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Avoid turning users away: Making inclusive design and content decisions

The Higher Ed community has come such a long way in using accessible and inclusive web design, but so much of the language we use, and so many of the web conventions we rely on, are still stuck in the past. We might be turning away prospects, in both student applicant and hiring processes, but with a thoughtful eye to our language choices, and a few updates to our web design, we can be much more inclusive.

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Avoid turning users away: Making inclusive design and content decisions

  1. 1. Avoid turning users away Making inclusive design and content decisions Mark H. Anbinder Cornell University @mhaithaca
  2. 2. Rethinking Gender • Do your forms need to ask about gender? • How are we using gender info that's collected? • How are we using titles or greetings like Mr., Mrs., Miss., Ms., Dr., and so on?
  3. 3. Rethinking Gender • There are use cases for collecting gender and identity for statistical purposes. • Be clear about what you're looking for and why. • Be as complete as possible and allow for self-description Source:
  4. 4. Rethinking Forms • Long pop-up lists for picking a state work fine if you're from California. Go figure! Not so much for New York or the back half of the alphabet. • Same goes for pop-up lists for picking a birth year for those older than 25. (At least most such menus allow typing!)
  5. 5. Rethinking Identity • Who do we turn away when we ask for just First Name and Last Name on a web form? • Many cultures have names of three, four, five or more parts • Who do we turn away when field validation doesn't allow punctuation, accents, etc.? When we insist a name must be at least three characters? No more than twelve? Source:
  6. 6. Rethinking Identity • Consider why we've been asking for First Name & Last Name and how we might do without them • Sorting • Greetings • Printed lists • Try new ways of using old fields, as HighEdWeb has
  7. 7. Rethinking Language • Gone are the days of “he or she” in text. Or are they? • Long gone are the days of the presumptive "he" • Using singular "they" Source:
  8. 8. Rethinking Language • When talking about our area's history, are we respecting cultures who came before us? • Are we being respectful of all cultures who share our campus community?
  9. 9. What about accessibility? This is vital! But it's being well covered elsewhere this week.
  10. 10. We have a long way to go ...but we're getting there!