A audio series following upon their critically acclaimed book, A Web for Everyone, Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery speak with UX and Accessibility experts to explore how we as a field grow towards universal design, without sacrificing design or innovation, with practical advice and examples of how to create sites that everyone can use.
Researching Daily Life
Accessibility is often focused on how to design and build digital products or physical spaces. But understanding the people with disabilities who will use those products is just as important. Enter ethnography and the importance of research that goes “face to face” with real people in the real world.
WordPress powers over 25 million sites with more than 14 billion pages viewed each month, making it one of the most popular web publishing platforms. Imagine if every one of those sites was accessible. Joe O’Connor has been a leader in making that happen, through the WordPress accessibility team which works from the inside to make WordPress into a web publishing platform for everyone.
Web accessibility takes place on a foundation of technologies, the most common of which are developed and maintained by the Worldwide Web Consortium, or W3C. Its success is dependent on how well these underlying technologies support accessible user experiences. Fortunately for us, people like Steve Faulkner devote much of their time to ensure technology specifications, such as HTML5, include the hooks that make it possible to build an accessible and enjoyable user experience for everyone.
Accessibility Research Methods
Accessibility research can help us better understand how people with disabilities use the web and what we in product design and development can do to make that experience more successful and enjoyable. However, accessibility research is often carried out in academia. The valuable insights gained through research are shared and built upon among scholars, but often do not make their way into the practice of people who are designing and building digital products and services.
If you work in user experience or accessibility, you probably spend part of your time on advocacy–making the case for a new design idea or a new way of working. Lawsuits are the ultimate way to get two sides to come to an agreement, but it’s also an extremely confrontational style of advocacy. A more collaborative process might be a better way to reach your goal with an agreement that is a win for everyone.
If you work in media broadcasting or telecommunications you have probably heard of the U.S. legislation called CVAA, shorthand for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. This law, signed by President Obama in October 2010, seeks to ensure that accessibility requirements keep pace with advances in communication technologies.