2019 in review

Published 20 December 2019 category: personal

Wow, the year only has 8 days left 😱! Time for a review, with some useless stats and links to things I worked on.

Like last year, I’ve divided this into highlights and things I learned.



In the first half year of 2019, I continued my project at Mozilla’s Open Innovation team, building their People directory, and worked in the City of The Hague on accessibility and the internal design system.

In July I started a new project: at the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), I am now working as part of the European Commission-funded WAI-Guide project. My work there is focused on improving the accessibility of/in tools that create web content, like CMSes. In short: we want more accessibility both for content editors (a good editing experience) and for end users (good output).

Apart from my work at the W3C, I’ve been doing the occasional WCAG audit and accessibility/CSS workshop in my own capacity too.


Last year I spoke at my first conference. This year I got the opportunity to do new (and some older) talks in various places, of which some were as part of my project at the W3C/WAI.

In March, I did a talk called It’s the markup that matters at De Voorhoede. It was part of their Future Proof Components event, and covered building accessible components, accessibility trees and the AOM.

At WordCamp Rotterdam and Inclusive Design Ghent, I shared 6 ways to make your site more accessible, based on my experience looking at common accessibility problems that front-end developers can do something about.

In October, I presented a very short lightning talk at the Web We Want session at View Source Conference, about how some accessibility problems could cease to exist if browsers would automatically fix them. The problems: zoomability, readability, color contrast and focus indication (the first three are each solved in at least one browser, the fourth has not). This talk, shockingly, won both the jury and audience award.

Also in October was a talk called Breaking barriers with your CMS at the Fronteers Jam Session (on behalf of W3C/WAI). This presented some of my recent work at WAI: it explained ATAG and the role of the CMS in accessibility efforts.

At the Design in Government Conference in November, I talked about the case for web accessibility from philosophical ethics, again on behalf of W3C/WAI, and I did an updated version of my graphic design on the web talk in Dutch for Freshheads in Tilburg.

Then in December, I joined dotCSS to talk about the history of CSS: On the origin of cascades put some of that in a Darwin-themed talk. The venue was enormous and intimidating, and there was transport strikes, but the event itself was excellent, with a great atmosphere and very well organised.

I also did a number of in-house talks and workshops, about CSS Layout, ARIA and accessibility guidelines.


I read much more than last year (72 books so far), and have written more about books on this blog (see reading list about equality and reading list about tech and society). Reading more books helped me read less social media, watch less video and generally relax more. Please become my friend on Goodreads (it’s not great, but if more people join we can all share recommendations)!

Some notes:


This year I wrote 24 posts (including this one), which means I have now over 100 posts in total on this blog.

Some posts that people found interesting:

I also contributed to the Mozilla Hacks blog, writing Indicating focus to improve accessibility and How accessibility trees inform assistive tech. Thanks to Havi Hoffman for the opportunity!


This year I traveled to Antwerp, Berlin, Bristol, Essen, Ghent, Nice, Paris, Taipei and Vienna, using trains where possible, but I need to do better at that.

Things I learned

Here’s some random things that I learned about in the past year:

In any case, I’d like to thank the readers of this blog for reading and sharing the posts I’ve published, it means the world to me.

I wish you all a great 2020!

Comments & mentions (26)

Prasenjit Manna 30 May 2021 04:17:08


Prasenjit Manna 30 May 2021 04:18:01

This is really good.

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Erik Kroes ???? replied:
Nice. I can probably only hit that number when I count children's books. ???? I don't think I have enough moments with enough attention to read. How much of it was (non) fiction?
Erik Kroes ???? replied: Or is the trick to work from home and save time and energy?
Tom Hermans🤘 replied: Nice write-up Hidde. Hope to meet you somewhere next year too
Gift Egwuenu✨ replied: Awesome! Here's mine giftegwuenu.com/2019-in-review…
Rufus Oyemade replied:
72 books ???? Impressive! And thanks for sharing how you achieved that ????????????????????????
Marvellous Michaels Ubani replied: Really nice read ????????
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