Anne Gentle

Anne Gentle


Inclusive, Accessible Tech: Bias-Free Language in Code and Configurations

About the talk: 

It's time to take the bias out of code, UI, docs, configurations, or our everyday language by ensuring we choose our words carefully to avoid harmful subtext or exclusion. We can do our part and take steps by examining assets from code to config files to API specifications to standards.

Heard of suss? You can suss out more information or you can find someone's information to be suss. "Suss" shows the flexibility of language. It’s an ongoing process to change how we use certain words. It's important to choose words carefully to convey the correct meaning and avoid harmful subtext or exclusion. Let's explore some of the tools and triage methods that it takes from an engineering viewpoint to make bias-free choices. How can you ensure that biased words do not sneak into code, UI, docs, configurations, or our everyday language?

First, let's walk through how to take an inventory of assets from code to config files to API specifications to standards. Next, by placing those findings into categories, prioritize the work to substitute with inclusive alternatives. Let's examine some examples using both API and code assets. Next is a demonstration of how to automate analyzing your source code or documentation with a linter, looking for patterns based on rules that are fed into the tool.

What's in the future for these efforts? Inclusive language should expand beyond English and North America efforts. To do so, let's organize the work with automation tooling, as engineers do.

About the author:

Anne Gentle is an industry-recognized author whose books promote collaboration among developers and writers. She works as a developer experience manager at Cisco DevNet, the developer program for Cisco platforms to connect, secure, and automate. With her team of experts, she supports developer tools for API design, developer documentation, and developer education including infrastructure integration. She wrote a book called Docs Like Code to demonstrate developer tools and workflows like GitHub and automated publishing and code integration, applied in the technical writing world. She proudly serves on the Workforce Advisory Committee at Austin Community College, pushing the field towards future opportunities in API and developer documentation.


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