As designers, it is crucial to include accessibility in their design process. Luckily, there are readily available accessibility validators and plugins. Let's talk about: Designing for Accessibility!
Recently, I had the honor of attending an eye-opening speech on TDC Business in São Paulo, given by Victoria Raupp Krupp. Her statement, "Transformation is happening around the world, but it is not for everyone!" piqued my interest, and I was left wondering why this was so.
As part of a digital consultancy company, it is disheartening to learn that accessibility for the 45.6 million people with disabilities in Brazil is still quite low, at only 46% in 2022 (Web para Todos e BigDataCorp, 2021). For example, people with visual impairments would only be able to see a tiny fraction of the products and services digital companies showcase online. This is a pressing issue that we must tackle with empathy and commitment.
As designers, it is crucial to include accessibility in their design process. They need to collaborate with disabled individuals to test their designs for accessibility. Luckily, there are readily available accessibility validators and plugins, such as Wave, Tenon, and Google Lighthouse, to automate some accessibility tests.
It is shocking that only 1% of websites are currently accessible, with no captions for the deaf, no interpreters in pounds, and inaccessible podcasts (Web para Todos e BigDataCorp, 2021). We must remove such barriers, regardless of whether they are unintentional, and ensure that our products and services are accessible to all individuals, irrespective of their disabilities. Accessibility promotes innovation and enables us to deliver better products that generate financial feedback and build loyalty.
In our pursuit of accessibility, we must also consider the needs of people with other disabilities like Autism, dyslexia, and ADHD. We must ensure that our pages are easy to navigate, uncluttered, and have a proper information hierarchy. Virtual assistants and chatbots can facilitate access to information and services for individuals with visual or motor impairments. Similarly, AI-based tools like text prediction and spell-checking software can help individuals with dyslexia, learning difficulties, or motor impairments. Voice recognition and automatic transcription technologies can also make audio-to-text conversion possible for individuals with hearing impairments.
The use of AI in various ways, such as object detection, personalized recommendations, auto-captioning, and screen reading, can also improve accessibility. However, it is essential to ensure that each software, app, or site meets the specific needs of its users. For instance, software with users who have visual needs should have features such as speech commands to aid their usage.
In conclusion, accessibility should be at the forefront of our minds when designing digital products and services. We must strive to be inclusive, and this involves incorporating accessibility into our design process and ensuring that our products and services are accessible to everyone, regardless of their disabilities. Ultimately, accessibility fosters innovation and enables us to provide better products that benefit everyone.
Sabrina worked as a teacher for several years and has recently been serving as a Scrum Master. In the technology world, she has become passionate about Agile Methodologies, values, techniques, tools, and people. Sabrina believes that collaboration is the key to achieving amazing results and contributes to creating a safe environment.