I recently attended the ‘How to design for everyone’ talk hosted by UX Belfast and the talk was by Reginé Gilbert and MT McCann. This was a virtual event which was so cool, Reginé spoke all the way from New York! I learned so much from this talk so lets get into some of the topics that were raised.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility means that digital platforms are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can easily interact and engage with them.
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect interaction with the web:
So why do we need web accessibility?
What to consider for inclusive design:
- Socioeconomic status
One of the points Reginé raised within this talk was how colour contrast is the number 1 issue when it comes to accessibility. This has been researched and it is the biggest problem people have. She showed slides on things that were easy to read and hard to read to highlight the importance.
Another tip brought up was that designers should think about who is using your designs, for example, designing for the poor I would need to think about slow interact connections etc. These are all questions and situations that I would never have thought about before.
Things to do when designing:
- left align text – centred text hard for people with dyslexia or cognitive disorders
- avoid using all caps
- add alternative text- for screen readers or people with slow internet
Inclusive design tips-
- get to know who you are designing for
- make inclusive design a part of every stage
- assure COLOUR contrast is clear for those with vision issues
MT works for ESO who are a business that specialise in creating innovative, user-friendly software to meet the changing needs of today’s EMS agencies. Within her section of the talk she expressed the thought that as webs designers it is our responsibility to make designs for everyone in any and every circumstance. She touched on the fact that if roles were reversed how would you feel to be excluded from events, if other people could access things that you couldn’t? As designers this is what we need to avoid, our designs need to be suitable for everyone- from all backgrounds and situations. We need to reduce complexity and keep things as simple as possible!
www.edx.org/course/- Web Accessibility course
Thoughts on talk and what did I learn?
This talk inspired me in so many ways. I think that more people need to realise that this is a real issue and that accessibility as designers is our responsibility, it is a human right that we need to deliver through our designs. This talk highlighted so many points that as a young designer I haven’t thought about before, I think this has benefitted me so much visiting this talk as a young student so I am aware of how important this information and topic is from the start of career. I will follow MT’s and Reginé’s advice and their tips on how to make my designs more user friendly and I will include this thinking from the very start of each project as well as keeping my solutions as simple as possible.
This has sparked a new interest in me to learn more about accessibility within design, I can only imagine how awful it feels to not be able to access or understand a design because the designer hasn’t thought about your needs and abilities. I want to make sure I never make anyone feel excluded and not thought about- this is their human right. I will definitely be picking up Reginé’ book – ‘How to design with accessibility in mind!’