Chronicle

To recycle consultants

Recycling is good. Sure, there is a discussion about if it is really financially and environmentally sustainable to make individual people take their individual cars to the recycling station, and sure, there is a problem with littering around the containers. But the bottom line is, we all agree that recycling is a good thing.

Susanna Laurin

Title: Chief Research and Innovation Officer

At Funka, we have taken the recycling trend one step further and recycle our consultants! No need to worry, they are coming back by their own free will, they are fine, and we are not even close to throwing them in a furnace.

We are growing in all our active markets, which is not very strange seeing the amount of attention accessibility and UX has gotten lately. Even though the staff who were with us from the start are still with us, and several of us have more than ten years at the company, we still have to recruit new employees. Of course we do, otherwise we would soon be a collection of pompous dinosaurs.

New thoughts and ideas help maintain our creative environment, it is the dynamic between experience and curiosity that drives our innovation. But I can not help being moved when employees who have left us choose to come back. That has to mean we are doing something right.

Oskar Gustafsson, UX expert and project manager worked at Funka for many years before jumping to one of our favorite clients, The Swedish Employment Offices. After two years working for the public sector, he has chosen to come back to Funka.

Why did you choose to work for the client side?

After 5 years at Funka (and 8 years as a consultant) I was curious to see how things actually were on the other side. In the projects I worked in, I usually came in early in the process, conducted pilot studies and developed concepts. But usually my assignment ended there and I quickly went on to new tasks, for different clients. I naively thought that being on the other side would enable me to conduct continous development, test alternative solutions against each other and analyze real usage in order to optimize and refine the user experience. Basically, be part of the complete process.

And why did you come back?

It was incredibly interesting and a true learning experience to be able to work in such a large organization, but after two years I started longing for the kinds of tasks I did at Funka, where I feel I have a greater degree of overlook and above all, a greater impact on the final result. I am used to working effectively and be frugal with my work hours and I grew frustrated with how long things took. Much time was eaten up by synchronization and anchoring, changes came from unexpected places and upended concepts and a persistent feeling of things being done ineffectively.
I missed the variation in working with several clients at the same time, with different needs and requirements. I also missed the variation in having different roles in different projects. Apart from that, I like Funka’s mission of ensuring that services and information is usable, rather than cool-looking. It’s really only when used that they have value.

Karin Forsell, journalist and language expert, who has worked for Funka and Funka’s foundation for many years. She never really left Funka, since she continued to do individual tasks for us for several years. But for a time one of our more ambitious clients, the Swedish Broadcaster SVT, was her main employer. Karin is now back at Funka.

Why did you choose to work for the client side?

SVT was my client when I was at Funka, and I worked with them in order to create good help texts for SVT Play. I found that SVT was uncommonly goal-oriented and worked in a structured and inspiring manner to make SVT Play accessible. When the opportunity came to be able to influence long time development to a greater extent than as a consultant, I took it. I am also a staunch supporter of public service and it was an honor to be able to help make SVT Play even more accessible.

And why did you come back?

After about a year, I moved on within SVT, from SVT Play to supervising SVT’s viewer service. I kept some of the responsibility for accessibility, but also submerged myself in the development of the viewer service. The service was, and is, in a continous state of change and it was at times very hard work. I came back to Funka, because I felt that it enables me to work with things that make a tangible difference for individuals. I get to be a part in influencing both people and services to becoming more inclusive and equal. The bottom line is the equal rights of the people.

Everyone at Funka warmly welcomes Oskar and Karin back!

Related chronicles by Susanna Laurin

  • Accessibility is moving forward – believe it or not

    6 May 2019

    Sometimes progress is hard to spot if you are in the middle of the whole thing. It might be useful to take a step back and reflect on all the different things going on in our business. The evolution is quite impressive, says Funka's Research and Innovation Officer.

  • Focus on elderly users

    7 February 2019

    Funka's CEO Susanna Laurin reports from a debate in the European Parliament and international standardization that deals with the inclusion of elderly in IT development.

  • Thanks for another amazing year!

    29 November 2018

    Another year of accessibility work is coming to an end. Funkas’ Susanna Laurin writes about the importance of positive feedback and the need to give appreciation to those who do the right thing.

  • Between hope and despair

    14 August 2018

    Monitoring and possible fines can be a driving force for accessibility. But at the same time, threats can mean that services are taken down. How do we make sure that legislation increases accessibility?

  • Make sure accessibility is afloat

    29 May 2018

    Funka's Susanna Laurin sees similarities between working with accessibility and taking care of a wooden boat. Both activities require patience and the results can make many people happy.

  • Germany Inclusion Days in Berlin

    5 December 2017

    The International Day of Disabled Persons keeps us busy in all our markets. This year we contribute to the Inclusion Days program in Berlin, Germany.

  • It's time to put our feet down!

    8 November 2017

    A judicial precedent now allows for a tighter interpretation of the Swedish law on support and services for certain disabled people. This may mean that many people lose their right to personal assistance. Do we really want people to be denied a worthy life on equal terms with others?

  • Accessible summer greetings

    12 June 2017

    As the sun glistens in the ocean, the birds wake me up in the early mornings and life gets a little easier once sunshine and warm weather turn our latitudes into paradise, a report on digitization makes me even more happy.

  • Funka in the U.S.

    6 March 2017

    We are always interested in what is going on in our market. When two conferences on accessibility, gaming and assistive technology happens in the same week, the agenda is filling up.

  • The eternal question of cost

    7 February 2017

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin reports from an EU conference on accessibility and legislation in Brussels. The focus is, as usual, on the economy.

  • 10 years with the UNCRPD

    8 December 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin ponders what we celebrate on the international day of persons with disabilities. Accessibility seems - more than ever - a moving target.

  • An international perspective on accessibility

    4 July 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin is reporting on an exciting meeting of experts from all over the world, at the US Access Board in Washington.

  • Report from the European eAccessibility Forum in Paris

    17 June 2016

    The French association for the visually impaired, BrailleNet, arrange an annual conference on digital accessibility. The theme for the 2016 edition was the internet of things. Funka’s own Susanna Laurin is reporting from the conference.

  • The dangers of legislation

    10 March 2016

    An unsettling trend is happening in the U.S.: by using legislation as a battering ram lawyers are making money, but inaccessibility persist.

  • There’s hope for the future

    30 November 2015

    Susanna Laurin's reflections on the situation for people with disabilities face in the world today.

  • Integrity and culture

    11 September 2015

    Funka’s CEO Susanna Laurin reflects on cultural differences between Spain and Sweden, personal integrity and how badly things can get, even when you try your hardest to do the right thing.

  • While we are enjoying it

    18 June 2015

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin considers trends in accessibility and the fact that we no longer have much time to reflect.

  • When technology can make a difference

    18 March 2015

    Different safety and technology aspects are being brought up as arguments against e-voting, but these problems must be possible to overcome. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes some time to reflect upon the democratic perspective of e-voting and today's broad lack of accessibility.

  • A mutual admiration society

    29 October 2014

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin questions why accessibility and user experience experts are so eager to talk to people with similar opinions. Would it not be better to let different views and opinions meet to bring about change?

  • Sunny days, but no time to be lazy

    19 June 2014

    We look back at a hectic period and look forward to even more work. But first of all, we will enjoy the summer holidays.

  • Good for all...?

    25 February 2014

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin rejoices in the fact that design for all really works in our everyday life.

  • Funka Christmas letter 2013

    20 December 2013

    Susanna Laurin, Funka, sums up a busy year. A year of continued growth, continued expansion in Norway and a new office in Madrid.

  • Why WCAG is not enough

    25 October 2013

    It is leaning towards legislation on web accessibility in the EU. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes a closer look at what the guidelines that almost everyone is pointing towards actually entail for the users.