Things 5 & 6: Diversity and Accessibility

My Thoughts Around Diverse Representation Online

I remember when Apple came out with the different skin tone emojis to show cultural representation in iOS 8. I remember there being a big uproar about it, but after the first few months following the big decision in 2015, I’ve heard nothing more about it. These articles were a very interesting read. I don’t think I realized how much the skin tones of the emojis affected how people of color thought about their representation online. When I use the emojis that look like humans, I tend to just go with the one that looks most like me: pale skin and dark hair. I would’ve thought that most people did the same thing and just don’t think anything else about it. But, obviously, that is not the case. Not only did the skin tones change as variations of the white emoji, or the “default” as some people might say, but there was also a change in cultural representation, including a Chinese boy emoji, or an emoji depicting a Middle Eastern man wearing a turban. I feel that this was a poor decision of Apple because, even though it wasn’t done maliciously, it came across the wrong way because it seems as if it was done in response to the outcry against the different emoji skin tones.

I think using Bitmoji as a way to convey emotions online is a good alternative to emojis, as that was the purpose of them to begin with. Bitmoji gives you a blank slate and gives you an opportunity to create yourself in your own image to show people on the internet. That way, there’s no confusion as to how you feel about your own representation, and there’s no confusion as to how companies think of cultures other than the societal default: a white male.

The Importance of Online Accessibility

After posting my web address into the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, I saw a few errors and alerts that I wouldn’t have even thought to be an issue with the way people could access my page. There was an alert about how a portion of text was underlined. This can cause issues with accessibility because underlined text normally means linked text, so someone might click on the text thinking it’s a link. Another issue that the site found was the low contrast of colors on my website. This poses an issue to people with colorblindness or that have bad eyesight. It can be hard to read texts if the colors are too similar to each other.

After reading the articles provided and analyzing my personal website, I can look at websites more clearly and identify what pieces could be improved by the owner in order to increase accessibility to their page. The internet is taking over the world, so it’s a good idea to let everyone have a chance to access it easily.

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