Accessibility Discovery

21 November 2019 - Harjit Dhanda & Keith Allan

A crowded room in discussion
Accessibility Discovery

What can we say about our first WUD experience? As relative newcomers to the world of accessibility and user experience, we were not quite sure what to expect but were excited to learn and share experiences with like-minded people.

World Usability Day is a huge event, not only for User Vision but for the wider UX community in Edinburgh and beyond. This year’s theme for World Usability Day was ‘Designing for the future we want’. With accessibility and usability at the forefront of the work we do at User Vision, the theme fitted perfectly with our offering.

Our WUD activity was called ‘Accessible Design with WCAG 2.1’. A topic which can sometimes seem a little dry, was transformed by an activity with interactive equipment to simulate different types of visual impairments and simulation gloves to represent a motor impairment such as arthritis.

This engaging activity got people thinking about how individuals with different impairments have specific requirements when it comes to accessing digital products. This sparked some great discussions about applying WCAG 2.1 guidelines and their importance when designing digital products and how barriers can be avoided.

A crowd of people at World Usability Day 2019 Accessibility Discovery at World Usability Day 2019

The activity was a great talking point with our WUD participants and guests. The room was buzzing with conversations about the new Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations(this will open in a new window) which make WCAG 2.1 a legal requirement and how different organizations are working to meet these requirements.

We also chatted about the services that User Vision offer, including accessibility audits, development and training sessions for designers and developers and user testing. These services aim to help organisations adopt accessible design thinking and implement accessible design experiences for everyone.

It was great to gather different perspectives about accessibility, there was discussion about the notion of empathy and how simulating disabilities can often result in different reactions from individuals. We felt that the activity was a way of raising awareness of accessibility, but most importantly, it is essential to take the time to get to know users and understand their needs.

All in all, a fantastic day of meeting UX professionals from around the UK and spreading the good word of accessibility. Roll on WUD 2020.

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