BlackFriday (1)

My name is Kinga Witko and I would like to tell you about accessibility testing, how important it is and about the event that revealed some completely new layers of testing for me.

Accessibility is what we should focus on in all software application – no matter if they are web, mobile or desktop. They should be accessible for everyone, especially for people with certain mental or physical disabilities, because they are not supposed to be limited by the software.

Do you remember – there is over 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, who might be the users of your application – either web or mobile. Basically, it depends on your testing, if they would feel comfortable with this applications or not.

To make my point, I would like to tell you about and event that has really made
a difference for me.

This short story is about discovering new fields of software testing. It is also about brave woman, who wants to use software as any other person, but most of the time she can’t. From time to time, she feels excluded, because someone forget about her needs during development or testing.

About a year ago, when I had a bit of experience as a software tester, especially in
a mobile testing field,  I had a chance to spend some time with a distant relative of mine – a fantastic person. She works from home, using her PC, regardless her visual impairment, and she uses different software at her PC with help of Ivona (text-to-speech tool). She also loves to take part in bowling tournaments and is very active person.
What is so special about her – she also cannot see. I just never realized that she uses
a smartphone as well.
I’ve literally faced by biases.
It was such surprising for me that a person, who cannot see, uses touch screen device, rather than old school Nokia, what is more – not only for talking to people but also as everyone does that. Imagine my surprise, when I saw her using buses timetable app, complaining about how horrible these apps are.

We had a quick chit chat and I said to her –  I don’t want to be rude, but how do you use
a smartphone?
She explained to me that there is an underlying helper, that you have to run on your device – it would be TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver on iOS and it would help you operate and navigate through the applications. She uses also a special application that makes her screen black all the time.

I am a tester, so I took her phone and play around for a while 😀
Believe me, it was terrible experience. I was constantly getting lost, there were items missing in almost every application I tried. I was cheating, of course, because the screen was visible for me. I was just checking if VoiceOver is doing well or not. At the end of the day, I was disappointed and angry.

It is just not fair that we exclude other people from using the software due to their impairments. There is no label on the applications at Google Play or App Store that “this is the application for people who can see only” or “this is the application for people who don’t have hearing issues”, but in fact THERE IS. There is an invisible label which excludes quite significant part of our society from the rage of app users.
For me – this is just not fair.

Everyone, no matter of their preferences, age or needs would like to stay social, keep up with friends, receive messages, news or post information on the internet.
Think about it 🙂

We are developers, we are testers, we are UX designers – WE CAN CHANGE IT.
What I want you to do is to go back to your project, run your application on mobile device, run it on a PC with an assistant of your choice turned on and try to navigate.
Find out how accessible your product is.
How does it feel for the user to act with it.
Feel it.

I believe that this is our responsibility to make it work.

Let’s make IT accessible for everyone.


Quick update from one of my readers – Dorota – who wrote about an incredible youtuber – Molly Burke. Check Molly’s videos out and have a look at how blind people use technology



Make IT Accessible


Hi Boys and Girls,

I know you are all here in order to read about my UK adventure at UK Star conference.
It is going to be a loooong post, so grab your coffee/tea , gluten-free food and keep on reading:)

Some time ago, a friend of mine said that if he would speak at the UK Star conference, he would have give up speaking.
Do I feel the same? Was it that exciting? I definitely pushed my limits. I feel satisfaction and I recommend you all to attend next call for papers 🙂


Let’s go back to square one.
I arrived late at night, as Ryanair decided to postpone my flight for over 2 hours. It may seem weird to you, but before that day, I had an opportunity to be in London just once – approximately 15 years ago (yup, I’m THAT old), so I didn’t know what to expect.
Not surprisingly, modern London is huge, and even more diverse as expected. What is more,  the city looks like an enormous Lego – construction work set 😀 There are cranes and scaffolding everywhere. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed since I arrived. It was raining, of course 🙂




Conference’s location, in The City, was extraordinary. It corresponded strongly with London’s vibe and diversity. Inside and outside the building it felt the same – multiple languages, opposite minds and full of fresh concepts. Beautiful interiors and professional service made it all work. We’ve been kindly hosted and no one from conference attendees felt excluded. Just from the first moment something ‘was going on’ and everybody was engaged.

Before the conference begun I felt nervous and was extremely unsure. Me – a foreign girl – not speaking English English – in the middle of a big city.

After a funny moment during the registration, when a volunteer was not able to find my badge (because my name is pronounced completely different than it is written in English), I’ve decided to start from tasty coffee. Coffee is always good to start with 🙂

Just after a few seconds a girl approached asking me about my talk and exchanging ideas in the field of accessibility testing. It was probably the first time when somebody knew me from YouTube or my blog and wanted to know me in person. I was honored. It gave me lot of self esteem:) Go Scotland! 🙂



Before my talk I had a chance to meet a lot of Twitter friends and finally get acquainted with them in person. What a wonderful moment, when you are able to talk to people that you admire for what they do as testers and speakers, who inspire you for a long time and you can just talk to them. This is why you should attend such events. The presentations are important, for sure, but for me, the vibe, spirit, all fantastic opportunities to talk to people were definitely more valuable that day.



I can name a big difference between Polish conferences and UK Star. In most events in Poland, attendees are the people who start their journey with testing, who want to learn anything, something to start with. They look for basic topics and workshops in the area of test automation or manual testing. At the UK Star I had an opportunity to meet testers from different countries, with at least several years of experience within multiple projects, who came there to share their good practices, achievements and just to inspire.

As you are probably interested not only in my feelings about the conferences, but in the presentations as well – I’ll try to give you some main topics and walk you through the talks I will remember.

Let’s start from the best keynote I have ever a chance to participate in – Isabel Evans – ‘Leadership, Fellowship and Followership‘. It was my first opportunity to meet Isabel in person. Her very personal and inspiring talk led the audience among different styles of leadership and peoples’ behaviour.

I’ve acknowledged also that being compassionate to yourself is a key to everything – being a good human, employee and a leader. The rest comes second. We should leave the world better place that we found it. I find this keynote strong and a must to be heared live. If you ever had an opportunity to hear this particular keynote live – do not hesitate and attend!

I’ve also learned that our leadership style is strongly determined by the company and it’s rules. If there is a capacity for playing and making mistakes – there is also a space for team’s evolution and grow.



Christina Ohanian, the Tester and Agile Coach, performed her opening keynote session – ‘Embracing Change‘ at the very beginning of the conference. I bet my manager – Piotr -probably the biggest fan of Simon Sinek in the world


would hear this talk with pleasure as I did. There were several referrals to Simon Sinek during the whole talk. To build a good test team in your company – you should definitely start with WHY and define your purpose all the time. All may change, but there should be a purpose always.

As Christina said, change is scary, especially when we are used to a particular way of working. Learning to embrace a change and adapt to the environment around us is both healthy and urgent necessity.



I need to mention about @thetestdoctos ‘s – Dan Billing – workshop about security testing. Finally I had a chance to meet and hear Dan in person. We had a lot of fun during his presentation, as it was a PROPER WORKSHOP – WiFi was not working, there were no tables for the laptops and time was limited 😀 Dan is sneaky – he wanted us just to feel a little bit of security testing in order to invite him for decent workshop in our companies.  Best PR ever, Dan! 😀

We’ve learned that hacking is illegal. I am disappointed with this fact 😦 I’ve also noticed, that opposing to movie stereotypes – you don’t need to wear a black hoodie (as I had none that day)  and you don’t have to have a wall of GREEN PHP code in front of you displayed in order to perform security testing (aka hacking). Oh maaaan. Such disappointment.

But seriously, you should definitely invite Dan to your company!



UK Star was not only about presentations and workshops – there was plenty of space to talk and exchange experiences – either within Lean Coffee meeting in the morning, in the Test Huddle area or during conversation tracks such as ‘Ultimate testing Survival / Zero to One : StartUp quality notes‘ prepared by Victor Slavchev and Yann Person. They were able to involve audience into conversation and bring the value to the whole discussion. From Yann’s part – i loved the most a statement saying that startups begin investing in testing just after first production failure. On the other hand, Victor’s crazy slides convinced us that we should emphasize our value as testers within our companies, as quality is an integral part of software development – not just a part after development phase.



Finally, there was also my talk – ‘Make IT accessible‘ happening that day. I was placed in the agenda within a storytelling track – together with Rick Tracy and Lena Wiberg.


I had a unique opportunity to speak up about accessibility testing and why it is so important for everybody. People were listening to me, nodding, participating in my short exercise. It was even more that I expected. I had a chance to talk to some individuals from my audience about accessibility, that gave me the feeling that there is a need to talk about it over and over again. As I believe, that no one should be excluded from our society by the software, especially people with certain physical or mental disabilities. This is our responsibility as software developers, testers, UX designers to care and to make our applications accessible.

At the end of the day, after all my preparations, it just felt great to stand there and talk.




UK Star conference was important for me. It brought value. It matters.

The conference has it’s flaws as well, of course it has, but this time I decline to focus on them. It just was great to be there.

In case of any suggestions – stalk me on Twitter or put your comment down below. Cheers!

UK Star. Checked.