After six amazing years at RNIB I have decided that it is time to move on and try my hand elsewhere. It’s been both challenging and rewarding working as the Senior Web Accessibility Consultant in such a diverse organisation and I have been fortunate enough to work on some fantastic projects with equally amazing people.

As my career has evolved I have come to see web accessibility as a key piece of a bigger picture leading me to expanded my interests into making websites work for international audiences, mobiles platforms and other browsing technologies. Hence the reason for this blog coming about; I wanted to discuss web accessibility within the bigger picture and not as an add-on or plug-in.

When I started looking elsewhere it was hard to envisage making a move from charity to corporate sector, I wanted somewhere where I felt my beliefs would not be compromised and where I could have an opportunity to be part of something that will contribute to wider change and a better web. All very worthy I know (she says shaking her new shiny Norwegian tambourine) but that’s what is important to me.

Introducing Opera

As of next week I will be joining the team at Opera Software as their new Web Evangelist. As Opera is all about web standards and the open web this move allows me to do all that I have wanted and more. Additionally I will also be joining a crack team that I’m really looking forward to working with including:

  • Chris Mills, Developer Relations Community Manager, keeper of the Web Standards Curriculum (a must read) and incredibly tall person who very sweetly bends his knees when he talks to me
  • Bruce Lawson, Web Evangelist and leading UK accessibility advocate who’s jokes are legendary (and you have to laugh at because he is a purple belt)
  • David Story, Chief Web Opener, and keeper of Dragonfly, Opera’s developer tool
  • Andreas Bovens, Web Evangelist and Japanese copyright expert based in Japan
  • Cheah Zi Bin, Web Evangelist, who I’ll be spending October with on the China leg of the Opera University Tours
  • Lawrence Eng, Product Research Manager, who talks to people and figures out how to make My Opera rock

What we do

The one question that people keep asking me is “What does a Web Evangelist do?”. I’ll be able to tell you more after I’ve started but some of the sorts of things I’ll be looking at doing are:

  • Working with web developers to help promote the adoption of web standards
  • Working with standards bodies such as W3C to input into guidelines and standards such as WAI ARIA, HTML 5, accessibility and cross overs with the mobile web
  • Blogging on the Opera Developer Network blog and writing articles for Dev Opera and other websites and publications
  • Talking about the world’s most popular mobile platforms Opera Mobile and Opera Mini
  • Conference speaking around the world

What’s really great is that Opera will also support me in my work leading the WaSP International Liaison Group as well as participating in WAI’s Education and Outreach working group. I’ll be based in London but on the road more often than not travelling the world talking to folk about standards in general, accessibility and mobile web best practices.

And finally…

I will miss the Web Access Team terribly. They’re a talented, passionate bunch who for a team of (soon to be) three are doing amazing things. The team is stronger now than it has ever been and I know will go from strength to strength. I’ve learnt a lot from them and other people at RNIB as well as our clients and their teams. Hat tip to all of them but especially Bim Egan who has taught me more than she will ever know.

Hopefully see you all on the road.