How can we enhance user experience across-the-board, improving people's ability to engage, share, and take action? It starts with a real understanding of our users. All of them.
Becoming familiar with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and gathering a bunch of helpful tips like the ones Joe detailed in Part 2, is a great start. But the most essential foundation to build if you’re going to design more inclusive and effective digital experiences is a comprehensive picture of exactly how a lack of accessibility affects people. That foundation gives us the knowledge and the purpose to be as innovative as we possibly can.
We’ve found no better starting point than a smart, clear and unbelievably helpful post by Anne Gibson called “An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues.” We’re grateful to have found it, and thankful to Anne for allowing us to reference her work for you here.
An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues
by Anne Gibson
A is blind, and has been since birth. He’s always used a screen reader, and always used a computer. He’s a programmer, and he’s better prepared to use the web than most of the others on this list.
B fell down a hill while running to close his car windows in the rain, and fractured multiple fingers. He’s trying to surf the web with his left hand and the keyboard.
C has a blood cancer. She’s been on chemo for a few months and, despite being an MD, is finding it harder and harder to remember things, read, or have a conversation. It’s called chemo brain. She’s frustrated because she’s becoming more and more reliant on her smart phone for taking notes and keeping track of things at the same time that it’s getting harder and harder for her to use.
D is color blind. Most websites think of him, but most people making PowerPoint presentations or charts and graphs at work do not.
E has Cystic Fibrosis, which causes him to spend two to three hours a day wrapped in respiratory therapy equipment that vibrates his chest and makes him cough. As an extension, it makes his arms and legs shake, so he sometimes prefers to use the keyboard or wait to do tasks that require a steady touch with a mouse. He also prefers his tablet over his laptop because he can take it anywhere more conveniently, and it’s easier to clean germs off of.
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