It’s been six weeks since I blogged as the data monkey. I reached a rut. Unsure whether my sarcasm about data work was enough to carry me through; whether I really had something to say; or whether it was time to call it a day. I felt like I was visiting the same subjects again and again.
In contrast, my professional life at the moment is like a new door every week. The latest events have me pondering an age old subject. Training materials. Yawn. Sigh. Groan. I’ve spent many hours of my life taking screen shots after each click and each piece of data entry. I’ve drawn arrows pointing out the required step ad nauseum and when I worked for an employer where I had to make everything screen reader accessible for people who are blind, it meant that every time I posted a picture, I had to describe it in text.
While I don’t want to belittle the importance of trying to make documents accessible, I have to say that working for other employers has felt like someone removed a strait jacket resulting in an an explosion in technical skills. Now, I don’t pretend to be a technical geek; far from it. What I’m talking about are basic skills necessary to a successful professional life; areas that were stunted because I wasn’t able to explore visual media; there was no point: the organisation wouldn’t allow me to use it as it wasn’t accessible.
When I think about this, I’m torn. I truly believed that it was important to be inclusive by ensuring that materials were available which were suitable for screen readers such as a JAWS as well as screen enlargement software. Yet I also felt constrained. There were occasions when I would see something which was brilliant but it couldn’t be made accessible so those of us with sight, missed out. I know this will be contentious. I know I may cop some negative comments for this but I think it’s a point worth pondering.
I think back to my first few months in a new Organisation. I discovered newer versions of Excel. I discovered that you can filter by colour and people in the workforce do it frequently!
This week, I’ve discovered that video training and online e-learning is such an exciting world and something so simple to do. I’ve downloaded the trial version of Adobe Capitvate. No more taking screen shots of every single picture. No more arrows, no more manuals the size of trees which quickly date and need to be re-written. If you’re thinking – yeah, everyone knows that / ‘where have you been?’ – then the latter is spot on. I’m sure that many Organisations are embracing video training with it’s self-paced benefits and I have no doubt that they have been doing it for years. It seems that I have a lot of catching up to do.