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Creative South 2019 Notes

Creative South 2019

Cat Noone - Accessibility

Accessibility and Inclusivity is a big topic. Biggest problem is that people are scared to reach out and ask questions.

Conversation around heavy topics needs to be had but it’s hard to do on the internet, needs to be done face to face.

We have a responsibility as a community to hold each other accountable, and push our benchmark for world class design higher.

Important to hold each other accountable — it’s how we get better.

We have opportunity to design the hardware/software to move progress forward.

Data shows that half the increase in child survival rates happen because their mother can read and write.

Education has done this.

Accessible and inclusive design is a part of the product foundation - not a feature to be considered and added later.

Misconception for what accessible and inclusive design is. When we say accessibility we think disability but that’s not all of it. When we make something accessible we give access.

It’s saying you may not want right now, but if you do later the door is open. It does not take any effort to be involved.

Accessibility is something that doesn’t get baked into the workflow. Or if they haven’t done in the beginning, it’s cleanup.

This is ethical, we shouldn’t be doing this for the money. But data prevails.

Start process in the beginning, it’s very hard to change DNA. By starting early you can bake in the process which allows it to:

  • Become a part of your design system
  • Be a part of design thinking
  • Etc.

Capitalize on native patterns, give them soul

Things like bootstrap and material design, solid bases to work with. Take that and give them character. Just because you design for accessibility and have constraints doesn’t mean you have to make something ugly.

Give your products soul. Inject your brand into them. Just because they give a blue doesn’t mean you keep it that way.

Write good alt text

Just write good text. Clear over clever. Content is king. Make it clear. Provide actionable.

Colors matter and so does contrast

Lesson: take your design and go outside with it. Conditions where lighting may not be the best.

Make sure you’re using colors that look great.

Layouts should be consistent and clear

Navigation that’s understandable. We try to get clever to introduce new patterns in terms of experience, but humans in general, we love patterns. We love predictability. Predictability = money.

Use proper states and hierarchy

From typography to the way we allow someone to scan through our page/app. Have hover state, click state.

Support assistive tech and keyboard navigation

Apple and google provide technologies to do this. If there’s nothing else you do support this.

We emphasize the importance of our design and succeeding across platforms but don’t spend enough time ensuring our design succeeds across abilities.

There are a variety of different abilities Visual, tactile, speech, neurological, auditory. So many things in design that we can use, in terms of constraints and technologies. Using assistive technology, being able to see design, providing haptic feedback.

Spend time actually figuring out who’s using your product.

Herbal essence has changed bottle to have tactile difference between shampoo and conditioner.

We forget about the neophytes who struggle to use the latest technology, or software not yet translated. One of the biggest misconceptions is cognitive abilities. It is stressful for not just individuals who have TBI. Traumatic brain injuries. Autism community prefers identity first: autistic. Be mindful of trying to figure out how to make things fast, speed up processing. Design and code. Even on design side add animation to make it feel faster.

Translation is another. So many countries that would love to capitalize on using products we create. Involving community, people see when it’s a mission driven product. People are good, they want to help. Reach out to people using your product who are outside and ask if they’re willing to contribute to localize.

There’s no better way to measure the effectiveness of your design than to have an individual with disability to test it.

Tools to help build an accessible product

  • WACG, stark, Microsoft inclusive design, contrast, empathy prompts, 18f, a11y style guide, and more...
  • Empathy prompts simulate what it’s like to use your browser (chrome extension) and content through eyes of individual with dyslexia, epilepsy, etc. Not allow you to live the life they live but gives you a taste
  • 18f agency outside of government contracted by government to work on things inside government.

Accessible and inclusive design map quite nicely with business goals.

Doing this is free of charge. (Designing for accessibility and inclusivity) Design the big picture. Talk in money to show value of accessibility.

  • Increase market reach (given 1B people worldwide have a disability)
    • expanding market (includes localizing)
  • Makes your brand look good
  • Showcase proposed profit and loss.
    • enough lawsuits cases out there you can present.
  • Minimize the legal risk
    • part of loss

How to start after given green light:

  1. Talk to people, reach out.

How am I contributing to creating the conditions that I don’t want? How have I been complicit? - Jerry Colonnade (business consultant)

A sustainable solution to making experiences accessible and inclusive will happen only when people of privilege choose to dismantle a system that makes them feel special and powerful.

I hope all of you in here who are privileged, use moments like this and take that privilege and provide people a voice that would otherwise not have them. Help move a group of people forward.

Privilege is powerful, use it for good.

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