Accessibility, inclusion and exclusion. Life matters.
“The ethics and responsibilities of technology companies are under increased scrutiny over the power to design the user experiences embedded in their products. Researchers advocating a Rawlsian ‘just and fair’ design process have suggested a ‘veil of ignorance’ thought experiment in which designers adopt the standpoint of unspecified hypothetical users to ensure designers are not biasing their own perspectives at the expense of others. This article examines including and excluding such standpoints through the lens of edge users – a term based on extreme ‘edge cases’ in which systems are more likely to break down. Edge users are particularly marginalized and subject to a spiral of exclusion when interacting via Internet and Web resources whose design disregards them because their ability to research and voice their experiences is further limited. Active proxies, those already helping or standing in for marginalized users, can be enlisted as design allies to develop a deeper understanding of such edge groups and contexts. Design ethics, in short, needs to move beyond making technologies accessible to all people, to making all types of people accessible to designers.”
Julian Kilker ~ First Monday 25.6 ★
From content accessibility to AI inclusion.
“According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people worldwide have disabilities. The field of disability studies defines disability through a social lens; people are disabled to the extent that society creates accessibility barriers. AI technologies offer the possibility of removing many accessibility barriers; for example, computer vision might help people who are blind better sense the visual world, speech recognition and translation technologies might offer real-time captioning for people who are hard of hearing, and new robotic systems might augment the capabilities of people with limited mobility. Considering the needs of users with disabilities can help technologists identify high-impact challenges whose solutions can advance the state of AI for all users; however, ethical challenges such as inclusivity, bias, privacy, error, expectation setting, simulated data, and social acceptability must be considered.”
Meredith Ringel Morris ~ Communications of the ACM (June 2020) ★
Looks like a kind of universal design principle.
“Because when you strip away all the styles, all the mark-up, all the cool features from a website or app — what’s left? People. And honestly, the more I learn about digital accessibility, the more I realize it’s not about the code at all.”
Carie Fisher ~ A List Apart ★
Application onboarding versus organisation onboarding. Just a matter of principles.
“As a UX designer and marketer in the tech industry, I have been onboarded for a number of software and design projects. During these onboarding processes, I have noticed that software, apps, and user flows are not always conveyed in a simple, readily-comprehensible manner. As software and apps become more complex, the ability to define and explain technical concepts in simple terms has become an increasingly valuable skill for project leaders. In noticing this, an adherence to universal design principles would improve accessibility for all who take part in the onboarding process.”
Nicholas Farmen a.k.a. @FarmenNicholas ~ UXbooth
We used to call it accessibility, and that’s still what it is.
“Inclusive design is designing to be inclusive of as many users as possible, considering all aspects of diversity in users. With increased understanding, compassionate discussions around how to design for disabilities are becoming increasingly common in the web industry. But even with this growth, there are misconceptions: accessibility is still frequently thought of as ‘design for blind people’ when it’s so much more than that. Users with limited motor functions and those who are hearing-impaired require separate considerations, for instance. But accessibility and inclusiveness also mean considering more than just physical symptoms. What about users with cognitive differences like inattention, anxiety, and depression?”
Brandon Gregory a.k.a. /brandon-gregory | @authorbrandong ~ A List Apart ★
It so obvious that for many it’s not.
“This article is intended to provide guidance on making library websites and other digital content accessible within the constraints of most organizations’ technological environments. Accessibility can mean different things depending on the context, but the focus in this article is on web accessibility, which the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines as “enabling people with disabilities to participate equally on the Web” (W3C, 2016). Many existing articles provide an overview of the big picture aspects of accessibility, including benefits to the organization (see Rowland, Mariger, Siegel & Whiting, 2010), legislation (see Fulton, 2011), statistics (see local census data), and general principles (see Quesenbery, 2014). The focus of this piece will be on specific best practices and guidelines, as well as their benefits for content creators, who frequently have limited access to edit digital content and cannot always apply recommended solutions that assume full control and access.”
Cynthia Ng a.k.a. /cynthiasng | @TheRealArty ~ Weave: Journal of Library User Experience (Volume 1 Issue 7) ★
Creating color, typography and lay-out to fit humans, all of them.
“They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As designers, we need to remember that the same is true of color and all visual abilities. It’s estimated that 4.5% of the global population experience color blindness (that’s 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women), 4% suffer from low vision (1 in 30 people), and 0.6% are blind (1 in 188 people). It’s easy to forget that we’re designing for this group of users since most designers don’t experience such problems.”
Nick Babich a.k.a. /nbabich | @101babich ~ UX Booth ★ courtesy of @MikeClickr
Adding social value as designer is a must.
“As designers, we need to plan and design for accessibility in UX projects. We have the responsibilities, not only to our profession but also to our users and society, to design accessible digital solutions. One simple method of including accessibility in our UX projects is to assign a disability to one of the personas. Another method is to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), as developed by the W3C (directed by inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee) and inspired by the UN convention principles. As a community, we can remove discrimination against people with disabilities and protect their rights to be part of the society. By doing so, we will create access for all products and services that will delight everyone.”
Ruby Zheng a.k.a. /rubyzheng ~ Interaction Design Foundation ★
Access to the Web sounds like one of the human rights.
“We need to change the way we talk about accessibility. Most people are taught that “web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web” – the official definition from the W3C. This is wrong. Web accessibility means that people can use the web.”
(Anne Gibson a.k.a. @kirabug ~ A List Apart) ★
Having access should be a hygiene factor, not a motivator.
“People often go a bit wobbly when accessibility is mentioned. Visions of text only websites, monochrome designs and static content swirl in their heads. Teeth are gritted, excuses are prepared, and battle conditions ensue. The reality is that accessibility is simply a key part of UX. A truly outstanding digital experience is a fusion of accessibility, usability, creativity and technology. The trick is to weave those things together, and to do that successfully there needs to be a cross pollination of skills and expertise. The good news is that accessibility is usability under a magnifying glass. If you’re thinking about great usability, the chances are that you’re already thinking about great accessibility too.”
(Léonie Watson ~ humanising technology blog) ~ courtesy of ericscheid
“All of these problems affect their general usability for people without disabilities, though not as severely. The more crowded or complex a screen, the harder it is to understand it and learn to use it effectively. Just as making hard decisions about priorities for a mobile user interface can pay off in a better Web version of an application, designing for better accessibility can make a product more usable for everyone.” (Whitney Quesenbery
“All design by definition promotes accessibility. Graphic designers try to make printed messages clearer, websites more navigable, physical environments easier to negotiate. As a profession, we’re committed to providing easier access – to information, to ideas, to public spaces – through smarter, more effective communications engaging the widest possible audience. Or at least everyone we’re hoping to reach. (…) Our goal is not to prescribe a set of rules for accessible design. Practical guides that try to be categorical end up being, at best, targets for rebuttal – or simply doorstops. So our aim is not to tell professional designers what to do, but rather to remind all of us how we could be doing better.” (Accessible Graphic Design
“With the burgeoning number of computing devices and software solutions, it is easier than ever before to deliver single-sourced content such that it is accessible, consumable and actionable by as many users as possible.” (The Content Wrangler
“When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?” – (Whitney Quesenbery
“If a deaf person has a legal right to watch TV or movies with captions, that person has a legal right to watch online video with captions. The voluntary approach has done practically nothing to make that possible. Laws or human-rights regulations are necessary and inevitable. You should get behind them.” (Joe Clark
– A List Apart
“The WCAG Samurai was a group of developers, led by Joe Clark, that publishes corrections for, and extensions to, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.”
“Typography has many facets which go beyond font faces, sizes, or the color of text. Taking typography into consideration at every step of the way can enable you to prepare a much more readable, accessible document.” (Joe Dolson – Accessites
) – courtesy of usernomics
“Web 2.0 applications often have accessibility and usability problems because of the limitations of (X)HTML. The W3C’s standards draft for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) addresses those limitations. It provides new ways of communicating meaning, importance, and relationships, and it fills gaps in the (X)HTML specifications and increases usability for all users by enabling navigation models familiar from desktop applications. Best of all, you can start using ARIA right away to enhance the accessibility of your websites.” (Martin Kliehm
– A List Apart
“This article is Part IV of my series ‘Color Theory for Digital Displays’. It describes how you can use color in applications and on Web pages to ensure that they are accessible to people who have color-deficient vision. If you do not consider the needs of people with color-deficient vision when choosing color schemes for applications and Web pages, those you create may be difficult to use or even indecipherable for about one in twelve users.” (Pabini Gabriel-Petit
“The Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications addresses the accessibility of dynamic Web content for people with disabilities. The roadmap outlines the technologies to map controls, AJAX live regions, and events to accessibility APIs, including custom controls used for Rich Internet Applications. The roadmap also outlines new navigation techniques to mark common Web structures as menus, primary content, secondary content, banner information and other types of Web structures. These new technologies can be used to improve the accessibility and usability of Web resources by people with disabilities, without extensive modification to existing libraries of Web resources.” (W3C WAI-ARIA