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Accessibility

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. (source: Wikipedia)

Accessibility for visual design

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

Understand the social needs for accessibility in UX design

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

Accessibility is part of UX (it isn’t a swear word)

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

Accessibility First for a Better User Experience for All

“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 ~ UXmatters)

Access Ability: A practical handbook on accessible graphic design PDF Logo

“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)

Usable Accessibility: Making Web Sites Work Well for People with Disabilities

“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 QuesenberyUXmatters)

Accessible Web 2.0 Applications with WAI-ARIA

“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 KliehmA List Apart)

Ensuring Accessibility for People With Color-Deficient Vision

“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-PetitUXmatters)

Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications

“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)

Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA: Alternatives to Visual Turing Tests on the Web

“A common method of limiting access to services made available over the Web is visual verification of a bitmapped image. This presents a major problem to users who are blind, have low vision, or have a learning disability such as dyslexia. This document examines a number of potential solutions that allow systems to test for human users while preserving access by users with disabilities.” (W3C) – courtesy of accessify

Introduction to Web Accessibility

“Most people today can hardly conceive of life without the Internet. It provides access to information, news, email, shopping, and entertainment. The Internet, with its ability to serve out information at any hour of the day or night about practically any topic conceivable, has become a way of life for an impatient, information-hungry generation. Some have argued that no other single invention has been more revolutionary since that of Gutenberg’s original printing press in the mid 1400s. Now, at the click of a mouse, the world can be ‘at your fingertips’ – that is, if you can use a mouse… and if you can see the screen… and if you can hear the audio – in other words, if you don’t have a disability of any kind.” – (Paul Bohman – uiGarden.net)

Web Accessibility: A Broader View

“In this paper, we take a broader view, discussing an approach that costs developers less and provides greater advantages to a larger community of users. While we have quite specific aims in our technical work, we hope it can also serve as an example of how the technical conversation regarding Web accessibility can move beyond the narrow confines of limited adaptations for small populations.” (John T. Richards and Vicki L. Hanson – IBM Accessibility Center) – courtesy of joeclark