Last Friday I successfully presented the conclusions of the research I have been doing for that past two years. I have researched web accessibility by flipping the ability bias: instead of designing exclusively for people like myself , I have designed tailor made websites exclusively for people with disabilities.
My father sent me a support email: all of a sudden he couldn’t log into his account for the newspaper he reads. The error message he read was not Greek to him, because he speaks Greek fluently. It was in some other language. It resembled Dutch, which he speaks fluently as well, he knew the words, he just didn’t understand what they mean. Here’s a translation:
A while ago Jan Wessel Hovingh gave me a Raspberry Pi Zero as a thank you gift for a talk I gave at the University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. I decided to create my own streaming audio speakers with this Pi. After quite a bit of DuckDuckGoing, quite some help from many wonderful people and some work it’s done: two hifi speakers made out of layers of corrugated card board, powered by a Raspberry Pi.
I created a new research blog. That’s where I’ll be documenting my master research. Which means that I will be mostly publishing over there. This blog will probably be even more sleepy that is has been. So if you’re interested in the research I’m doing in accessible web design you can better move over there. You can subscribe to that blog via RSS if you want to.
Theoretically the web is in itself accessible for people with disabilities. The theory is wonderful. Yet in practice we’re not there yet.
I learned from Jeremy Keith (who learned it from Cennydd Bowles, who learned it from Jared Spool) that good design principles are reversible. To test if a design principle works, the exact opposite rule should work as well. I decided to put the Paciello Group’s Inclusive Design Principles to the test. What happens if you reverse all these principles? They should result in something that you could name exclusive design principles.
What are they?
I read quite a few books about designing for accessibility in the last few months. Most of them were about so called inclusive design, and most of them were focused on designing inclusively for the web. While I learned a lot, and while I thoroughly enjoyed all the books I read, there was one book that stood out: Design Meets Disability by Graham Pullin. It stood out because of its different approach to designing for accessibility.
One of my coaches at the Design Master course asked me what I mean when I use the term accessibility. I tried to explain what I mean by quoting a few sources that explain it quite clearly (I hope). But that post doesn’t necessarily explain why I chose accessibility as my subject. There are three reasons why I like accessible web design. It’s possible, it’s a friendly thing to do, and it’s not very hard.
One of my coaches at the Master Design course I’m following wondered what I mean when I say accessibility. I’ve heard the term so often that I forgot that the definition I use is not common at all. In this blog post I’ll try to explain what I mean by looking at a few definitions used by different organisations.
So what’s accessibility