The UK Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) recently held its elections and we are pleased to announce that our very own Caleb Tang was elected as the Accessibility Head. Caleb joins the committee along with his colleague Tim Loo who holds the Vice President position.
Accessibility was a hot topic in the world of the web back in 2004 when the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) required service providers to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to remove any barriers that may prevent someone from using their services. To avoid doubt the act specified that this included websites (now the Equality Act 2010).
The buzz around accessibility has since quietened down, although Econsultancy’s recent report about the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) suing BMI Baby suggests it’s still very much on the agenda.
I was beginning to hope that the lack of buzz was due to accessibility being ‘business as usual’ for most organisations. With the plethora of standards and guidelines available (W3C’s Website Accessibility Initiative, BS 8878 code of practice for web accessibility and ISO 9241) it should be seamlessly incorporated into all digital projects.
We are all well aware of the moral, legal and business reasons for incorporating accessibility into any design project. It’s funny to see that some organisations still prefer to separate usability from accessibility but, in the world of the customer, they are one and the same. In fact, inclusive experience design is a more cost-effective approach; based on our experience it is 30% cheaper than separating usability and accessibility initiatives.
The direct impact of getting it right is often not obvious to brands. Consumers won’t brag about you on social networks for getting it right but trust me there will be plenty of traffic if you get it wrong (BMI Baby is a case in point).
Here are a two quick accessibility checks you can carry out on your own website:
Throw away your mouse
Turn off images
So, if inclusive design is not business as usual for you, or you are not convinced that the basics are there, you need to start thinking about it.
After 5 years working as a Human Factors practitioner in the Great White North (Canada), I decided to move to Europe in 2001 to experience the varied cultures and languag...