Talk.CSS #46

Well, I haven’t blogged about Talk.CSS since my first two times there. That’s not good. I had a few more but I never got around to them due to chronic illness, executive dysfunction and whatnot. But today, the only thing I’m down with (and have been since Tuesday) is a throat infection that hasn’t gotten worse yet, so I’m making the most of tonight by pushing this one out.

So I went to Talk.CSS today, the first of the year. This time it’s at Microsoft Singapore’s new office at Frasers Tower. It would be my first time there after my last visit to the old office for last year’s Insider Dev Tour, so I was pumped.

But this being a new environment, I had to take precautions to ensure things went as smoothly as possible. To that end I pinged Hui Jing and Gao Wei on Twitter:

And then I had the brilliant idea of going through Sarah, my Microsoft MVP contact from Microsoft Singapore, as well. It would be my first time meeting her in person. She said she’d pick me up after finishing her meeting; I couldn’t go inside so I waited at the lobby for her.

Turns out, when I first got to the lobby, I was so calm that I could confidently decide to tweet this to the former two:

That’s right: even before I’d set foot in the new office, my selective mutism was already a no-show. This could have partly been because I made it a point to be early so I had time to collect myself, but I’m serious, it’s all Microsoft. My 11 years of guaranteed speech at the old office appear to have carried over seamlessly.

Anyway, Sarah came to pick me up first; it would be another 10 minutes before Hui Jing got there. Naturally, she was the first person I spoke to.

And here I was, at Microsoft Singapore’s new office at Frasers Tower:

The Microsoft logo at the new Singapore office.
The Microsoft logo at the new Singapore office.

Read on for Hui Jing’s reaction to hearing my voice for the first time and, of course, the talks themselves! I know the talks are probably what you came here for but this experience was particularly important to me so I just had to share. Let a disabled person have their limelight, won’t you?

While it was still just me, Hui Jing and Sarah, with the former getting things ready and the latter about to head downstairs to check in attendees, I walked up to the former, showed her that second tweet, then said Happy new year, because she had first greeted me with the same. Immediately she beamed — in silence, but my point is that she beamed. And as people started coming in, I was able to keep speaking to her, even with others in earshot this time.

Finally, it was time for us to be seated and for the talks to start. With Sarah sharing this Microsoft Docs page on CSS in Microsoft Edge DevTools, I felt silently (heh) important as a Microsoft Edge and CSS MVP. I just wish I could’ve strutted my stuff like I did at the Insider Dev Tour, but I wanted to let a lady have her limelight! (I didn’t take any more photos of the talks after this one.)

After Sarah finished her quick sharing, it was time for announcements. Engineers.SG, as usual, coming in hot with recordings available before the end of the day so you can watch it right now (and, if you’re new to SingaporeCSS, listen to all the Singlish goodness):

My non-Microsoft main boy Firefox shipped two new releases since the last Talk.CSS, whose release notes you can find below:

Something intriguing and something groan-worthy from the announcements which I also highlighted on Twitter:

Then came the actual talks. First up was Ryan from TeamSpirit who gave a very fascinating (and probably eye-opening!) presentation on how culture permeates and shapes web design and user experience around the world. There were stark comparisons between American, Chinese and Japanese versions of several major websites, and an important closing message of diversity in teams.

Next, a talk by Sathish Kumar Thiyagarajan on why user experience makes a great product.

And finally, Murray who’s spoken about math previously returns with something less math-related. It’s to do with inaccessible email newsletters, specifically the horrific use of text in images where it doesn’t belong, and another sobering reminder that our pleas for accessibility still aren’t getting taken seriously, especially by the powers that be.

Some particularly captivating content today which made the day even better. I’m glad. But what I’m most proud of, really, is my personal breakthrough. I was speaking at Talk.CSS1 for the first time since I started attending it a year and a half ago. No doubt selective mutism will continue to affect me (because disability doesn’t just go away after a single breakthrough), but I’m really curious now if I’ll end up continuing to speak at future Talk.CSS meetups. There were several missing faces today who therefore haven’t had a chance to hear my voice yet and I’m nervous if I’ll be able to speak to them next time I see them. Only time will tell. (Yes, Gao Wei did eventually get to hear my voice too by the end of today.)

There was just one problem before we even got started with the event though: the food. You see, Talk.CSS often gets us pizza, which is all and well, except I can’t eat pizza from most places. It’s not a dietary issue; it’s an accessibility issue. I’d rather not talk about it on here, but let’s just say that the vast majority of food of all kinds is completely inaccessible to me, and hardly for dietary reasons. Thin crust pizza in particular gives me a very hard time. But I tend not to blame anyone for this — you can’t accommodate every single person at all times, and mine’s an extreme edge case, even among disabled folks.

But Sarah offered to help me search the office for utensils I could use. And when she couldn’t find any, she went down to a bakery just to get me something I could eat (since baked goods are some of the only accessible foods to me, and the pizza was right about depleted by now), and she’d cover the cost. And when she realized she wasn’t carrying any cash for one bakery she went to a second one. All while I sat in for the talks. Thank you so much, Sarah! Thanks for taking extra care of your guests/MVPs.

And Hui Jing, don’t worry too much over the event food. We’ll… think of something.

  1. You might be wondering why I haven’t made the obligatory “putting the ‘talk’ in Talk.CSS” quip… that’s because I’m not ready to give a full-on talk just yet. But maybe someday! I’m mostly just not comfortable being recorded (something Engineers.SG is really efficient at by the way). Much rather a written article were shared. 

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