Age and capability: some common myths

A young person stands on a stage hold ing a microphone. the backcloth has the words Siler IT fest with chinese characters written below.Singapore is leading the way in creating an inclusive society. Universal design is apparent in the new built environments and housing, and now they are looking at improving the technology side of life. – a Singaporean digital news and information platform says there of five misconceptions about older people and their use of IT:

  1. Older people have learned everything that they can over their lifetime. 
  2. Festivals are for young people who like to party and spend money. 
  3. Older people are cliquish and prefer to hang out with their own peers.
  4. Persons with disabilities aren’t able to fulfil their aspirations.
  5. The government is already doing so much for older people and people with disability, so I don’t need to step up.

The Mothership website has more information about these misconceptions and includes short videos to explain more.

For many people “Old” is like tomorrow – it will never come. If we were to have inclusiveness, such terms would disappear – they were only useful to marketing professionals when they thought all people over the age of 60 were an homogenous group and needed special products and services. 


Inclusive Toolkit by Microsoft

A black circle with the word inclusive in white letteringMicrosoft has produced a great document that spells out the need to design inclusively. The way the issues are explained can be applied to any design discipline. This resource is a best practice example of how to present a persuasive argument for designing universally. Here is a sample from the text:

“Inclusive design has a strong heritage in accessibility. There are great examples of inclusive practices from architecture, physical products and public spaces. Yet, digital technology presents new opportunities to expand this expertise in new ways. In this toolkit, we define inclusive design as a set of practices that can be applied to any existing design process. Inclusive is how we design. It’s our tools and methods. In comparison, accessibility offers ways to improve access to what is already designed. A curb cut is still a curb. The cut makes the curb more accessible. Inclusive design gives us ways to design for ever-changing human motivations and needs. And design systems that can adapt to fit those diverse needs.”

Download the toolkit here



Considering body size and shape

CEUD Site-LogoThe Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has developed a really useful set of fact sheets on considering body size and shape in designs.

The Overview fact sheet explains some of the statistical measurements used and how they can mislead designers.

The Data fact sheet explains the steps in using the data within minimum and maximum values

The Adjustability fact sheet  looks at “accommodation” and “adjustability” factors.

The Testing fact sheet introduces user testing and identifying how users will interact with the design, and lists the steps to take in a user study.



Media Accessibility Guide

service providers accessibility guideMedia Access Australia has produced a comprehensive quick reference guide for accessible communications.  Although the target audience is service providers that deliver support to NDIS participants, it is useful for all organisations that want to make their information accessible. The contents include information on how people with disability access online information, producing and distributing messages, publishing content online, accessible emails, and engaging with social media.  The original guide was funded by Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in 2013.


Choosing an IT system and designer

computer screenThe Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a comprehensive Toolkit that takes potential purchasers of IT systems through the process of procurement, inlcuding assessing potential suppliers, and overseeing the successful implementation of accessibility features. It also shows how to build the skills required to manage the accessibility of the resulting system and user interfaces once the set-up phase is complete. This means ensuring that documents staff produce for uploading to the website also meet the accessibility criteria.

Download the IT Procurement Toolkit here.


Apps for All Challenge

accessible_appsEvery minute, 47,000 apps are downloaded around the world, but millions of Australians are missing out if the apps are not accessible.

Four winning apps in Australia’s only accessible mobile apps competition, The Apps for All Challenge are making a difference. The challenge is run by the Communications Action Network (ACCAN) to draw attention to the benefits of including digital accessibility in software development.

Winners were judged on accessibility, which means that an app can be used by the most people possible without the need for modification. Apps in the challenge were also judged on ease of use, market gap, value for money, universal design and availability. To see the winners, go to the Every Australian Counts link.



Banking, IT and Diverse Personas

Screenshot diverse personasBarclays Bank IT Accessibility Team has been developing resources to aid project teams when they’re thinking about how accessibility should feature in their design process. One of these is their ‘Diverse Personas’ – a set of profiles of  a range of people with disability including dyslexia, colour blindness, cerebral palsy and mental illness. The Diverse Personas handbook uses comic book characters. Each profile details the likes and dislikes of the person, which methods they use to engage with the bank and why, how they currently use technology, and, more importantly, how they’d like to use it if they could.

Thanks to Shane Hogan from the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland for this item.