intro to Python. So it was a weeder class for the college of engineering, but it was our senior class. So it was brutal, like 600 kids in a class. You met your professor at the exam, like you were taught by a TA. It was brutal. And I remember I had a death in the family and couldn't take the test when everybody else did in the lecture hall with like six, 700 people. And I took it alone, an office with music in my ears, and I got a perfect score. And I remember being like, damn, I wish I could take all my tests like that, where I'm just it's a quiet room. People aren't shuffling papers and getting up and walking because I'm on a slower test taker.

Shell Little:

And I just remember being like, I just suck. I wish I could just use your phones or I wish I could just play music. And now looking back being like, "Oh, you had ADHD." Of course you wanted to be alone in a room, quiet. It made so much more sense and it's been a nice process. Maybe not nice, but like unpacking those biases or thoughts that you had where you're like, "Oh, I don't suck it XYZ. It's actually part of my disability." So, it's funny how I had already really fallen in love with it. Then later get diagnosed and realize how close to home everything really is for me. It's been an interesting process I think.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I identify a lot with that because I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and didn't really think of it as a disability for a while because everyone I knew was always like, "Oh, I'm so OCD about blah, blah, blah." I'm so OCD about blah, blah, blah." And I was like, they all have it, but they don't seem to be struggling. And then I got formally diagnosed and I was like, oh, so there are certain things that are different about me than this other person who's so OCD about those straight lines. And it was really liberating to realize that that wasn't just me failing at something. It was actually like, "Well, there's an interesting chemical imbalance in my head that's changing how things work. Okay, cool."

Shell Little:

It's amazing. I know my partner has OCD as well, and it's so fascinating because of ableism, like everybody's a little ADHD. I'm like, no, that's a difficult thing with cognitive where it's like, "Oh, I'm so OCD." And it's like, so if you don't lock the door four times, your mom's going to die. Like that's where you're at or you just are particular and those are very different things. And it's really fascinating to see how cognitive disabilities are spoken about in our country and abroad, but well everybody gets distracted. Well, everybody's a little OCD, like those kinds of concepts where it's like, "No, you really don't understand how my life has really affected." Have you ever cried yourself to sleep because you couldn't send an email because I have, it's not the same.

Will Butler:

Yeah. What is that? Why do we speak about cognitive disability, is it just because it's more recently identified as a disability, is newer to the mix or is there something cultural that we need to address?

Shell Little:

Are you referring to how the public speaks about cognitive disabilities?

Will Butler:

Yeah.

Shell Little:

I definitely think ableism for sure. Pervasive, the way that we talk about them, there's also horrible media representation, which causes misconceptions and oftentimes harmful ones. Just look at the autism community and how they're just desperate to have baseline representation. And we have things like SIA coming out with music where they're showing things that kill people. It's really difficult to be someone with a cognitive disability these days because the rhetoric is pretty rough around it. I know like not to date this episode, but the stuff is going on with the Elon Musk right now, coming out as someone with autism. So it's the way other people talk about it, the way that we as a society talk about things.

Shell Little:

It's mostly because there's A, lack of empathy and B, the person that you know who has these disabilities, they probably don't even think of it as a disability themselves. And they're stuck thinking they just suck. It's like a cycle where we don't really have people who are like, "Yes, I have this disability. It is me." And then they are able to be themselves and around them absorb that. Not saying that they should have to teach everyone, but it's like we're missing that cycle when it comes to disability, which we're trying to get there for people of color, for, oh gosh, all the stuff that's going on with Black Lives Matter where we're trying to learn from other people without making them be our teachers.

Shell Little:

It's interesting and a cultural shift. So I'm hopeful that things will get better in the future when it comes to how we talk about and how we portray cognitive disabilities in the media and how we talk about it on Twitter. The hope is that things will start to shift.

Will Butler:

For those who are still trying to wrap their mind around the topic. Could we dive into cognitive accessibility one-on-one, you speak about this a lot Shell and who are we talking about here? Just starting with, some people might not know even who benefits from cognitive accessibility.

Shell Little:

Yeah, absolutely. So when we're talking about cognitive, we're talking about people who have a variety of neuro-typical, oh, not neuro-typical, gosh, we're talking about a variety of people who have different types of disabilities, like ADHD, autism, and then there's the ones that dip into, I don't like to think of it as learning disabilities personally, but things like dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysneuria, the way that your brain interacts with information, be it physical or written is different sensory processing. There's a lot of different things, like when you have a disability like autism or ADHD, there's a lot of companion disabilities that oftentimes just kind of come with the package.

Shell Little:

But when we talk about cognitive, we're also talking about people who have emotional disabilities as well. So, mental health related stuff, I always like to make sure that we bucket those people in because when you have depression and you are unmedicated and have no support, your brain functions differently, and the way you process information is fundamentally different. So be it anxiety, be it post-traumatic, be it depression in general, for me, that is lumped in when we're talking about cognitive. It's also people with physical disabilities who struggle with brain fog or people who have chronic pain who deal with having to try to be a human while you're in an immense amount of pain. It benefits a lot of users and a lot of different people.

Shell Little:

Obviously we could go into the temporary disability space too, like someone who has a concussion and can't look at a screen. there's a lot of use cases there. But for me, I focus a lot on autism and ADHD just because those communities are incredibly vocal, but there are so many other disabilities as well that fit into cognitive that are just as important. I just focused on them a little bit less, but it doesn't mean they're not as important.

Will Butler:

We talk a lot, but still don't think we talk enough about older adults or just in general, people with maybe a lower reading comprehension level. Have there been studies about, someone called together all the demographic information about who cognitive accessibility benefits or is it just sort of, once you start really looking at is it just obvious that it's everybody?

Shell Little:

I'm sure people have done studies. I know the W3C probably has some good stuff about user groups, but for me, it just seems to be everyone. In the end, yes, because we're all temporarily able-bodied and we will all age into disability. And I absolutely think older adults when you have flows that work well for somebody with ADHD, who's kind of dealing with overstimulation or somebody with autism when you have a flow that works well for them, it's clear, it's concise, it's labeled appropriately. It's functional people who are older adults benefit as well, which is the great thing. And for me, cognitive accessibility is just good design, because anything that's a bad design is going to affect people with cognitive disabilities more than others.

Shell Little:

When it comes to page structure or the way things are built or the way components are working with one another, like in forums, for example, when those are confusing your users with cognitive disabilities, you're going to lose them first. And oftentimes that's when you'll lose your older adult population as well. So I definitely think slowing working memory, I talk about that a lot what a human can hold on to and for how long information-wise absolutely for older adults, slow working memory, slow recall, or small working memory those people absolutely fit into that demographic as well.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I was going to ask, it seems like there's so much overlap between cognitive accessibility and just usability. Like an example I'm thinking of is iconography, icons. If you're introducing a bunch of unfamiliar icons to a user group, regardless of who the user is, it's going to be confusing, but it might be especially confusing for say an older adult who might not be familiar with certain icons that are used all across the web. It just seems like it's good usability, not confusing or overwhelming the user.

Shell Little:

Absolutely. And for me, when it comes to cognitive accessibility, the reason why cognitive accessibility just feels such like a good fit for me is because basically when it comes to cognitive, what I always say is the standards aren't enough because it's really difficult to write standards for cognitive accessibility. So what that means is, if we want things to be accessible for people with cognitive disabilities, we have to push further than the standards. And when you push further than the standards, you're dipping your toes into inclusive design at that point, like it's just a perfect path of being like the standards aren't enough. I want to include more people because these aren't working for everybody, let's do that for cognitive. Let's make better designs that include more people, oh, wait, that's inclusive design. It's a perfect transition where you're focused on.

Shell Little:

I don't know. I like to say accessibility is broken into two different questions. Was it coded accessibly and was it designed accessibly? And there are different people who can answer those questions and they'll answer differently. And for me, I'm really focused on, was it designed accessibly because you can never ever, ever out code bad design and we need to have more conversations about how things are made and how pages interact. Because we have a lot of conversations about how they're programmed, which is incredibly important, but it's time we also have conversations about how important design is for users with disabilities as well. And we just don't have those conversations enough in my opinion, which is why I'm trying to get out there and talk about it as much as possible.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

That's why it's so cool that you went to a school that had an experience architecture program where accessibility was woven into all of that other design, the entire design toolkit. Because I totally agree, it's not a coding issue. It's code, it's design, it's everything it's research. Yeah. So you mentioned the standards, so I think a lot of folks are on this podcast are familiar with WCAG or Wuhcag. However people want to pronunce-

Shell Little:

Wow.

Will Butler:

[crosstalk 00:28:16]-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

... there are bunch of different ways to pronounce it. Anyway, WCAG is starting to have more guidelines around cognitive accessibility, right? It's an ongoing process.

Shell Little:

Yeah, they're getting there. As I mentioned earlier, it's tough because you could make a solution for someone with autism that will break that experience for someone with ADHD or even two different people with autism. It could break the experience depending on who the person is and what their needs are. So it's really difficult to make standards because the whole point of the WCAG standards is that they're testable and you can actually repeat them. And when you have something that's like, "Hey, 50%, that way, 50%, that way." It's really hard to write a standard around that. So in general, yes. More standards are kind of coming down the pipe. Unfortunately, a lot of them end up being AAA or the spirit of the, was to say component the spirit of the criteria is there, but unfortunately because it wasn't testable, a lot of the good stuff has to get stripped out.

Shell Little:

I'm hopeful for the next iteration of WCAG. We'll see, but I am always going to say that standards aren't going to be enough because there are so many nuances and different scenarios. And it's really hard to write standards for everything.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Yeah. I wonder if there can be standards around the flexibility and then the flexibility of giving users choice of how they want that interface to work is where you get to really go beyond the standards and provide those ideal experiences for multiple people. But I didn't really think about testable.

Shell Little:

Yeah. That's like when we look at things like touch target size, it's a great criterion, but because not everything that's clickable is a button. So example, how do you put standards on how big a link should be, like those throw in a wrench and then we have to pop it up to AAA. And I feel like that happens a lot with the cognitive stuff. It just is too hard to test and it's too hard to make a solid standard that, is it going to scare everybody away?

Will Butler:

So you're speaking, you're educating and you're full-time at Wells Fargo. What do you find most of you spending most of your time talking about and advocating for, in terms of whether it's a feature or an approach or what's your stump speech these days?

Shell Little:

At Wells Fargo right now or in my life?

Will Butler:

Yeah. Whichever you're more comfortable talking about, I don't know if you want to give us an overview of what you do at Wells Fargo, just so people have some background.

Shell Little:

Sure. Yeah. It's funny I don't talk about my work a lot, so. And lot of people who have no idea what I do, but yeah. So, at Wells Fargo, I work on the corporate side. So I'm on the B2B side. My customers are people who work for a company that banks with Wells Fargo. So if our stuff is inaccessible, we are blocking somebody from doing their job. So we take it very seriously, and for me on my team, I am the inclusive design lead of our design system. So I spend a lot of time in the design system, vetting new components that are wanting to come in, testing patterns, trying to kill tool tips, just doing the good work. But yeah, I think I spent a lot of my time doing a ton of research to answer questions that really don't have good answers.

Shell Little:

What's better, scrollable tabs or tabs with overflow, both can be made accessible to someone who've opinions on which one's a better, those are the things I'm trying to research. Like how do you make toast notifications accessible when someone wants to put actionable items inside of them? I don't know, trying to figure that out. Maybe the answer is you can't. So I ended up doing a lot of research on patterns and design where it affects the accessibility so much. A simple decision on how a component is built, can really change things. So, I spent a lot of time dealing with different feature requests and things like that at work. And it's a blast. I really enjoy my work, especially because in my team, there's a ton of buy-in for accessibility at Wells Fargo were one of the older programs.

Shell Little:

So for example, you can't ship a product if you have critical or high accessibility defects, you're stocking your tracks. And those need to be fixed. And so there's a lot of respect where the accessible user experience team were AUX, A-U-X and were the carrot like we're there to help. And people take us up on our help. We're assigned to every project, when we're doing project work. It's the content writer, the product designer accessibility, and we're all sitting down together building products from the start. So we make sure everything is accessible and inclusive, but for me, I moved away from doing project work because I had always worked with the frameworks.

Shell Little:

But I'm realizing like if we can nip accessibility issues in the bud of the component itself and make sure that what we're releasing is accessible and especially the patterns associated with it and you can set rules on what you can and can't do with a component, but being a part of the standards writing, for me, it feels so good to be so much closer to the center. I'm in love with the idea of being able to squash problems before they get out there in the wild. It's a really great feeling for me personally, where I'm like, I shipped this new component is accessible if they follow the standards are going to be good. I don't know, it's a high, it's a great feeling.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I feel that same high, what I work on besides the systems, because you solve it in one place, you solve the fundamental issue in one place and build in some flexibility and then it just trickles to everything. And you're like, "That menu works consistently across all the products." Yeah.

Shell Little:

The scalability is addictive just knowing I can make this once and know that when Pete down the hall goes to try it, it's going to be okay. It's just a really good feeling, especially because accessibility is so close to home for me where I do get worried like, "Oh, what if they make something inaccessible? Oh my gosh, like that's someone's job. Like that's their livelihood." But knowing well, I did everything I possibly could because the component itself is accessible and we've got really great specs around it and that's all I can do. For me, that's like a sanity thing I think.

Will Butler:

Some of the platforms that allowed consumers to self-publish websites were thinking this way. I don't know if they are not and less technical, but are we seeing any improvements and does good design systems at places, like I don't know, not to name names, but the types of places like Squarespace and Shopify and these other, was WordPress's of the world?

Shell Little:

Those Wysiwyg style, CMS's are always going to be a problem because that's the hard part about design systems is you can do everything in your power to make sure it's okay and someone could totally ignore it and do something ridiculous with it. So when it comes to these Squarespaces and other programs, it's tough, I don't personally know, or I haven't heard much about their accessibility. No WordPress has been doing a really good job with their themes, making sure there's accessible themes and I know there's, I think it's Gutenberg. No, that's not right. Is that right? Gutenberg something similar.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I think it might be Gutenberg.

Shell Little:

It's something similar in old-timey. But there's an accessibility, I don't know, version of WordPress that I've heard positive things about as well. But honestly, the comical thing is like, if Squarespace and those Wysiwyg style places made their stuff accessible, I would spend so much money, like please, I don't want time or spoons to code myself a website. So if you had something that a Wysiwyg that was accessible, like I know our whole field would like jump on it just to maintain accessible sites.

Will Butler:

I really do think it's a missed business opportunity for sure. Yeah. So, it's incredible what you're doing at Wells Fargo, but what are you talking about when you go out into public and you're giving a talk?

Shell Little:

There's two different options. One, someone asked me to talk about something and option number two is something pissed me off, so I want to talk about it. I'm like, that's pretty much it like this bugs me. I need to talk about it. So, if you can really trace back to a lot of my content to like what was pissing off Shell back in 2019. But yeah, for the most part I do stick to cognitive accessibility talks. I'm really interested in pushing the standards, talking about things that are pattern list than standard lists. I really enjoy like we can't build a criterion for it, but what parameters can we build around these things to make them more accessible? And so right now, 2021, my hot talk that I'm giving is about micro-interactions.

Shell Little:

Where I did last year or two years ago, I was all about pasta and pie. So it's like getting a little bit tighter into that. I'm really interested in motion and how that works for specifically for ADHD and autism and a lot of people who have different type of information processing disabilities, rather than talking about like animation for vestibular and motion sickness. Yeah, I'm really interested in that right now, but some things, yeah, I talk about mobile accessibility a lot. I talk a lot about disability rights and disability advocacy and how to be an advocate for your co-workers who are disabled or how to be an ally, how to talk about disabilities. I always jokingly say like how to not sound like a Dick when talking about accessibility or disability in general. People are so scared, like they don't want to say the wrong thing. So I do a lot of evangelizing for that as well. But I think when I'm really pumped, it's definitely when I'm doing something nitty-gritty like really in the weeds for cognitive accessibility.

Will Butler:

Could you give us a taste of how not to sound like a Dick when you talk about assessment.

Shell Little:

Yeah, absolutely. I think the first thing that I really, really have to push forward for everybody is like disability is not a bad word. Let's stop shying away from disability because you just end up making embarrassing euphemisms, like differently able [crosstalk 00:38:59]-

Will Butler:

People with any challenges.

Shell Little:

No, no, you're not disabled. You're disable. That's like, "Okay, chill." The concept of when we use euphemisms, what it does is it pushes the notion that the word that we are using euphemism for is shameful or wrong. And there's nothing shameful and there's nothing wrong about being disabled. It is a part of who we are because when we talk about the social model of disability, where it is a mismatch between me and my skills and my environment, what I bring to the table versus what the environment brings to the table are not matching up.

Shell Little:

It's not the disabled person's fault. We're not going off of the medical model where you're broken. It's just you're experiencing barriers because the environment is not set up for you because we live in an ableist world. And when we take that notion where it's nothing wrong with being disabled, it's not your fault. They didn't build a ramp. It's not because you're in a wheelchair. It's because they didn't build a ramp when we get that notion and absorb it, then when we moved to the fact that so then now disabled, not a bad word. It's not a bad thing, people own it and that's our identity. I think that right there is a huge step for people to be like, "Oh, okay. That makes sense." We're going to talk about that and not look at someone with pity or that they're broken.

Shell Little:

It's just that their life is different than yours. They have different abilities, different impairments than you do, but that's life and it's okay. I think those are really important things. I also really talk a lot about ableism and how pervasive it is. We don't talk about it enough and then talk about inspiration porn, where we view disabled people as default inspirational. Because disabled people exist to make able-bodied people feel good about themselves, which is sad and ridiculous. So, talk about those things. I talk a lot about person first versus identity first language, like do not correct someone if they use identity first language where they say hi, I am autistic rather than I'm a person with autism. We see a lot of that where it's like people tone policing and correcting. Oh no, you're not disabled.

Shell Little:

You're great. It's like, can I be bold at the same time? I could be disabled and great when I do that, my slide has a pie chart and the pie chart is fully filled in and the square says, parts of me that are autistic where it's like, there's no part where the autism starts and the person starts. There's no chunk of person. Oh yes. My left arm is the autistic part. It is who you are as a person. So it makes sense when people want to identify like I'm autistic, it's just who I am as a person. And I'm giving people the freedom to identify how they want is important as well.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I wanted to, oh gosh, there are so many topics that you just talked about that I want to jump into, but I wanted to go back to a topic that you said you're focusing on this year of micro-interactions. I don't actually know what a micro-interaction is. What is that?

Shell Little:

It depends on who you ask.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Oh, okay.

Shell Little:

Yeah, basically a micro-interaction by definition, it is a small interaction done as a response to a user initiated action. And that can be either system based or user based. So if you are sitting on a webpage and all of a sudden it gives you a ping and it's like, "Hey, we have maintenance coming up, micro-interaction." But it's sent from the system rather than a response to you, the user say clicking a button and getting a visual response. So micro-interaction can basically be any handshake, any response, a small response between the user and the system itself. But definition changes. I had like eight or nine different definitions from eight or nine different specialists. And I was like, "Oh God, which one is the right one?" But yeah, you ask different people and you get different stuff, but that's kind of my working definition, I guess.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

You have a really catchy title for one of your talks, which is about, what is it? Micro-interactions as microaggression. I'm I including this one.

Shell Little:

Yeah. Micro-interactions is more like microaggressions.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Tell you more about that.

Shell Little:

Yeah. So, I got this notion in my head where realizing that, microaggressions exist in the real world when you get compliments that aren't compliments. You're so smart for having cognitive disabilities. It's like, thanks. I hate it. And a lot of times people who are wheelchair users, people you're so brave and it's like, "I'm just getting coffee. Like this isn't anything amazing. This is my life." So micro microaggressions exist in the physical spaces, but they also exist online. And when we think about it, microaggressions on the web are things like moving ads, auto-playing videos, things that pop up and yell at you. There are things that a user with cognitive disabilities needs to protect themselves from and basically what these microaggressions tell your users is they're not welcomed.

Shell Little:

The internet can be downright hostile for people with cognitive disabilities. So from that notion, I brought a talk just around the concept of when you aren't responsible with your design, you are leaving people out and you are creating environments that make other people, they just don't feel welcome. And there are plenty of examples, be it overlays that are blocking people from using different websites or be it giant moving ads or giant moving parallax scrolling. It doesn't matter, just the way the design decisions are made, you are excluding people and maybe also causing harm depending.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

And that's so frustrating too, because all of those design decisions, they're like sacrificing the user in favor of more ad revenue, in favor of more marketing of their own products, in favor of something that looks cool and flashy, and we'll get on some top design award website of the year. But ultimately the people who are your actual customers, the users of your website are suffering from it. It's so strange that there are so many dark patterns out there on the web.

Shell Little:

Yes. And I can't push enough the fact that, like I've said it before, when talking to you guys but when you have dark patterns, when you have deceptive patterns and attention hijacking your users with cognitive disabilities are disproportionately affected more. And it's more dangerous for them to be on the web when you have these deceptive and using human psychology against us. They're more susceptible like we are as people and that's a dangerous space to be in where you have a group of people who can fall victim trying to cancel out of a subscription service, but you get tricked into buying more those kinds of things. They're scary, that's for sure.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

What's the most egregious one you've seen?

Shell Little:

Like deceptive patterns?

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Will Butler:

Yeah.

Shell Little:

Yeah. I would definitely say, there were websites that I found when I was doing... I did a talk 11 YTO 2019 I think, I wrote it overnight because Jamie and I couldn't speak. So Billy Gregory was like, "Hey, can you give us a cognitive talk, " and like a totally sane person. I was like, "Absolutely, I'll go back to my hotel and write a brand new talk tonight." But when I was doing research for that, which has been keeping tabs on crappy patterns before that, but the one that really blew me out of the water was, there was a site where they were quick to give feedback and they wouldn't allow you to send in the feedback unless you had four stars or higher, like they would disable everything. So you had to do four stars or higher, then you had access to the comment box and the ability to send it in. And I was just like, "How brutal is this?" Where-

Will Butler:

That's dark.

Shell Little:

... yeah, they would say, you can only give us feedback if it's good. And even if the the review was scathing, they're still going to get that four-star at minimum.

Will Butler:

Have any of you seen Made for Love on HBO?

Shell Little:

I have not.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

No.

Will Butler:

It's this new kind of like tech dystopian comedy. And I won't spoil it for anyone who will miss the joke, but yeah, this woman is forced into rating aspects of her life. And it's pretty dark, if the system doesn't let you be honest with how you really feel, you know?

Shell Little:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Will Butler:

Yeah. You mentioned accessibility, Toronto, and some of these other places you're giving talks and access you and all these commands, especially now that everything is recovering from the pandemic, but also not really going back to in person quite yet. It's so important that we learn as a community about accessibility beyond just WCAG. Where do people go right now for education and for community? What are the great places to go learn in your opinion?

Shell Little:

For me, I am a huge, huge advocate of Twitter because there is such a fantastic, brilliant, robust disability community on Twitter. And there are vocal and they have opinions and tapping into ADHD Twitter, tapping into autism Twitter, like tapping into chronic illness Twitter. There are so many amazing people doing so many amazing things and that the resources being passed around. So whenever I give talks, I always make sure to put a slide at the end. And I'm like, these are the humans you should be following and a lot of them are on Twitter. It's a space where someone who has been disenfranchised their entire life, their tweet is just as important as somebody else's.

Shell Little:

They have a chance to make community that maybe they couldn't have previously, especially people who have more rare disabilities, like being able to connect globally is amazing. So, that's where I would say people are going to learn, and that's where I learned so much. I do not give a talk without at least one screenshot of a tweet of somebody saying like, exactly what I'm saying. I'm like, this pattern is bad. And then I'm like, and here's a real human on Twitter saying this pattern is bad. I've literally told design studios that I've worked with where I'm like, go on Twitter and look up your name, look up the name of your product and go see [crosstalk 00:49:44]-

Will Butler:

I've been doing that recently too in our conversations with people working in the field. I'm like, well, did you look up your company name or your product name?" It's pretty remarkable. It's out there on Twitter.

Shell Little:

Yeah, really. And I always say, if you're able-bodied users are complaining about it, if you're able-bodied users are confused by it, then you've lost your cognitive users. Like they're gone. Any of those pain points, I find this kind of annoying, that kind of annoying thing as a showstopper for somebody with a cognitive disability. So listen to the able-bodied people in the regard of getting that, like if you're hearing a bunch of people saying the same things knowing that that's disproportionately affecting your users with cognitive disabilities is always a great thing too. Obviously it's more about like canary in the Mineshaft and then that's like a secret method, but in general, listening to actual words of people saying, Hey, I couldn't use this app because it was so overwhelming, like that kind of content is out there.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

And Twitter is kind of the place where people are putting that because to your earlier point about that terrible dark pattern of forcing someone to rate something, four stars to give feedback. A lot of websites feedback forms are inaccessible. A lot of the direct ways to give constructive feedback on something are not easily available to everyone, like not keyboard accessible. And so Twitter is the place where everyone is talking out in the open for better or worse, but usually for better, because I've seen so many cool accessibility, innovations and communities and things come out of just like one simple tweet. It's amazing. Yeah.

Shell Little:

Oh, absolutely.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Do you have any hashtags that you'd recommend people follow?

Shell Little:

Oh, absolutely. My favorite one is #AbledsAreWeird. That's a great one. It's just a really great experience to read. Disabled people being just baffled by how weird able-bodied people can be sometimes and the stuff they say. That's a great one. If you want to get more into politics, #CripTheVote is a great one as well. There are so many amazing advocacy groups out there fighting and working day in and day out to try to make sure we as disabled people have basic human rights, because those could be taken away. Unfortunately in our society, we have to have people fight for that. So I definitely think AbledsAreWeird, CripTheVote, actually, Autistic is another really great one where there's an interesting, and I don't need to speak too much of it as someone who's not autistic myself.

Shell Little:

But there is an interesting balance between people who are actually autistic and people who are loved ones of someone who is autistic, making sure that there's a space for the people who are actually autistic is important. So that hashtag is really fantastic as well, especially when you realize there are people with autism who are professors and PhD candidates and managers and business owners, they're not just children, that's all we really see in the media is just children, but there are amazing shockingly adults who have autism as well. So it's great to see what they have to say on Twitter and what their lived experiences are like. Those are really, really great. And then AskADHD is a good one too.

Shell Little:

I use that one a little bit less because my feed is already so much ADHD. I don't have to search for it, but AskADHD is a good one to hear from the ADHD community. And people are like, "Hey, this weird thing that I do, do you do it too?" Everybody's like, "Yes, I do." That's a really good thing.

Will Butler:

Wow.

Shell Little:

That's been fun to experience just the ADHD community is getting pretty, pretty hefty on Twitter, which is really exciting.

Will Butler:

That's awesome. Actually autistic thing is fascinating to me because it strikes me that the family of people with autism, like they're obviously, some of the most vocal and fierce advocates and allies. But those people often can also really step in it, I imagine.

Shell Little:

Yes, absolutely. There's a really interesting balance between, typically it's autistic parents or autism parents. So parents of a child or maybe met multiple children with autism taking up space where sometimes that should be somebody who is actually autistic, like a panel about autism. You don't need to have a mom there. Like you should actually have an adult human who actually has autism, not somebody who's experienced it secondhand. And that's true, you wouldn't put someone up, like you're on a diversity panel, you have a white person who's like, I have a black friend or I raised a black child. It's like, that's important. But this conversation is for people who have lived experience and it's time to hear more from them because we've heard from a lot of able-bodied people for disabled people, but now it's time to let people speak for themselves.

Will Butler:

Couldn't agree.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Yeah.

Will Butler:

Shell, before we start wrapping up, we have to talk to you about gaming because-

Shell Little:

Oh, yeah.

Will Butler:

... something you're passionate about. Yeah, I don't know, how to phrase it, but where does all this intersect with cognitive accessibility?

Shell Little:

Yeah, absolutely. So, I'm a big gamer in general. Just a big nerd grew up on everything in Nintendo and when actually 11 YTO 2018, I think is the first year I spoke. We had Ian Hamilton and Tara Voelker, were both speaking, and I saw them on the speaking register and I was like, "I don't care what happens, but I'm leaving" Like, I don't care what I have to do. What shameless, awkward mouth breathing I have to do. I will leave this conference knowing these two humans.

Will Butler:

We said tell folks who they are as well.

Shell Little:

Oh yeah. Ian Hamilton, he's a consultant for game accessibility, one of the best in the world for game accessibility. And then Tara Voelker is I think she's at Xbox doing accessibility, but I think she just had a title change, but one of the heads of accessibility, or if not the head of accessibility at Xbox. And I was very much like, holy cannoli. I got to know these people. I met them, got to talk to them and next thing I know Ian and Tara invited me to speak at GA conference, which is game accessibility conference. So that year I spoke at CSUN and then the next week. So I flew down from Seattle to California at CSUN flew back to Seattle for like two days, went back to California for GA conf. and fell in love with the community fell in love with, oh, I just met so many amazing people that I'm still friends with today.

Shell Little:

But I'm really focused on why I didn't consider myself a gamer for so many years. I thought I sucked at games and I was like, "Oh, I'm just not a good gamer." So I was player number two, because I'm the youngest of three. So player two here. So I consumed a lot of games through others, and not playing them myself because I would get overwhelmed and I couldn't get this level because it was too overwhelming for me. And I just thought I sucked at games, but then as an adult realizing like, no, there are barriers in games, cognitive barriers that make games overwhelming or overstimulating or under stimulating. So just kind of started digging into that concept. I gave a talk, called finding a sweet spot between bored and overwhelmed and just the concept of how can we allow users and gamers to choose their own adventure when it comes to overwhelming information.

Shell Little:

So examples like HUD, like what can you put on the HUD in terms of settings? What can you do to make sure that you just aren't overstimulated by how much is flashing and blinking and going? So, when it comes to cognitive accessibility in general, I talk a lot about how there are things that you wouldn't think benefit cognitive, but they do. And a great example is like captions and subtitles and the way that you communicate. So in a game where you're communicating to other players, I am a huge advocate for like spellchecker for I have dyslexia. So, I can't spell and when I'm communicating as an adult to other adults, it's not the most fun thing in the world when you are struggling to spell words. So just talking about different ways, like captions, incredibly important for people with cognitive disabilities going through those kinds of things that you wouldn't necessarily think about, but it is, being able to pause a video game is also a huge accessibility thing.

Shell Little:

Having that when the user does pause the game, making sure that the music quiets down, making sure that everything is a little bit like giving a user a break because they could be experiencing sensory processing disorder and not able to see like me when I get overwhelmed and video games. So things like shrinking HUD, when you get in a video game, normally first person shooters you'll take damage and it will show damage by shrinking what you're looking at. And sometimes the screen will crack and there's like blood on the corners. And my joke is that like my brain already does that when I'm overwhelmed, like you don't need to do it on the screen on top of it. Because I already can't see, I'm already freaking out. So, just like and basically what it all boils down to and what a lot of cognitive accessibility boils down to is give your users options.

Shell Little:

Like that's it, it's not super epic, but allow users to choose what they want. I talk a lot about Spoon Theory, which is the concept that we are all given a certain amount of spoons throughout our day. It is a concept coined by Christine Miserandino, and what's great about it is it's distinctly for disabled individuals. So it's just more expensive emotionally, physically, and financially to be disabled in enable list world. And the big concept is that our abilities change throughout the day, what you can do at nine is different than what you can do at 9:30 PM. And with video games, knowing that people are going to play after work or are going to play after a long day of getting yelled at, or it doesn't matter if someone needs to be able to sit down and play a game the way they want to play it.

Shell Little:

And that's just the hope is that, Microsoft and Xbox always says like when everyone plays, we all win and it's true. So that's kind of my focus for cognitive stuff. I do a lot less speaking in gaming because it's kind of a side hobby, but I always love when I'm able to come in and give talks for cognitive because people have a good handle on a lot of the other spaces. But when it comes to cognitive, I'm like, Hey, allowing your user to change the colors. So they're not all blue because people like me who have brain injuries, the blue light really hurts my eyes and people being like, I never knew that, oh my gosh, thank you so much. It's just those aha moments. I feel like a lot of studios, a lot of places are hungry for those pieces of information. They're what do we need to do? Tell us we're going to do it. There's a lot of people doing really, really great work in accessibility for gaming at a lot of big studios and a lot of little studios too.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I'm curious, because it is, so as to not overwhelm the user, you want to provide these options for customization. But then sometimes I encounter like a settings menu that itself is so overwhelming because there are so many things that you can configure. So how do you find that sweet spot between customizable but not so customizable that the customization experience is overwhelming and turns people off? That seems like a difficult balance to achieve.

Shell Little:

Totally. And for me, I'm a big Minecraft player. And when you get into Minecraft Java and get into the settings and then especially when you start putting like plugins and add-ons that settings get like and less, and you're just down a hole. And especially when you're like, I have no idea what this does and I'm afraid to turn it on. So, I definitely agree where there needs to be a good balance when it comes to settings, because there is potentially a lot of things that's customizable. And I think what that has to do like, the information architecture and hierarchy structure of settings is a whole field if you ask me. That's a whole field, but I know a lot of different studios are doing research on how they can group settings, like do we make an accessibility settings or do we spread out those settings throughout?

Shell Little:

If you ask Jade Ray, they are one of the amazing accessibility specialists in gaming, they work for Ubisoft now. If you ask them, they would say there shouldn't be an accessibility settings area because everything is for accessibility. And I think that's a really cool concept. I see it both ways, but with gaming do we stick in all of the sliders for subtitles? Ubisoft found like 75% of people didn't turn the subtitles off when they were put on automatically. Everybody used them. So putting settings into changed subtitles, like do able-bodied people who don't need subtitles, but maybe like them, they can make changes too. So it's an interesting balance between what is an accessibility setting? If you think about it, everybody is helped by a lot of those things.

Shell Little:

But I know some video games that are fighting games can be turned, just sounds. So for people who are blind, you're able to crank up the sound effects and just play the game based on audio cues. Maybe those settings would be something specific, but other than that, I feel like there's so many different facets of human anatomy and humans in general where a lot of these accessibility settings help everyone. So I don't know that was a lot of rambling, but that's my accessibility setting stuff.

Will Butler:

But no, it's incredible. And yeah. You just named so many people who we need to have on the show-

Shell Little:

Oh , absolutely.

Will Butler:

... to talk more about gaming stuff because that world is growing so quickly.

Shell Little:

They're doing great stuff. And I have so much respect for them because gaming is so intrinsic in our culture and the feeling of not being welcomed and not being allowed to be a part of culture is brutal. So by working really hard, like I know Bryce Johnson and his team at Xbox worked on the adaptive controller, allowing more people to be able to play, but then let's also focus on the accessibility of the game itself so that everyone can play and everyone can be a part of culture. Like when a big game comes out, it's all you hear about when the last of us part two came out, like it's everywhere. And to know that you as a disabled person can join the conversation because you do have access that's everything.

Will Butler:

Well, I have a feeling-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

[crosstalk 01:04:27] Oh, go ahead.

Will Butler:

I have a feeling we could talk for about three and a half more hours. And I think, despite the fact that you're not, I wouldn't call you like a industry, old timer you might take the prize for one of the most encyclopedic guests we've had on the show, in terms of your awareness of resources. What are you doing to help package up all this stuff for posterity? Shell you have so much information to share with the world and you have really an ability to spit it out pretty quickly. What's the plan? What are you going to do more speaking? Do you have a website? Can you tell folks where to find you?

Shell Little:

Yeah, for sure. So right now you can only really find me on Twitter. I'm on LinkedIn, but all I tell people is good luck. Good luck on LinkedIn. Yeah, I definitely speaking is something I'm going to continue doing as much as possible. It's a certain point like I want to leave room for other people. There's people who are coming into this space who are talking about cognitive, want to leave room for them, but definitely will continue speaking. But something I am working on that I'm really excited about it's in its infancy. So, don't hold me too close to a timeline, but I am working on classes, little webinar videos that can be consumed. There'll be on a website with a URL I don't have yet I'm supposed to purchase.

Shell Little:

But the intention is to have classes that are available whenever, about a lot of different subjects, like intro to accessibility, intro to design accessibility, intro to inclusive design because inclusive designs scary sometimes. When you come into inclusive design from a universal design background, like I did, it's scary. When you think about trying to tell people, go to the outside of the bell graph, go to the fringe cases, which is something I don't love as a disabled person myself, but inclusive design can be kind of spooky. So, how does inclusive design tie into cognitive accessibility, those kinds of topics mobile accessibility, just a bunch of junk that I've gathered along the way.

Shell Little:

I really want others to benefit from the crap that I had to go through. If I teach others the things that I had to sludge for, then it was worth it. And I think that's kind of where my brain is at. So I really want to give back. And I think for me, because I don't write very well. I think I have one article out there which is Sarah Higley dragged me through, like I give her the credit. She basically wrote it.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

So like 24 accessibility.

Shell Little:

24 accessible. Yeah. Oh my gosh. I'm not a writer for articles, but I do enjoy speaking. So the idea of being able to do videos and classes, it's really exciting to me. So that's my next venture I'll be working on throughout the year. I will have a URL up eventually it'll be on my Twitter. So, when it's there, you can find it.

Will Butler:

Shell Little on Twitter.

Shell Little:

Yep. That's me. Yeah-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

[crosstalk 01:07:26]-

Shell Little:

... try to think of anything else. That's it for me.

Will Butler:

Well, you're always welcome back Shell. It's just amazing to talk to you. Cordelia, did you have any final thoughts or questions before we tie things up?

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

I'm excited to watch your video series when it comes out and I just as accessibility professionals, we need to practice what we preach and like teach, put these materials out in as many different accessible formats as possible. So I'm really excited to have more video content out there about accessibility. So thanks in advance for making that Shell, can't wait to watch and learn more about inclusive design from you.

Shell Little:

I'm excited. So I appreciate the positive feedback. You guys are like you're hearing it here first hot off the presses. Here on 13 Letters.

Will Butler:

We love breaking news here on 13 letters.

Shell Little:

Yeah, we can do. Breaking news.

Will Butler:

[crosstalk 01:08:21]-

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Letterheads, we got a special announcement for you. We call the listeners letterheads.

Shell Little:

I love that.

Will Butler:

Yeah. We like it.

Shell Little:

Yes. I agree. It's cute as heck.

Will Butler:

Well, Shell thanks again for coming on the show. And we'll all be following along on Twitter.

Shell Little:

Sounds good. Thank you guys so much for having me. It was a blast. Hopefully I said something coherent throughout this, we'll listen back and we'll see.

Will Butler:

Yeah. A couple of things.

Cordelia McGee-Tubb:

Or we could read the transcript, but yeah, you said a lot of coherent things, so thank you so much for joining us today.

Will Butler:

Thank you for listening to our interview with Shell Little and some cool news. Be My Eyes has been nominated for 2021 apple design award. We're extremely excited and excited to see what happens at WWDC in June. If you haven't signed up for Be My Eyes yet, or if you think your company might make a good partner, send us an email at 13Letters@bemyeyes.com. And tune in next week for more accessibility interviews and dispatches from the world of inclusive design. Thanks.