Sometimes words are too long and complicated so they get shortened and simplified; this makes them more accessible. Those of us in the business of building software are always thinking about how to make our best work accessible to the most people as well. At InRhythm our focus is on creating solutions that work for everyone, and that includes the disabled, the blind, and anyone else who struggles to use a mouse or read an article.
In this newsletter, we address the 10% of users who struggle with technology by sharing some information on how to fold Accessibility (or “a11y”—11 characters into 2!) into our design process. InRhythm engineer Will Bratches starts us off with a fantastic overview on how to be inclusive in your work. Let’s all follow his lead. Keep the conversation going—tell us about how accessible software has impacted your life or users you know @GetInRhythm or on our InRhythmU blog.
Thanks and Keep Growing,
Accessibility: 4 Low-Hanging Fruits You Can Fix Today
InRhythm.com (3 min.)
“Addressing accessibility can be a challenge, but there are several small, easy tweaks that pay huge dividends for users with particular needs. For those of us who don’t deal with colorblindness or screen readers on a daily basis, these adjustments can seem trivial, but the change in experience means much more to a small but important percentage of users.”
Mozilla (10 min.)
A11Y Style Guide
A11Y (55 min.)
The great thing about the Web is how it works as both a giant petri dish where experiments happen and as the way to share results with each other. Out of that primordial soup has emerged at least one good collection of design patterns for the a11y’s of good design, and this is it. Learn how to build forms, cards, video players and other components that are friendly to all.
Designing for Cognitive Differences
A List Apart (6 min.)
“The insightful people at A List Apart have once again produced an article that helps us rethink accessibility. Of course, we should think about the blind—but what about users with ADHD or depression? Truly inclusive design should account for behaviors and challenges that might not come to mind immediately when thinking about accessibility. Touching on features that minimize anxiety, for instance, is a huge step forward in making your work easier to use and more compassionate at the same time.”
Assistive Technology Tools You Can Test with at No Cost
Accessibility in Government | Gov.UK (5 min.)
“Ok, so you’ve decided to stop being a terrible person and build your interfaces with accessibility in mind. How do you test for success? ‘It’s hard,’ you say? Well, here’s a nice breakdown of the (free!) tools you have at your disposal. Now you have no excuses.”
Usability Guidelines for Accessible Web Design
Kara Pernice and Jakob Nielsen (149 min.)
“Jacob Nielsen invented usability testing for the Web, and we have all benefited from his disgust with our terrible designs. Don Norman, among other things, wrote the seminal book on user-centered design, The Design of Everyday Things, and invented the concept of cognitive ergonomics. These two even got together and formed a company, the Nielsen Norman Group, which produced this study for you to learn from and use as a blueprint for your own research. Given the theme of our newsletter, it might be a good time to consider one of Norman’s more famous quotes: ‘Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.’ Hear, hear.”