Ladies Of Code Leeds: August

Have you ever been to a meet up where you’ve felt accepted and welcomed from the offset?
That’s what Ladies of Code is for me.
It doesn’t matter how many or little people I know there, everyone is chatty and wants to network, there’s Dominos sat waiting at the back of the room (🍕 😍 ) and some extremely inspirational speakers.
Ladies of Code reminds me how lucky I am to be part of such an amazing industry.

But what is the best thing about it? The tech industry CARES.

Ladies of Code reminds me of all the badass women in my local tech community that I don’t get to see on a daily basis and only “meet” over Twitter and of the awesome work they are achieving on their own.

A real inspirational example of this is one of the speakers from this months meet up – Clare Davidson.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Clare for the past three years, and she is an example for everyone who wants to make their own job and prove how much of a difference it can make.
Clare is our accessibility expert at work, she hasn’t always had that title, but she has proved how essential that job is.
I can’t imagine developing without the aid of Clare to ensure the component or feature we are creating meets WCAG accessibility requirements.

Clare did an amazing talk called A picture paints a thousand words – How do we paint a picture in words for people with sight loss?
The main message she wanted to convey from her talk is that accessibility is not an enhancement, it’s part of MVP.


So what were her hints and tips for developing an accessibile website?

  • Use native elements where possible (e.g. label over aria).
  • Use the button element over links.
  • Avoid changing the role of a link element to a button.
  • Use aria sparingly.
  • Be careful while using SVGs – these sometimes conflict with screen readers.
  • Build accessibility into every sprint.
  • Involve each member of the squad when focussing on accessibility.
  • Test on more than one assistive technology (such as JAWS for Windows and VoiceOver for Mac).
  • One complaint does a lot of damage for you and the company.

One thing that she said that really resonated with me is that nothing is out-of-bounds of being accessible as long as you consider it from the beginning.

I highly recommend Clare’s talk and if you ever get chance to hear it, take it.

Despite the name, Ladies of Code isn’t just for women. We encourage male attendance as it shows alligence in what we are trying to achieve, but also because some men have some awesome things to say.

Our second talk was on Sketch and it was delivered by David Sayce and what was lovely was that he had structured it as a workshop. I loved the interactivity in the session and actually getting my head around Sketch!
Not only did I get to learn some of the basics about the design tool, but it’s also given me skills for the future in regards to clarecodes and any prototyping I want to attempt.


My favourite part of the session was learning about prototyping.
In the past I haven’t really understood why we do it but now I wouldn’t create a product without prototyping.

So why should you prototype?

  • Save time and money.
  • Understand any problems better.
  • Get feedback quickly.
  • Get started quickly.
  • More versions of prototypes mean better products.

What are your favourite meet ups to attend?