Interview with Rina Wharton - Accessibility and Usability Consultant at AbilityNet

What is your name and job title?

Rina Wharton, Accessibility and Usability Consultant.

Image of Rina Wharton, AbilityNet accessibility consultant

What are your key responsibilities and activities as part of your role?

My key responsibilities are to complete audits and rechecks of clients’ websites and mobile applications, writing detailed reports on the issues found and giving recommendations on how these could be fixed. I work with AbilityNet's team of consultants to build a collective understanding of issues and common resolutions. 

What is AbilityNet to you?

AbilityNet is an amazing place to work, everyone is incredibly friendly and willing to support you when you need help. This is my first full time job, which, because of my autism, I was unsure I could do. AbilityNet has given me the flexibility I need to be able to be in the 16% of adults with autism in full time employment. AbilityNet has given me the opportunity to live an independent life, working the way I need to and on something I love doing. 

What was your background prior to joining AbilityNet? 

Prior to working at AbilityNet I was in my second year of studying for a degree in Computing and IT with the Open University. I had built a website for my paraclimbing club, which made me realise that I wanted to go into web development, and the more I discovered about accessibility, the more I was convinced that this is what I wanted to do. I am continuing my studies alongside working. 

What made you want to work at AbilityNet? What are the perks in your opinion?

Because AbilityNet works with disabled people, I felt that they would understand the challenges that someone with a disability would face in the workplace. The team is very understanding, supportive and friendly and there are many people you can ask if you need any help. I have been given the flexibility I need to work in a way that works for me, so that I can achieve my best. 

How you able to incorporate your professional training and background into your role as a consultant?

As this is my first full-time job, I had little professional training and background. Most of my knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the WCAG criteria was self-taught. This knowledge has been incredibly useful in helping me to understand what I am looking at during audits and rechecks. 

What is your average day like at AbilityNet?

My average day at AbilityNet begins with checking my emails and messages, to check whether there is anything I need to action that day. If there is, I add it to my weekly planner pad, which helps me to organise what needs to be done. After this, I will get in touch with the person I am working with that day, if the project I am working on is in tandem with another consultant. I will then get on with the work I have planned for that day. This is usually an audit or a recheck of a previous audit.  

What’s the best thing about working at AbilityNet?

The best thing about working at AbilityNet is the friendly, approachable and immensely helpful team of consultants that I am part of. I genuinely feel like I am part of a family. 

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