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20 Questions to Ask when Designing for Accessibility

taught by: Elizabeth Simister

co-presented by: Emma Stephens

Session Summary:

Although there is more focus placed on designing for accessibility throughout many industries today, those new to accessibility may find the number of WCAG success criteria overwhelming. The purpose of this class is help designers figure out what criteria they need to focus on by starting with a yes/no decision tree then providing guidance from there on how to best approach the design to meet related success criteria.


User interface designers who are new to the concept of accessibility or those that are unfamiliar with the new WCAG 2.1 success criteria may find the number of success criteria alone overwhelming without including the time needed to review and interpret the success criteria or techniques. The purpose of this class is to help make applying WCAG 2.1 to design as easy as possible while still educating designers in the areas of the implications of different types of interactions to people with disabilities, the relevant success criteria that impact design, and methods for meeting the needs of a broad group of users via one design. To accomplish these three goals, we will be starting by walking the class through a list of 20 questions that has been created as a form of decision tree to narrow down several possible success criteria to only those that will directly apply to the feature that is being built. As we walk through each of these questions, we will discuss how yes question considerations impact different user groups, the relevant success criteria, and techniques that are used to create designs that can be translated into accessible code. Part of the discussion will also cover the differences between visual design, interaction design, and text description/content design as each of these areas has their own unique accessibility requirements. Once we have completed talking through the different question on the list, we will demonstrate how the questions can be used to help think about a design that will meet the needs of a broad group of users starting with a standard agile story. As most agile stories do not explicitly call out accessibility, this will be a good way to show just asking 20 simple questions can better ensure that final feature is designed as inclusively as possible.

Presentation Materials: