My Summer Read 2021.

Today, my summer read arrived. It might not make it into Richard and Judies summer top 10 BUT I have been waiting for this for the last few months. It’s time to put my feet up and enjoy several happy geeky hours of reading, Practical Web Inclusion and Accessibility by Ashley Firth.

Ashley Firth is the head of Front-end development and Accessibility at Octopus Energy. Ashley and Octopus Energy have won several awards for their digital products and approach to website accessibility.

Why would anyone be interested in website accessibility?

Well, this is quite a personal one for me. I am dyslexic and also have an issue with light. I am quite a sensory person and my personal experience online highlights that there are some websites that are far more accessible than others!

The Octopus Energy website, for me, is a really good example of simple, clear, and accessible website design. It doesn’t try to oversell and offers really straightforward products that are easily accessible.

The Acknowledgments really are really touching!!

Schools have only just finished and it’s quite a hefty book so I have just read the Acknowledgments at the front. There are lots of touching thank you messages to Ashley’s family which I love. Ashley’s humility shines through here. The section which defines why I have ended up reading this book instead of some crime thriller relates to Octopus Energy.

Let me just give you an extract;

Octopus Energy has supported me in my pursuit of an inclusive Web ever since it was founded, and it is quite frankly the best place I can think of to work. To everyone in the octo-family, thank you for making it fun, accepting, and inspiring to work there very every day.

Firstly I would like to thank Greg Jackson for giving up the 15 minutes of his time it took to convince me to join Octopus and for numerous weeks at the start of the company’s life he gave me to build accessible standards, simply because I told him it was “the right thing to do:”. 

As a customer why does any of this matter?

We all consumer energy. It is something we can’t live without and to be honest, I expect more than a company that wants me to sign up via direct debit for something I don’t understand.  Energy can also have the biggest impact on our own CO2 emissions. I really want to understand this and I want others to as well!! Hence, my own website and loving this book!!

Octopus recently partnered with the National Literacy Trust and as a result, created the bill explainer which hopefully will help more people understand their energy bill.

I am no front-end developer. I am just a self-taught WordPress geek (that’s the platform I make my website on) who likes to blog and if I can make facts simple I love that too. I’ll enjoy this book. I might not understand all of it but I will give it a try and implement anything I think I can!!

Thanks, Ashley for all the work you do to make the web accessible to all. I am sure your mum is delighted to have this book dedicated to her. What an achievement!

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