Hollie Kay: Pa11y and pair programming

Pair programming is now an industry standard. Two people work together on a program, one is the navigator and comes up with suggestions and ideas, keeps track of the design being implemented and the driver types in the detail, debugs the code. The pair take it in turns for each role. But this approach is not so easy if you are deaf. If you are the driver then you need to type as well as lip-read what your navigator is saying, looking at two things at once. If you are the navigator you need to lip-read what your driver is saying, look at the screen, and the design information – three things at once.

Holly Kay, an experienced deaf developer working at Nature magazine had this problem but was not prepared to leave it at that. She is a core contributor to the development of  Pa11y and uses it to help her communicate with her partner. Pa11y is a set of resources that make the web more accessible for everyone.


PSHE&C & Computing: Have a go at pair programming and think about how you can make the process accessible to everyone. Find out about the rights of those with disabilities and think about the technology you use, is it accessible to everyone?  How could you improve the accessibility of the programs that you write?

This work was supported by the Institute of Coding, which is supported by the Office for Students (OfS).