Disability | Financial | Shannon Kennedy

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A couple weeks ago I attended MinneWebCon and saw a great afternoon keynote called Inclusive Universe by Wendy Chisholm. This was a great presentation shining light on how important it is to consider accessibility within design. I highly recommend watching this video but if you can't, here are some interesting points she brought up that relate to finance.

People with disability make up the 3rd largest market in the U.S., behind baby boomers and seniors; which represents 5 trillion dollars in spending. As designers, it makes a lot of sense for us to design for those with disabilities. Sometimes people are afraid to face the issue of accessibility because of additional costs, but designing with accessibility in mind from the beginning will save money down the road. For example, curb cuts are designed for people in wheelchairs and if they are installed right away, it saves money. If they have to be installed down the road, because designing with disability wasn't thought about, it will cost more money. While curb cuts are designed with disability in mind, others will also benefit from this design because designing for disability increases the abilities of everyone else even more. How great are cut curbs for your awesome rolling backpacks, strollers and skateboards?

In this talk, Wendy also talked a lot about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 defines how to make Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. These guidelines also make Web content more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to aging and often improve usability for users in general.

Taking a look over these guidelines and keeping disability in mind when designing websites is very important both socially and financially. There are endless opportunities for innovation when designing for disability. In Wendy's presentation she gives many great examples of innovative designs that have helped disabled people, especially within the web.

I think accounting for disabilities will only become more important as time progresses. As the web moves forward, accessible website will become as commonplace as Flash in the early 2000's. It's nice to know that you have control over what people with visual impairment interact with on your websites. Crafting a purposeful experience is just another one of those unseen details that goes a long way.

I mentioned a little bit about this in class, but it is really cool all of the data that is out there that has to do with human factors and considerations fr all walks of life and for all types of people. It is not something that is studied incredibly thorough in undergrad classes, but it is something that we all need to be aware off. User experience is the new up and coming design strategy, it is no longer the aesthetic, it is the interaction, usability and relevance. Check out this site to learn more about how current this is: http://www.humanfactors.com/home/usability.asp

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This page contains a single entry by kenne363 published on April 29, 2010 10:39 PM.

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