Resources for Learning About Inclusive Design and Accessible Design
At Center Centre, the UX design school where I’m a faculty member, I get to review many resources on inclusivity and accessible design. I collect the best resources I find and review them with my team. Then, the team and I apply what we learn from those resources to our curriculum. Over time, our curriculum grows stronger because it contains more competencies around inclusive design and accessibility. “Over time, our curriculum grows stronger because it contains more competencies around inclusive design and accessibility.” Inclusive Design vs. Accessibility: What’s the Difference? It took me a while to understand the difference between inclusive design and accessibility. After researching these terms, I now see them as two sides of the same coin: Inclusive Design is the principle of designing for people who have a diversity of needs, experiences, and backgrounds.Accessibility is the measurable implementation of inclusive design. You apply inclusive design during each stage of the design process. For example, while writing content for a project, you and your team will raise questions like, “Could someone with a cognitive impairment understand this content?” You implement accessible content through the use of specific design techniques. For example, to make sure someone with a cognitive impairment can understand your content, you’ll write content using plain language. Then you’ll conduct usability tests on that content with users who have cognitive limitations. If these users don’t understand the content, you’ll refine the content, then test it again. “Accessibility is the measurable implementation of inclusive design.” My Favorite ResourcesBelow are some of my favourite resources on inclusivity and accessibility. These resources have been invaluable to us at Center Centre as we weave inclusivity and accessibility throughout our courses. I’m confident you’ll find these resources useful for your design practice, too. Books“Accessibility for Everyone” by Laura Kalbag Laura Kalbag’s book is one of my favourite accessibility resources. Throughout the book, Laura gives you a thorough overview of accessible design, and she explains how to create accessible designs during each stage of a design project. As her book explains, accessibility is not something we consider once during a project, then move on. It needs to be a consistent part of the design process. “Accessibility is not something we consider once during a project, then move on. It needs to be a consistent part of the design process.” “A Web for Everyone” by Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery’s book is another excellent read about inclusive design and accessibility. The book covers a broad range of accessibility — everything from cognitive limitations to visual impairments and beyond. The book provides tools you can either use as-is or customize to fit your team’s needs. “Design for Real Life” by Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher In this book, Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher explain how our users are not always in a relaxed and happy state. Eric and Sara show you how to design for stress cases — situations where users are in a heightened state of stress or panic. The authors also challenge you to consider the outcomes of design decisions that seem harmless but can have a detrimental effect on users — even something as simple as asking users to indicate their gender on a form. “Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design” by Shawn Lawton Henry Shawn Lawton Henry generously published this book for free online. You can read it as a series of web pages. While the book was published over ten years ago, the principles are still relevant to how we design today. This book was one of the first resources I came across that…
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