Colour Kindness

A group of people standing holding a pink banner with the words You are Not Alone, but you can't see the word NOT because it is in pale red and blends into the background colourIt’s one thing to talk about colour blindness, but it is quite another to see what it looks like to the 6-10 percent of the population that have colour vision deficiency. Axess Lab has produced an excellent set of successes and failures using real life examples of colours used by web designers. These examples provide really good guidance for anyone involved in web content and design, as well as printed material. The blog page has links to more information. There is a nice pic of what a football field looks like to someone who can’t see red and green – so it’s not all about the web – it’s all around us as the picture shows. If you want to see more on this topic see ColourBlindAwareness Twitter feed. 

The banner in the picture shown should read You Are Not Alone, instead it looks like, You Are Alone.

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Inclusive design: A poster

A screenshot of the poster showing the principles of inclusive designBarclays Bank has taken a new set of inclusive design principles developed by The Paciello Group, and made them their own. They’ve styled them into two posters that make it easy to see how to design for all. While these seven principles are aimed at the digital world, the principles can be applied to other fields of design. You can download the A3 poster which gives a quick overview. Or download a more detailed  set of A4 posters. Barclays Bank began investing in inclusive practice many years ago but they haven’t rested on their laurels. They also encourage their business customers to get on board with accessibility. You can read more about the article from The Paciello Group website.

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What does that icon mean?

A brightly coloured abstract painting consisting of painbrush lines going in all directions.Which icon does what, and where will the video end up so that it can be found again? Hampus Sethfors in an Axesslab articleuses the example of trying to download a TED Talk on a smart phone for viewing later. He explains why icons are ruining interfaces  He argues icons need labels otherwise users give up after a few unsuccessful tries and become unsatisfied with the app. Sethfors says, “Icons are like abstract paintings. They get different meanings for different people. It’s all through the eyes of an observer. And that ambiguity is really exciting with art. But not so much in user interfaces.” Saving space at the expense of usability is not the way to go. Sethfors also uses  Instagram, Gmail, and Apple apps as examples of what not to do. He goes on to look at icons on a washing machine dial, and then to icons that really work. You can really see the difference.

People who design these things make a lot of assumptions about previous experience with instructions and ways of doing things.

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Minimising brain drain

graphic of a side-on view of a head with a mosaic of brightly coloured triangles filling the spaceReducing cognitive load means reducing the mental effort required to do something. With so many messages coming to us on our devices and even as we walk around, we can all do with some help to sift and process the important messages. Jon Yablonski has developed seven design principles for reducing cognitive load in relation to user interfaces in the digital world. However, some of these principles can be applied to other areas of design. The seven principles make a lot of sense and are explained simply. You can go to Jon Yablonski’s website where he explains further the concept of cognitive load.  The principles are:

  1. Avoid unnecessary elements
  2. Leverage common design patterns
  3. Eliminate unnecessary tasks
  4. Minimize choices
  5. Display choices as a group
  6. Strive for readability
  7. Use iconography with caution
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Colour contrast checkers for web

The colours of the rainbow arranged as a wheelCourtesy of the Axess Lab website, here are seven great free tools that help you measure color contrasts and create beautiful, accessible color schemes that fulfill the contrast requirements in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). With almost everything in life being linked to the internet, it is important to make sure sites are fully accessible. Colour contrast is important for many with low vision, but accessibility does not have to equal boring. By going to the website you can see more on each of these seven free tools. 

  1. Contrast Ratio
  2. Tanaguru Contrast Finder
  3. Colour Contrast Analyser – by the Paciello Group
  4. Color Tool at Material.IO – by Google
  5. Accessibility Developer Tools – by Google
  6. Colour Contrast – IOS APP by Userlight
  7. Android Accessibility Scanner – Android App by Google

You can see more about colour vision deficiency and how it affects different people by going to a previous post, Seeing Red – or it it Green?

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What is audio description?

logo for Audio Descriptions. black bacround with white upper case letters AD and three curved lines indicating soundIf you’ve ever wondered what audio description is, then the Microsoft video below is a good example. Audio descriptions tell people who are blind the visual information on the screen during natural breaks in dialogue. In the Microsoft example, the speech of the audio describer is a bit fast in places, but it shows the type of describing they do. The video was developed as a staff training video on disability awareness and the first three and a half minutes are dedicated to basic information. The video descriptions start at 3 mins 27 seconds into the video. They use different case studies to show where audio descriptions work well in enabling people to be productive in the workplace.

You can find out more about audio describing from Media Access Australia, and an article on a trial of audio describing with ABC iView.

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Mobile banking for everyone

two male icons showing how a disability can excludeBarclays Bank has been a leader in inclusion and accessibility of their branches and now taking the next step to mobile banking. The short video below explains clearly how inclusive design is good for everyone as well as the bank’s profits. The video ends with a call to action: “Accessibility – make it your mantra”. Mark McLane from Barclays Bank will be speaking at the AND national conference on diversity in Melbourne in May. There is a great line-up of speakers.

 

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