Flywheels distill complicated sets of business processes down to the most critical inflection points, enhancing stakeholder focus.

Simplified flywheel for amazon. More customers leads to more suppliers leads to greater scale leads to greater efficiency leads to lower prices and back to more customers
Simplified flywheel for amazon. More customers leads to more suppliers leads to greater scale leads to greater efficiency leads to lower prices and back to more customers
A simplified estimated example of an Amazon flywheel

A business flywheel is an alternative to the more traditional “funnel” that graphically portrayed processes must follow to get and keep customers.

If any of the infection points break or degrade, the flywheel positive feedback loop derails.

Stakeholders need to focus on activities supporting the flywheel, prioritizing elements that keep the inflection points from breaking.

If you take the Amazon sales model flywheel above and adapt it to the accessibility world, it looks like this.


Believe me when I say that for all underrepresented communities, including disability, actions speak WAY louder than words.

Eight people of different races and genders holding hands up in the air
Eight people of different races and genders holding hands up in the air

Most organizations want to claim they are inclusive.

You don’t find many that proudly shout publicly that they intentionally exclude underrepresented minorities, such as people with disabilities.

Despite this, there are many actions that employees at these same companies take which completely undermine corporate disability inclusion claims. Those ableist, uninclusive employee actions speak much, much louder than the organization’s words.

Not calling out ableism.

You automatically lose your disability ally card if you are present for ableism, but never call it out. In order to do this, allies must be able to accurately identify what is ableist. …


Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” changed my life.

Brick wall with the word BLINK in allcaps in blue neon sans serif shadow text
Brick wall with the word BLINK in allcaps in blue neon sans serif shadow text

I am a quintessential “thin-slicer,” a personality trait that Malcolm Gladwell thoroughly explored in his book, Blink.

Thin-slicing describes a person’s ability to find patterns in events based only on “thin slices,” or narrow windows, of experience. The most interesting aspect of thin-slicing to me is that thin-slicer’s conclusions can be as accurate, or even more accurate, than judgments based on significantly more information. Thin-slicers can provide rapid inferences about the state, characteristics, or details of an individual or situation with tiny amounts of information.

Thin-slicing is effectively a super, highly honed, very accurate instinct. All good, right? Where could…


AI-based captioning software is becoming more prevalent thanks to pandemic WFH. But do the people who need them most find them helpful?

Zoom closed captioning button and notification
Zoom closed captioning button and notification

In the first part of this article, I explored whether bad image descriptions were better than no image descriptions. After consulting with many blind users, I didn’t find a single one who said they would rather have bad image descriptions.

Now I’m applying the same question in the context of captioning — are bad captions better than no captions at all?

I don’t have to go far to find real-life experience. My daughter has a moderately severe bilateral congenital hearing loss. I have an acquired autoimmune hearing loss and a wicked case of tinnitus from decades of NSAID use because…


More than 125K global websites use overlays rather than fixing their accessibility bugs. AI-generated alt-text used by overlays is not 100 % reliable.

Customer service stoplight chart with red sad face, yellow neutral face, and green happy face

This is the first part of a two-part article. The second part, “Are bad captions better than no captions” can be read here.

In previous articles on graphical descriptions (known as alt text), I described the importance of accurate and succinct alt-text to people with disabilities who have vision loss.

I was recently sent a link to a public web page from one of the overlay companies that commented favorably on automatic, AI-based alt-text generation. …


Anyone who thinks that we do lives in a monster privilege bubble

Wooden hourglass on a counter against a white brick wall
Wooden hourglass on a counter against a white brick wall
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

By itself, the statement “we all have the same 24 hours” is an empty maxim. Commonly followed up with by “What you do with it is up to you,” or “Successful people just sacrifice more than you,” the statement turns from fatuous into aggressive, blaming, cringe-worthy, condescending, and in many cases, discriminatory.

I am a person with several disabilities. One of the things that people with disabilities inherently lose access to when we become disabled is that we don’t have the same 24 hours as everyone else does. The disability time thief sees to that.


If you ask a disability activist, the answer to this question is more complicated than you might think.

Black directors chair, camera slate, and megaphone in a spotlight on a wooden floor
Black directors chair, camera slate, and megaphone in a spotlight on a wooden floor

Media representation of people with disabilities is at an all-time high. But the numbers don’t tell a complete story. For starters, that “all-time high” means that now 1 in 4 characters with a disability are authentically played by an actor with that disability. This means 3/4 are being played by actors who are, well, pretending.

Most people with disabilities were thrilled to hear last month that NBC Universal had vowed to audition more actors with disabilities. But increasing the opportunities is only part of the story. …


This training will quickly teach you how to produce and consume essential documentation on product accessibility.

Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display
Man wearing headphones with laptop in front of him with hands on refreshable Braille display

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier global advocate for technology, representing the world’s most innovative companies. ITI promotes public policies and industry standards that advance competition and innovation worldwide.

One of the things that ITI produces is the ACR/VPAT template.

Are the terms ACR and VPAT interchangeable?

No. Before Section 508 harmonized with the WCAG standard, there was only the VPAT, and it was a standalone document. Since the harmonization, what used to be the standalone VPAT has been integrated into a larger report, the ACR. Hence, the use of the term ACR/VPAT.

What accessibility standards are included in an ACR/VPAT?


It’s *finally* gotten harder to hide discriminatory comments.

Blank video recording frame with the recording light on
Blank video recording frame with the recording light on

Pre-COVID, they were called “Hot Mic” incidents. Situations where people didn’t realize their microphone was live, and they said something they clearly shouldn’t, and probably wouldn't have if they knew the microphone was on. Sometimes it was just embarrassing, but sometimes people lost their jobs.

A few years ago, hot mic incidents occurred most frequently either on live TV broadcasts (news and sports were common) or political events.


The short answer is “absolutely.” The long answer, of course, is more complicated than that.

First of all, disabilities are almost always thought of in either the medical or legal contexts. The CDC’s definition of a disability, which is medical, is two-prong:

1. Any condition of the body or mind (impairment)

2. That makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions)

The US federal government’s definition of disability is more detailed. For federal regulation analysis (housing, social security, etc., which is legal), someone is disabled if they:

1. ha[ve] a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one…

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store