As designers, or anyone within a creative discipline, our number one goal above everything is to produce something that is inclusive and accessible to your audience.
For many years, accessibility in design has come as somewhat of an afterthought. It’s not until recently, with the introduction of new legislation and theories behind accessible design, that it has truly come to the forefront of the design world.
But why should accessibility be a key component of design?
Accessibility in its most basic form is simply a function of access.
Accessibility is often discussed in reference to a singular product, but nowadays, those products and digital services are intertwined and often part of a bigger ecosystem.
We can find more and more of these ecosystems in our homes today. Whether that be using voice interfaces to turn on a lightbulb or your phone to access your car, designers have to consider how these individual components can work together as one.
At its heart, accessibility is a driver for human-centred innovation.
Designing with accessibility in mind forces us to engage with and better understand our audience – including those who don’t have disabilities.
As well as this, it’s key to understand that accessible design has the power to create entirely new possibilities for many users. Why not make the most of it?
Although there are no specific guidelines or rules for accessible design, being aware of some guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Device-specific guidelines, or the European accessibility act can be a good start.
Follow the POUR principle:
Often, there is more than one way to provide access so it’s key that designers understand the basic principles of accessibility, how to identify those problems, and how to solve them. This is where the POUR principles come in:
Perceivable – the user can identify content and elements, whether it’s visual, sounds or touch.
Operable – the user can use controls, buttons, and other interactive elements
Understandable – the user can understand the format and presentation and learn how to use the interface.
Robust – the product is designed to function on all appropriate technologies.
The only real tool for finding solutions is empathy. Not only is it a critical stage in the design thinking process, but empathy is the cornerstone of human-centred design. Though it’s a skill we’ll never truly embody, take time to sit down at the level of the user and talk with mutual understanding.
Are you looking to elevate your brand with more inclusive and accessible design?
Get in touch with the RedKnows team today.