Microsoft 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
The 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.
Every 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.
Rather than using a PowerPoint presentation, an actor with a script written by the researcher, Steve Daunt, communicates the results of his study. The script compares the difficulties older people face with everyday technology such as a mobile phone with the alarm pendant. It highlights how these pendants may not be as effective as the designers might think.
The study uncovered many device design issues that the users struggled with – such as buttons being the same colour as the device casing. Contextual use of the device was found to be an issue for the older users; for example, where reduced mobility and dexterity made it difficult to reach down to and operate a DVD player placed at a low level relative to the ground.
One major finding from the pendant alarm technology was that the older people assessed were mostly unsure or unaware of what steps would occur after they had pressed the alarm button.
Many of the designs that older users struggled with in their “difficult technology” made no allowance for users lack of technical knowledge or exposure. Some of the designs were found to be extremely poor and it is likely that other user groups would also have had difficulty with the technology. For example, some devices lacked labelling or feedback which are violations to basic usability principles.
Initial findings from the study were presented as a “dramatic reading”at the ActivAge 2012 conference. You can access the 15 minute video at the bottom of the webpage.