I went to an interesting talk run by Red Badger, a UX Consultancy based in hip and happening Shoreditch. The title of the event was Web Accessibility: Are you Excluding a Fifth of the UK Population?.
It was nice being around so many people who generally cared about the fact their designs could fail to serve people with disabilities. Its so easy to overlook their needs, since we sadly can be rather selfish when we do things. Which goes against UX principles. We should always be doing what is best for users, so that their experience is optimised. But does that mean we should be doing stuff people with disabilities and then those without? I, like the last speaker at the event, would say no.
Every human deserves to have a good experience with everything that is designed by a human for humans. Disability doesn’t come in to the equation. If you design something and there are people with accessibility problems who cannot work with your design despite sincere desire, then there is something wrong with your design. That’s why we now have audio description and subtitles for movies, as disability doesn’t need to be a barrier.
I’m glad that this event shone a light on such an important issue which sadly is too often overlooked. And it’s a shame since it’s not exactly hard to design for full accessibility. And we don’t have to limit it to having high contrast, or seriffed fonts. We can also offer users the ability to choose what accessibility options best meets their needs. This is much more empowering.