Have you ever heard the phrase “The more I practiced, the luckier I got?” Well, that is how I feel right now. I have been working really hard recently on some relatively simple reporting code. There is a report query page and a report output page. Due to the nature of the application, both pages are written in classic ASP and run on a Windows 2k server.
The problem has been that I have been trying to improve the accessibility of the output for screen-reader users. In the US, the term is 508 user, so it may be something different for you depending on where you are. We did some accessibility testing yesterday. While we passed just fine, I took some of the suggestions from the accessibility group and put them into my reporting code. I resubmitted the changes to the group this morning. About 1:00 pm local time, I got an email from the head of the accessibility group calling me a GENIUS! (which, of course, I am) for having researched the appropiate html output and put it in appropiately. He said that I am the only developer that in this government department to do this correctly. Not only did this note go to me, but it went to several people further up the org chart here. This can't hurt! I hope that this is remembered when I ask for more money in the future.
Why is the fact that this guy sent this out so amazing? Well first off, no one ever says anything good about anyone else. That is just human nature. The big issue though is that the first time I ever set down with this group, by the end of accessibility exam, they looked like the village people from an old 1930s horror flick where they are coming after the monster with pitchforks and torches. I barely escaped with my life. By the time that I had gotten back over to my group, the project manager had already recieved a call about all of the accessibility problems with the application (an app that I took over from someone else). While I can't fix a lot of the problems due to budgets, I have made sure that my new code is as accessible as possible.
Today, I got the payoff for all the hard coding time. I worked hard, practiced hard, developed hard, and I got lucky. Funny how it all goes together.