Access for All

Accessibility at The Carpentries

We value accessibility as core, and create multiple avenues for participation where all people can learn and contribute.

One of The Carpentries strategic focus areas is to intentionally incorporate equity, inclusion, and accessibility to support a diverse community.

To do this, we teamed up with Understood, whose mission is to shape workplaces to be inclusive for people with disabilities, to better understand where The Carpentries could improve accessibility for the community and what we are already doing well. Understood evaluated organisational statements and policies, employee processes (hiring, onboarding, workflows), and observed a three-day Software Carpentry workshop.

What we learned:

There are many things The Carpentries is already doing well and will continue to do. In a broader sense, we are proud that we are an open-minded, flexible, and purpose-driven workplace. There is a very intentional approach to equity, inclusion, and accessibility at The Carpentries and we are very open to feedback and excited to make changes. Some specific things that were highlighted in the report:

  • Using words like “inclusive” and “accessibility” prominently in The Carpentries’ vision, mission, and values statements signals commitment to these principles.

  • Listing the desired outcomes and goals for how each team considers equity, inclusion, and accessibility (EIA) holds team members externally accountable to these goals.

  • Referring to core values like “inclusive of all” and “access for all” and prominently stating the organisation’s accessibility statement signal The Carpentries’ commitment to these values.

  • Offering accommodations during the interview process, creates an environment where it is ok to ask for accommodations and is common practice at The Carpentries.

  • Anonymization of applications before consideration minimises bias.

  • Using ReCAPTCHA in the website creates accessibility in distinguishing between humans and robots.

  • Form Fields are labelled outside of the text box to make them accessible to screen readers.

  • During workshops - breakout rooms are offered to allow participants to catch up if they fall behind.

  • Automatic closed captions are encouraged during all workshops to support those who may be deaf or hard of hearing.

  • Instructors are encouraged to use headsets for better audio quality.

While we are incredibly proud of the things that we are doing well, we also know there is always room for improvement to make The Carpentries more accessible. Areas where we can improve include our hiring practices, organisational awareness for accommodations, and auditing our virtual spaces for accessibility.

Some specific things we will be working on include:

  • Creating an EIA statement that specifically mentions disabilities.
  • Creating space on our website dedicated to Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.
  • Drafting a clear accommodations policy for Core Team members at The Carpentries.
  • Assigning a contact person for all accommodation requests.
  • Posting all job openings on at least one disability job board.
  • Making job posting details clear and concise.
  • Adding plenty of breaks to new hire onboarding.
  • Reviewing web content regularly for accessibility - making sure labels are not orphaned, contrast is appropriate, and that content is accessible to screen readers.
  • Sharing workshop materials with participants at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Ensuring all teaching materials have alternative text on images.

Read more about the Workplaces Assessment and Action plan.

Whats next:

The Carpentries will continue to work with Understood to finalise the implementation of recommendations. We have set up a GitHub Repository so the community can follow along with the specific changes we are planning to make.

Coming up on 13 and 14 of September join us for a Acc-athon, Community Discussion where we will learn about Alternative Text for images, why it is important and how to create them and then spend some time working through images in Carpentries Curricula. Sign up on the Etherpad!

Dialogue & Discussion

Comments must follow our Code of Conduct.

Edit this page on Github