Who wants to refer to the instruction manual if they can avoid it? In the same way, standards documents get overlooked unless it’s mandatory to comply. But there is one standards document that is worth looking at. It can help us progress accessibility and universal design. On day two of UD2021 Conference, Emily Steel explained how the international accessibility standard works.
The international standard has done all the thinking for us. The document guides standards committees as they write and update standards for their specific industry or profession. It is also useful for any committee developing guides or standards for accessibility and universal design. So, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
The Guide’s use of the the term “accessibility” relates closely to universal design. “The extent to which products, systems, services, environments and facilities can be used by people from a population with the widest range of characteristics and capabilities to achieve a specified goal in a specified context of use”.
The Guide has two main parts. The first describes user needs and 11 accessibility goals. These are similar to the 8 Goals of Universal Design. The second describes human characteristics and abilities, and design considerations.
There is also an Accessibility Masterlist by Gregg Vanderheiden. It’s a collaborative resource for understanding access features in digital applications. Also worth a look.
All standards should ensure they meet the goals of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Guide 71 shows how to do this.