COD

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    The Premier AT Conference

It Starts with Design

Description
The world is going digital, and equal access is essential for an individual's social, economic, and educational development. With more than a billion people with disabilities, the aging population faces similar accessibility challenges while getting into the digital ecosystem, posing a risk of digital divide. The need for accessibility is greater now more than ever. In the current usual reactionary upstream approach, where accessibility is an afterthought, accessibility is introduced in the last phase of the software development life cycle as a part of testing. This model is quite inefficient and limits the scope of innovation and thinking beyond compliance. Also, this model becomes expensive as accessibility bugs spotted in this process must go through multiple iterations before getting to a fix. Many times, such bugs get resolved by design since, at this point, it is too late to change the design. This problem could be solved by proactively thinking about accessibility from the beginning of the software development life cycle. In all the phases, especially in the design phase, certain best practices in terms of accessibility could be implemented to make a more inclusive product or service. While in the design phase, universal design principles could be applied to make designs inclusive from the very beginning. At this phase, there is enough time and resources to take accessibility and usability aspects into consideration. Regarding accessibility, there are certain WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) redlines that could be established in the design mockups, including color contrast, name, role and value, keyboard navigation, headings, landmarks, and many others more. In terms of usability, the subjective aspects of the design could be handled by thinking about ways to make experiences more intuitive, efficient, and delightful. The experiences could be made more intuitive by fine-tuning the UI (User Interfaces) so that it is easy to understand the core objective. Efficiency would be enhanced by reducing the time to carry out the process, which would be completed by implementing efficient keyboarding patterns and reducing the number of steps in the workflow. Finally, a delightful experience could be made by ensuring the process from beginning to end is enjoyable. All these accessibility and usability features could be annotated in the designs. These annotated designs could then be passed to the developers, and it would help provide clear guidance and insights to create the inclusive product insight out. There would be examples highlighting the design annotations on Figma design mockups and the tools and toolkits that could easily do annotations. As a result of this approach, many accessibility compliance issues get eliminated even before actual coding begins, reducing the cost involved in generating and fixing the accessibility bugs. This approach also provides the opportunity to obtain early feedback from the real users by involving them early in the process. This would eventually increase the opportunity to innovate and design an inclusive and delightful experience. Hence all these factors make this approach more scalable and cost-effective that could be an effective tool to face the current digital divide and help create an ecosystem where everyone could thrive. This approach also provides the opportunity to obtain early feedback from the real users by involving them early in the process. This would eventually increase the opportunity to innovate and design an inclusive and delightful experience.  
Audience
  • Higher Education
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Government
  • Finance & Banking
  • Employment & Human Resources
Audience Level
Intermediate  
Session Summary (Abstract)
The journey of inclusive products begins with inclusive design. Get insights into how your designs could say all that is needed to make the experiences more accessible and usable by embracing the principles of universal design and building a process with enough room to innovate involving real users.  
Session Type
General Track  
Topics
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Design
  • Development
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Web

Presenters

  • Ajay Sharma
    HCL America Inc.
  • Zariah Gaelyn-Levai
    HCL America Inc.

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