We sat down with Christina Adams, Front-end Developer & Accessibility Engineer at Siteimprove, to hear more about her passion for accessibility and learn how she's accomplished her personal development goals.

Christina sitting in a chair in front of a big window

Like many of her colleagues, Christina didn’t quite realize where her career could take her or how she would impact the world with her knowledge when she first joined Siteimprove. A big part of her day-to-day as front-end developer in the US office is partnering with customers to build and implement solutions for their digital presence. Part of that presence is having an accessible website.

When Christina joined Siteimprove, she had a number of goals in mind that she wanted to focus on with her manager, Josh. One of them was educating developers on why it is important to make code accessible and inclusive. The second was to challenge herself by public speaking!

This year, she was able to accomplish these goals! Christina submitted a presentation she had been working on to the Minnebar Tech Conference on the topic of Accessibility in the Development Process. Minnebar is an annual technology and software conference in the Twin Cities that uses attendee voting to select the topics that will be presented. She chose the topic of Accessibility in the Development Process because it is a growing topic in the industry and one that she is particularly passionate about. Turns out it was of huge interest to others as it was voted for by over 50 people in attendance.

Why did you want to challenge yourself with public speaking?

Christina: I wanted the validation that conversations about accessibility are needed and important. I always thought they were but never had the confirmation of it externally. I also wanted to put together a presentation that was engaging and that people could learn from. I want to break the mold that people believe about developers. Josh, my manager believed I could do it, but I wanted to see if I could speak about my experience in the industry to others and have them find it useful in their own work. Turns out I can do it and I loved it!

Why is accessibility and inclusiveness important when coding?

Christina: The goal is that everyone, whether they have a disability or not, should be able to use a website for their needs. Developers need to have that mindset in the creation process to the point where it becomes natural to them. The more we talk about it the more it will be a reality for everyone. They should empower themselves to ensure inclusivity is incorporated into their process. It is a growing topic and they can be the experts on it. That is the cool thing about working at Siteimprove: accessibility is a part of everything here.

Christina sitting in a chair in front of a big window

In prior jobs, Christina had to get people’s buy-in on accessibility but not here at Siteimprove. Here, it’s a part of life!

Why does educating people on accessibility get you excited?

Christina: I think the most exciting aspect of educating people is breaking down the barriers that exist from preventing people from getting into technology-based professions. If I can help a diverse group of people become developers or increase their skill set, I would be extremely happy. That is my ultimate career goal. I like helping people to realize and empower themselves to write accessibility into code automatically and produce inclusive, high-quality products.

What is your trick to not getting nervous with public speaking?

Christina: Ha Ha, no tricks! I am nervous speaking in public, but I think about the times I have listened to others speak and realize they might have been nervous too, and I wouldn’t have learned from them if they didn’t get over their fear.

If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be?

Christina: I would tell my younger self to not be afraid of failure. I have learned so much from what didn’t go well and have found it adds depth to my knowledge base. Course correcting from a failure or imperfection has often led to better outcomes and at the very least some personal growth and a good story.

What is something that we don’t know about you yet?

Christina: I am certified in designing urban agricultural ecosystems in cold climates. I am an avid fruit and vegetable gardener and have 3 chickens in my South Minneapolis backyard.

Employee photo of ChristinaChristina joined Siteimprove in June 2018 and is currently working as Front-end Developer & Accessibility Engineer. Christina is based in Minneapolis.