In human–computer interaction, the term accessibility (often abbreviated as a11y, where the number 11 denotes to the number of letters omitted) refers to the ease of use of a computer system to all people, regardless of disability type or severity of impairment.
There are many disabilities or impairments that can be a barrier to effective computer use. These impairments, which can be acquired from disease, trauma, or may be congenital, include but are not limited to:
- Cognitive impairments and learning disabilities (like dyslexia)
- Visual impairment (like color blindness)
- Hearing-related disabilities
- Motor or dexterity impairment (like repetitive strain injury)
To design for accessibility means to be inclusive to the needs of your users. This includes your target users, users outside of your target demographic, users with disabilities, and even users from different cultures and countries. Understanding those needs is the key to crafting better and more accessible experiences for them.
In his book The Art of Game Design, Jesse Schell talks about how different perspectives or lenses helps create better design. He describes a lens as “a narrowed filter through which a topic can be considered or examined.”
Let’s view the plethora of accessibility with the help of the following lenses
Though it is true that Accessibility is solved at the design stage, it has become difficult for many organizations to include an ideal inclusive design mechanism into their product development. As a result organizations mostly resort to accessibility testing and fixing the issues as an afterthought.
In my next post, I am going to share our experience in fixing accessibility issues we identified on an enterprise platform product. Stay tuned.