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Session Summary

The current state of accessibility for data visualization leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, we already know enough to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing methods and imagine plans for making data insights accessible to users of all ability levels.


Gaining insights from data is a critical capability for workers across all industries and professions. Unfortunately, data visualizations fail even under normal circumstances because of significant complexities in communicating data. Tackling this problem for individuals with disabilities presents even more layers of challenges.

Here we will review the currently existing approaches to solving these problems, along with an honest discussion about the effectiveness of these solutions. We will then take a step back and put the pieces of this problem into a framework that intends to organize and clarify the dimensions of the problem.

Finally, we will review a more effective proposal than the currently existing solutions for visualizing data. A method will be described, along with examples of how to apply it step-by-step. Finally, we will wrap up the discussion by considering what may be possible to accomplish in the future as technology advances open new possibilities.

Practical Skills

  • Learn about the current methods to communicate data visualizations to the blind and seeing impaired.
  • Learn a new way of looking at the problem of making data visualizations accessible, intended to help solve the problem systematically at its root.
  • Participants will be presented with a proposed method that is more effective than current existing solutions and how to execute this method.