Accessible and Inclusive Design Roundup

I spent last week at the HighEdWeb annual conference this week, which features nearly a week of presentations from some of the best professionals working to advance digital design and communications in higher education.

Many of the presentations this year looked at accessibility in website development, design, management, and even social media. This experience combined with the recent news of the resignation of WordPress Accessibility Team lead Rian Rietveld had me thinking about what is happening right now with accessibility in UX design.

The first thing I noticed in my search and research was accessibility made an appearance in many, many pieces on 2018 trends. This was true for us in our article UX in 2018: Design, Development, and Accessibility. The next interesting aspect of my search was that with all these articles professing the 2018 trend, I saw fewer articles for the rest of 2018 than I expected.

Accessibility is by no means a new topic in UX Design, but it changes and evolves in the same way our technology does. It’s a conversation we must continue having as new technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality become more common and expansive in our experiences.

Here is a roundup of great reads on accessible design from 2018.

Accessibility is far more than just “design for blind people.” Brandon Gregory highlights cognitive differences and/or disabilities like inattention, anxiety, and depression. Considering elements such as forms, motion, and even whether or not to provide chat-based customer service are important in designing inclusive experiences. “Inclusive design is designing to be inclusive of as many users as possible, considering all aspects of diversity in users.”

“Digital accessibility refers to the practice of building digital content and applications that can be used by a wide range of people, including individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities.” Pablo Stanley is here to show you that accessible design doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. He provides seven easy-to-implement guidelines to design a more accessible web including “don’t use color alone to make critical information understandable.”

Persons with disabilities are the largest minority in the world. “On average, people who are 70 years old or older will spend eight years as individuals with disabilities.” Ruby Zheng highlights how to use personas to start thinking about accessibility and the two models of how disability is perceived by society. This is a great primer for understanding who you’re designing for and why it’s important to focus on inclusive and accessible design.

Ben Sheldon took all of the conversations and experiences over the years advocating accessibility features and imagined them applied to responsive design in this quick read that highlights the struggle some designers face over time and budget for accessibility. “Over and over again I see organizations fall into an approach that places accessibility as an implementation detail to be addressed at the end of the product development process.”

Do you need answers to the objections to accessible design you hear? Yvonne Romano highlights some of the most common and the common sense answers to each for turning those challenges into positive change.

Are you ready to lead a conservation or movement in accessibility for your organization? Beth Raduenzel has you covered. You’ll be armed with benefits of accessible experiences to share with leadership, information on how to build a team to advance and champion accessibility, a list of places to start, and more.

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