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Accessible Design: Designing for Humans

Accessible Design: Designing for Humans

I presented this as part of Triangle UXPA's lightning talk series on accessibility. (https://triuxpa.org/event-4264789)

Designing for accessibility isn’t a matter of checking off boxes to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It’s about designing for all humans regardless of their impairments. We want everyone to have usable experiences with our sites or apps. In this talk, I cover top tips for accessible design for humans.

If you're interested in a deeper dive on accessibility, check out my SkillShare class: https://skl.sh/2FOSfcp

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Michelle Chin

April 29, 2021
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Transcript

  1. ACCESSIBLE DESIGN: DESIGNING FOR HUMANS MICHELLE CHIN PRINCIPAL DESIGN OPS

    MANAGER CITRIX
  2. • Learned accessibility through QA testing • 10+ years on

    digital projects for federal agencies • Department of Homeland Security • Federal Aviation Administration • Export-Import Bank of the U.S. • Department of Labor • and… some I can’t mention MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN HELLO! ABOUT ME
  3. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN WHO’S OUR AUDIENCE FOR ACCESSIBILITY? •

    People with visual impairments 
 (partial/complete vision loss, color blindness, elderly eyes) • People with hearing impairments 
 (partial/complete loss) • People with motor skill impairments 
 (arthritis, missing limbs, broken f ingers, carpal tunnel) • People with cognitive impairments 
 (brain injuries, reading in a non-native language)
  4. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN AS HUMANS, WHEN USING APPS/SITES: •

    We don’t want to be lost • We don’t want our brain to explode • We don’t want to be confused or frustrated • Sometimes our impairments might make this more challenging, but not impossible!
  5. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN WE DESIGN TO MEET STANDARDS •

    “We can just say in the VPAT* that it passes with some exceptions.” • “Does this pass the checker? Ok cool.” • “This validation test in our code will make sure there’s alt text for every image.” • “Yay, we’re being accessible!” *VPAT - Voluntary Product Accessibility Template 
 a report that explains how accessible a product is 
 by federal government standards.
  6. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN IN REALITY, WE OFTEN DESIGN FOR:

    WHO’RE WE REALLY BEING ACCESSIBLE FOR? • That 3rd party accessibility audit company • WAVE Web Accessibility Tool • Color contrast analyzing tools • Validation tests
  7. WE FORGET TO DESIGN FOR THE HUMANS WHO NEED ACCESSIBILITY!

  8. DESIGNING FOR HUMANS: 4 GUIDELINES

  9. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN 1. BE LOGICAL AND METHODICAL –

    NO SURPRISES People naturally try to form mental models to use a site/app quickly. Consistency and predictability allow us to focus on successfully navigating, comprehending content, and completing tasks. When the unexpected happens, we can become confused, disoriented, and frustrated with our experience. 

  10. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: 1. BE LOGICAL AND

    METHODICAL – NO SURPRISES • Does my design include a logical information hierarchy and mental model that people can easily follow? • Are the developers coding with semantic elements (e.g., form, table, H1, etc.) and ARIA attributes to provide the right context to screen reader users? • Did I design a focus state that is conspicuous?
  11. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: 1. BE LOGICAL AND

    METHODICAL – NO SURPRISES • Annotate the navigation order of your designs to ensure logical navigation for screen reader or keyboard-only users • Usability test to con f irm: • There’s a clear mental model • Interactions don’t surprise, and • Successfully usage via keyboard-only or screen readers • If your product is more complex, consider keyboard shortcuts 
 (Test them to con f irm their usability!)
  12. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN 2. DON’T MAKE ME THINK –

    TOO MUCH! Being informative is great, but there can be too much of a good thing. Too much information leads to cognitive overload.
  13. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: 2. DON’T MAKE ME

    THINK – TOO MUCH! • Did I provide enough color contrast with elements? • Am I providing just the right amount of context? • Can I reduce the writing (again)? • Did I use headings, numbered/bulleted lists, shorter sentences? • Did I write in plain language?
  14. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: 2. DON’T MAKE ME

    THINK – TOO MUCH! • Read your writing out loud. 
 (Did it sound smooth; did you trip on your words?) • Use the Hemingway app or Grammarly to practice conciseness • Provide skip nav or skip to main content links • Make sure your copy and alt text compliment; rather than duplicate each other
  15. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN EXAMPLE: 2. DON’T MAKE ME THINK

    – TOO MUCH! Bad Example: Copy: The Belcher family includes Bob, Linda, and their three kids: Gene, Louise, and Tina. Alt text: A family portrait of the Belchers starting with the back row, left to right: Bob, Linda; front row left to right: Gene, Louise, and Tina. Good Example: Copy: The Belcher family includes Bob, Linda, and their three kids: Gene, Louise, and Tina. Alt text: The Belcher family
  16. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN 3. LEAN ON ALTERNATIVES Designing for

    accessibility isn’t about brute forcing accessibility into your app or site. It’s about providing equivalent alternatives. Equivalent alternatives are substitute options that allow people with impairments to obtain the same information or complete the same tasks successfully. These alternatives don’t have to equate to equivalent experiences.
  17. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: 3. LEAN ON ALTERNATIVES

    • Did I include alternatives so people can only use a keyboard? 
 (Don’t forget keyboard-friendly options for hover interactions!) • For visual elements, do I provide another visual distinction beyond color? • Is my alt text meaningful and relevant? For complicated images, did I provide alternative descriptions? • For video and audio, did I provide captioning, transcripts, or visual descriptions?
  18. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: 3. LEAN ON ALTERNATIVES

    • If you’re feeling frustrated, take a step back. Reframe this challenge and get creative with alternatives. It might help to think about the initial goal. • Test with a screen reader to ensure your alternative is usable. • Leverage component libraries to scale some aspects • Document your approaches so you and others can bene f it
  19. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN 4. MAKE IT PART OF YOUR

    PROCESS Creating accessible solutions can be di ff icult, but you don’t have to be alone in the process. • Share your work in design reviews and critiques • Collaborate with engineers • Discuss with other designers in the community • Team up with a local organization
  20. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN ASK YOURSELF: 4. MAKE IT PART

    OF YOUR PROCESS • Who might be able to help me with this (interaction, f low, pattern, etc.)? • What have others done? 
 (You can f ind so many answers via Google!) • Did I document this so others know how we’re approaching accessibility?
  21. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN TOP TIPS: 4. MAKE IT PART

    OF YOUR PROCESS • Include accessibility in your design system components and usage guidelines • Try using assistive tech - screen readers, accessibility settings on devices, etc. • Keep up with online resources • Use accessibility tools (WAVE tool, etc.) to gut check your work • Just because [insert big tech company name] didn’t make something accessible, doesn’t mean you should look the other way, too.
  22. MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN IN SUMMARY: 1. Be logical and

    methodical – no surprises! 2. Don’t make me think – too much! 3. Lean on alternatives 4. Make this part of your process
  23. WHEN DESIGNING FOR ACCESSIBILITY, DESIGN FOR HUMANS

  24. Learn more details about accessible design from my SkillShare class!

    Understanding UX/UI Design for Accessibility: Design an accessible web page! 2-week free trial: https://skl.sh/2FOSfcp 
 (Full disclosure, I do get a kickback) Slide deck: bit.ly/a11y4humans MICHELLE CHIN / @SOYSAUCECHIN THANKS!