It’s been difficult to write in the middle of the pandemic while watching civil unrest on the news. I spend my spare time listening and learning about marginalized groups and the challenges that they face. I can do a lot personally by contributing time and money to activist causes. On the professional front, I’d like to encourage my clients to increase the diversity in their images, be conscious of inclusiveness in their writing, and the accessibility of their websites.
The site Indigenous Images provides stock photos of Canadian Indigenous peoples and supports Indigenous artists. Other sources of Indigenous stock photos and graphics include rawpixel, Getty Images, iStockphoto, and Shutterstock. They are also an excellent sources of images of people with disabilities and special needs.
Unconscious bias in language isn’t always obvious, but it can have a significant impact on your audience, whether they be colleagues or clients. When writing, focus on being inclusive. Use non-binary language like “parent” instead of “mother/father”. Remember that they/them/their is perfectly acceptable for third person singular.
Using common words and accurate descriptors are also helpful. Stating, “The local coffee shop charges $2.00 for a coffee with milk and sugar,” is more helpful than writing, “It’s a toonie for a double-double at Timmy’s.“
There are more excellent tips for inclusive writing at Crescendo. You can also check out The Conscious Style Guide and The Diversity Style Guide. Both sites provide inclusive terminology to describe life, the universe, and everything with accuracy and sensitivity.
Changing your writing style to be more inclusive can feel a bit cumbersome at first, but with a bit of practice, it will quickly feel comfortable. If you want some help with editing, let me know. I would be happy to help.
We all know that businesses in public buildings need to be accessible to everyone. If your business is your website, it should still be accessible to everyone. Use alt-tags on all of your images to accurately describe them for people who use screen readers. Create a sitemap so people can navigate your site without using menus. Choose themes and colour schemes to increase visual contrast. Check out these tools to help you verify and improve your website accessibility. And by the way, accessible websites rank higher in search engines too.
The more inclusive we are, the more diverse we will be, and the stronger we will be. The Vulcans call it Kol-Ut-Shan – infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Live long and prosper!
Have you ever wondered how much time you should spend automating a process to save time? Wonder no more! Randall Munroe at XKCD has figured it out for us. Look carefully at the diagram. If you have a daily task (top row) and there is a process that will you allow you to save five seconds each time you do it, then it is worth spending 30 minutes to implement that process because, over 5 years, you will save more than 30 minutes.
I’m slowly progressing with spring cleaning. Last week I sorted and organized the bathroom and my travel toiletries. In doing so, I came across a couple of great websites: Check Cosmetics and Check Fresh. On both websites, you can enter the lot number of your cosmetics, and it will tell you how old they are.
Cosmetics past their expiry date should be tossed out. I discovered I had nine-year-old eye shadow – nine years old! That palette, along with everything else over 12 months old, went right into the trash.
My favourite summertime drink is iced tea. When we lived in England, I learned there is a proper way to brew a cup of tea, but iced tea is unorthodox. On the other hand, when we lived in Texas, we learned iced tea was commonplace and called sweet tea – and it is very sweet. To provide balance, here is my recipe for lightly sweetened iced tea.
- Pour one litre (1 quart) of freshly boiled water over 4 bags of orange pekoe tea. (Yorkshire Tea is my favourite.)
- Let sit 1 hour at room temperature then remove the tea bags.
- Stir in 100g (1/2 cup) white granulated sugar and 120mL (1/2 cup) lemon juice (about 4 lemons).
- Chill overnight.
To serve, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of lemon, mint leaf, or raspberries.