Designing an accessible user experience is not complicated. Have you ever had an experience where you were unable to access information on a website? Or something prevented you from completing an action online?
Welcome to the world of accessibility and inclusive design.
A real-life situation
Before the Internet came about, to make phone calls, I used something called a TTY 1. This type of technology requires another TTY to communicate with. This often meant using my portable TTY to make a call using the relay services for the Deaf and hard of hearing.
Now I can use the Internet to make phone calls from anywhere. In the beginning, I made these calls either from my laptop or a different computer connected to the Internet. Eventually, as wireless technology evolved, I began using it on my smartphone.
It does take some time developing these types of technology. Fortunately, the developers figured out how to make every day phone calls accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing users. As a result, the Internet became more inclusive.
Why accessibility matters
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 provides information that allows us to make our websites accessible to everyone including people with disabilities.
At first glance, their website can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. It all starts with understanding the four principles that guide their documentation. Perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. The guideline is mostly geared towards web designers and developers who have at the minimum a basic understanding about coding.
These guidelines sound a little complicated but it’s really a matter of framing it which Deque University does an excellent job with.
About Deque University
As part of my professional development goals, I’m enrolled in Deque University. Deque University is an extension of Deque Systems where the focus is on finding and fixing accessibility issues on websites and mobile apps.
About the Accessibility Fundamentals program
Deque University’s Accessibility Fundamentals program is designed for everyone. It goes beyond the basics that are covered in a lot of articles online. This certificate is the first of the four topics listed below.
UX Notice: Each certificate below is linked to my post for that certification.
- Accessibility Fundamentals – Disabilities, Guidelines, and Laws
- Designing an Accessible User Experience
- Basic Web and Document Accessibility for Content Contributors
- Section 508: Fundamentals of the Law and Technical Standards
What this certificate covers
Deque University provides a certificate for completion for each course in their program. Here’s a list of topics covered in this course 2.
- Accessibility and Inclusive Design
- Avoid Exclusive Design Patterns
- Embrace Diversity
- Create Inclusive Design
- Rethinking “Affordances”
- The Challenge of User Generated Content
- Web Design by Consideration, By Disability Types
- Basic Web Accessibility Checklist for Designers
Why this course is awesome
The three common terms you will notice over and over are listed below with their definition.
- Inclusive Design
- A design methodology that seeks to enable and to accommodate the full range of human diversity, including a wide spectrum of abilities and disabilities. The main goal is to create a unified approach to design that enables multiple methods to access the same functionality.
- The qualities that make a web experience available to the widest possible group of users. Web accessibility refers to the end result of an inclusive design process.
- The qualities that make a web experience intuitive and easy to use. A usable web design aligns with the purpose for which the web site was created.
Deque University. Retrieved on November 06, 2019.
One of the hazards of social media is the incorrect use of terminology. Accessibility, inclusive design, and usability do overlap. However, they are distinctively separate from a design and development standpoint.
This particular course straightened me out on the difference between the terminology.
My Certificate of Completion
There’s a popular saying, “Show, don’t tell.”
With that said, I’m displaying my certificate here.
When it comes to designing a website, there are various starting points but the bottom line is this.
Designing a website for an accessible user experience should be the first foremost thought in mind. By designing for everyone, you achieve a greater chance of converting visitors into returning users. Returning users are a sure sign of loyalty.
Without returning users, you will have a difficult time sustaining your website’s traffic abilities.
Your insights matters
As a Deaf developer, accessibility is important to me regardless of whether it is online or in the real world. I would love to learn more from you about why accessibility matters to you. Whether it’s something you experience on a daily basis or randomly, feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
The more we all learn, the more we all can educate others.
- National Association of the Deaf: TTY and TTY Relay Services
- Deque University Accessibility Fundamentals: Disabilities, Guidelines, and Laws