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UX & A11Y: How a Wake-up Call "Flipped it"


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Presentation delivered by Lisa Barnett during Ignite Session at 2012 Usability Professionals Association in Las Vegas, NV.

Topic: Leveraging an Accessibility Wake-up Call to Drive UX within an Organization

Published in: Design, Technology
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UX & A11Y: How a Wake-up Call "Flipped it"

  1. 1. UX and A11Y:How a wake-up call “Flipped It” Driving UX with Accessibility UPA 2012, Las Vegas, NV
  2. 2. Me, in a nut shell• UX Consulting and design• Web Accessibility Advocacy and Consulting• UX Architect• C.U.A. and M.F.A.• Focus Areas: Inclusive Design, Accessibility, Systems Approaches, UX Infrastructure• Instituted a Web Accessibility Program at a Fortune 100 Health Insurance Company
  3. 3. The UX Honeycomb Usability and accessibility are both useful components of the usable desirable User Experience valuable Honeycomb* findable accessible credible But accessibility is often a “nice to have.”*attributed to Peter Morville
  4. 4. Inclusive Design ApproachLots of carrots! Photo:
  5. 5. Then came a wake up call“We need to confirmyour site meets ourfederal accessibilityrequirements.”
  6. 6. I’d been handed a stick Accessibility is now a legal requirement.
  7. 7. The honeycomb had shiftedIf you can’t access it, accessibleYou can’t use it. useful usable desirable valuable findable credible
  8. 8. I realized it could flip it• UX now part of A11y• A11y was a driver• User-centered standards• Testable as requirements
  9. 9. Mapping UX to A11Y Inclusive Design Principles: WCAG 2.0 Guidelines: – Equitable use – Perceivable – Flexible in use – Operable – Simple and intuitive – Understandable – Perceivable info – Robust – Tolerance for error – Low physical effort – Size and space for approach and use
  10. 10. Keeping the focus on users• Technical compliance is not enough• Must test on real users with disabilities, using assistive technologies• Invite developers to watch disabled users testing the pages• Take stewardship of accessibility to avoid code-centered accessibility
  11. 11. Collaborating and partneringPotential advocates:• IT• Sales & Marketing• Legal & Compliance• Purchasing
  12. 12. How big is the problem?
  13. 13. Now fix it!•Pressure helped me•Resources were made available•I had authority I’d never had before!•IT was teaching me how to write standards so that they could interpret them•Partnerships paid off
  14. 14. Cross-referrals While we’re under the hood . . . Photo:
  15. 15. Now, how to build these pages?•Steep learning curve•All team members required training, especially developers•UX collaborated closely with IT•Accessible code libraries and code standards were created•Each consecutive site would be easier and faster to create, and require less testing
  16. 16. Did we do it right?
  17. 17. No wake-up call at your company? • Even if you’re not in a high-stakes game with the government, this approach can still be relevant • There’s a big wave coming that can help you make your case
  18. 18. Getting Started • Socialize “Silver Tsunami” concept – 72 Million Boomers are at or near retirement age – They have a lot of buying power – Very comfortable online – Don‘t think of themselves as disabled – Opportunity to lay a foundation to support these users
  19. 19. Getting Started• Assess and scope• Get professional help• Talk to people who have done this before• Get involved in the a11y community: – Twitter: #a11y – Web Axe blog & podcasts: – Annual CSUN Conference: – AccessU:
  20. 20. Thank you! Lisa