Meet Gez Lemon. In the colourful landscape of web accessibility, Gez Lemon stands out as not just a seasoned professional but also as one of the greats. Gez has always been at the forefront of the digital accessibility industry and has gone above and beyond in sharing his passion for making the web an inclusive space for everyone.
Gez kicked off his career journey with a BSc (Hons) in Software Engineering from the University of Surrey in 1997. From there, he delved into the world of web development at The Paciello Group (TPG). At TPG, he started as a Consultant and later evolved into the role of a Principal Accessibility Engineer, showcasing his commitment to making the web a great leveller for all.
However, Gez's reach always extended far beyond a typical 9 to 5. His website, Juicy Studio became one of the first blogs covering web accessibility. When standards changed or new specifications such as HTML5 and WAI-ARIA came out, his would be the first site to give practical examples and use cases of these, allowing developers and designers a greater understanding of these often theoretical concepts. In its heyday, Juicy Studio became a go-to hub for accessibility info, earning Gez a reputation as a key player in the accessibility community and becoming a cornerstone for many navigating the ever-evolving standards of the digital landscape.
Gez's impact is far-reaching; his articles, talks, and blog posts are not just references but testimonials to the profound influence of his work. If you search online today, there are a staggering number of articles, talks and blog posts which either reference Gez, or directly credit his work, proving the ripple effects from Juicy Studio and his career so far are extensive.
Now serving as a Principal Accessibility Specialist at TetraLogical, Gez has been a driving force in the accessibility realm for decades. He created and contributes to the ongoing development and maintenance work on the WAI-ARIA usage script, is a member of the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) and contributes towards the WCAG 3 Working Group.
Originally hailing from Surrey and now calling Newcastle home, Gez is also a keen runner and champion of all things health and fitness. Having retired Juicy Studio nearly a decade ago after his last blog post, it still stands as a relevant reference point, proving it has stood the test of time.
Beyond codes and standards, Gez Lemon is not just a professional; he mentors, supports, and propels emerging talents in the accessibility industry. His legacy lies not only in his website but in the professionals he has helped, including current TetraLogical team members, and the countless others he has guided into the industry.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started learning about accessibility?
The struggle will be worth it. When I started, there was some hostility and pushback against accessibility. I'm pleased accessibility is now considered an essential aspect for software and the web.
What’s your top accessibility tip?
Include accessibility in the entire development lifecycle. It's much more difficult to address it retrospectively.
What’s your top accessibility resource?
Using ARIA from the W3C. Ironically, some of the biggest accessibility issues we encounter come from incorrect use of ARIA, a specification intended to improve accessibility. There would be a lot less accessibility issues if developers read and understand the Using ARIA document.