“Inclusivity” and “accessibility” (I&A) are words that I come across more frequently lately. Since they have become a daily topic in society it seems their popularity is increasing in the digital world as well. In different design webinars, conferences, TED talks and (for which I’m glad) also in my company denkwerk, these pressing topics appear to be more present than ever before.
The details I had already learned about I&A so far triggered my interest and I wanted to dive in and learn more.
But where to begin?
It seemed like the DesignOps conference, which this year assembled people from all over the world under the topic of “accessibility and inclusivity – Design for all” was worth a try, so I decided to join. I wasn’t disappointed! I found valuable talks every day, but the most interesting and inspiring were the sessions under the topic of, “ResearchOps – Researching for inclusivity”. Quite the eye-opener for me was Jennifer Robinson-Bird & Laura Sowman’s presentation on “Operationalising inclusive research: You can’t boil the ocean”. It gave me not only a good overview but also valuable tips on how to begin integrating inclusive research into my workflow.
They started to describe just the situation that I found myself in: overwhelmed by the topic, insecure of how and where to begin. The phrase
“Break the barrier and start with one small thing”
started to become increasingly clear to me with each time I heard similar statements in presentations throughout the following days.
Making obvious UI adjustments like adding a label to the “X”- Close Button, will already make it more usable for people with visual problems using a screen reader. Understand who will be impacted negatively if they’re not considered. Not only people with different capacities but also life situations, gender, employment status, age, wealth etc. and accordingly recruit an inclusive team of testers. Think about situations in which the product will probably be used in, right from the beginning.
One of the most important takeaways for me, that also appeared in several talks, was the
message to make inclusivity and accessibility a part of the whole design workflow. It’s not an extra on top. Actually, it’s quite the opposite and in some cases even a legal requirement, which must be considered in all steps of the process.
Design can close doors the same way than it can open them! I as a designer have it in my hands to open the door and make the product usable for as many people as possible. If one person cannot use the product, it is not a failure of the person – but the design. Inclusivity” and “accessibility” are all about finding solutions.
Since I’m still just scratching on the surface of this iceberg, I would have appreciated personal discussions or breakout rooms during the conference, to connect with other interested people with their own experiences.
I hope to include I&A successfully into my daily workflow and create better solutions. By not only finding allies with the same mindset, but also working with experts. Let’s see how this will work out!
So, let’s go and open as many doors as possible!