20 May 2021
The future of design needs to be accessible and inclusive – We as designers must advocate for solving problems with accessibility at the forefront and adapt the way we work with disabilities in mind.
What is Accessibility in Digital Design?
Reflecting on the past year, the pandemic’s effect on my job as UX & UI Designer has made me realise just how much we can adapt the way we work. The pandemic has forced many companies to accept working from home as the new ‘norm’. Before the 2020 pandemic, working from home was seen as a perk that some companies offered. Now we are in May 2021, where most designers have been working from home for a full year.
More inclusive work environments
Many different disabilities make being able to work and commute to an office 5 days a week extremely difficult. Creating a more inclusive working environment has not taken away from the task at hand: getting a job done. There have been many benefits to remote working. Many studies have shown that there has been an increase in productivity with remote working. We can adapt the way we work and improve business; it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
It is time for businesses to accept accessibility as best practice and an essential part of designing products. There are many reasons companies and designers should define accessibility as a must-have, not just a nice-to-have idea.
Accessible design means more customers
There are many different types of disabilities, ranging from temporary disability to permanent disability, disabilities that occur later in life or being born with a disability. However, being disabled or differently abled does not mean someone should be excluded from using a product. In other words, it means we need to improve the user experience so more people, no matter the kind disability they have, can use a product.
Companies should provide solutions for all customers and not leave out a user group because of their disabilities. There are over 1 billion people living with disabilities around the world. This accounts for 15% of the world’s population. Our job as UX designers is to identify pain points in user experiences and provide solutions. Therefore, if we are not designing with accessibility in mind we are creating pain points for a whole user group. We need to design products and spaces that are accessible from the beginning.
Accessibility should not be an afterthought
Fixing an accessibility issue can cost more resources than designing for accessibility. Starting with accessible design saves money. However, if we design with accessibility in mind, companies can avoid extra costs and get more users to stay on their sites.
Accessibility guidelines and standards
A good place to start is with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Designers should incorporate accessibility standards in each task we perform. We can (and should) adapt the process.
In the past year, I have heard many people say, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal” or “I guess this is our new normal.” But we as a society define what normal means. Therefore, as designers, we can define embracing inclusivity and accessible design as the new norm. I have so much to learn when it comes to accessible design but seeing how we can adapt the way we work to be more inclusive makes me feel hopeful for the future of accessible design.
This is such a vast topic, but luckily there are multiple resources to help us understand accessibility in digital design.
Accessibility in Digital Design at Integrove
At Integrove we strive to always design with best practice in mind, and we want to make sure what we are designing is accessible.
Let Integrove help your business be future-safe with accessible design.