IXD301: How to Design for Everyone (web accessability research)

I attended a talk through ‘meetup’ on how to design for everyone, which touched on the importance of accessibility and inclusivity when designing. I thought this would be beneficial, especially as I am in the process of building my portfolio website. It was hosted by Rick Monro and had guests Regine Gilbert and MT McCann.

Inclusion and Accessibility

New York based designer, Regine wrote the book ‘Inclusive design for a digital world: designing with accessibility in mind’. She talked a lot about the importance of making the web accessible for those with disabilities.

We must think about the people we are designing for as they may have disabilities which make using interfaces difficult. For example, they may be using screen readers/magnifiers, voice recognition etc.

The web accessibility guidelines state that a website must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. This covers all areas of disabilities including sight, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments.

As well as considering design for those with disabilities, inclusive design covers a wider range including:

  • Ability
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic status

Things to consider when creating experiences. Does it work…

  • Without visuals
  • Without sounds
  • One-handed
  • No-handed
  • Seated
  • Standing
  • With voice
  • Switch control

 

I learnt that there are very basic design standards that too many websites don’t follow. One of the biggest issues on the web is bad colour contrast. This is when the colours used don’t contrast well, making text and other elements difficult to read/see.

I also found that designing for accessibility benefits everyone. Overall, it just makes sites easier to use and navigate. There may also be times when people have temporary disabilities such as a broken arm. Situational times are another scenario when accessibility comes in handy. For example, using captions in a loud environment.

 

Overall, this talk has really inspired me to take web accessibility into consideration more when I am designing. It should be a basic human right to have access to the internet.

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