An Accessible World - Industry Insights from Akendi
12/06/18

Accessibility has become a hot topic in the design world. Jessica Murray, Visual Designer at Akendi, shares insight into how we can design and plan for it. In a diverse world like ours, we need to support a wide range of users so that we can create exceptional experiences for them. Our goal as designers should be to make experiences that empower all users and not only some users.

 

A study done by statistic Canada in 2012 found that 13.7% of the population lives with some kind of disability, so you can assume that means part of your user base has special needs. In reality, if we make things accessible, then we are making things better for 100% of our users.

 

One problem though! We lack empathy for people who are living with disabilities in the way we talk about meeting their needs. Often, public organizations are mandated to be “accessible”. When organizations talk about accessibility as a requirement, they lose sight of why they would be willing to make something accessible. They use design and development processes to ensure they are compliant with outlined government rules which helps them become accessible. But where is the humanity in this approach?

 

Check out some of these inspiring organizations who are devoted to creating an inclusive and accessible world: 

 

Accessible Icon Project

The Accessible Icon Project goal is to create a more accessible world rethinking the image of the well-known wheelchair icon. Leveraging design activism they are challenging society’s perception of the capabilities of people with disabilities.

 

Stop Gap Foundation

If you live in Toronto, you’ve probably seen a stop gap ramp in action. They provide custom made ramps for business across Canada that are not wheelchair accessible.

 

Made by Dyslexia

A global charity lead by famous dyslexic people such as Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin. Made by Dyslexia’s main goal is to raise awareness about dyslexia, removing the stigma that people with learning disabilities are at a disadvantage and cannot be successful.

 

Rogers & The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund
Recently, Akendi partnered with Rogers and The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund to conduct research with low ­sighted and non-sighted TV users. What we found was that the set-top-box and remote didn’t support these users at all and left them alienated and frustrated. Rogers is currently working towards making a more accessible TV experience for all users. You can download and read the report here.

 

If we stop thinking about accessibility as a requirement and start thinking about what our users need, then we will create a more accessible and inclusive world.

 

Read the full blog post.

 

About the author

Jessica Murray is a Visual Designer at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit https://www.akendi.ca/