In the not too distant future, accessibility design will no longer be a nice-to-have in UX design job postings. It will be a standard requirement. An expectation. If you are a UX designer with only a cursory understanding of accessibility design techniques, you should improve on that as soon as possible. Soon, accessibility design principles will be as well known and commonly practiced as the famous Nielsen Norman Group heuristics. User empathy is rapidly becoming common practice within product companies and accessibility is gaining traction as a cardinal facet of empathy-driven design.
Designing for diverse users—that is, children, seniors, and people with physical, cognitive, visual, or hearing impairments—requires that we pay special attention to their unique needs.
With this in mind, I have been journaling some of the accessibility considerations that are top of mind in my own practice of UX design. While the accessibility design principles I’ll present in this column certainly do not represent an exhaustive list, they do provide a great starting point—or refresher—of accessibility considerations to keep in mind as you create your next digital experience. If you design digital experiences—or work with someone who does—think about where you could have applied these principles on past projects and, more importantly, start mapping out how you might leverage them on your current or upcoming projects. Read More
There is a tendency to associate the profession of User Experience with consumer-facing Web sites and applications. And why not? After all, social media and ecommerce experiences are a constant part of users’ lives—even those who are also UX designers. These experiences represent desirable activities such as buying products and interacting with friends and family. There is high demand for such experiences, which, in turn, draws the collective focus of the UX community. Fair enough. But the profession of User Experience also provides value in unexpected places that exist at the periphery of modern consumerism. In this three-part series, I’ve discussed one such unexpected place—the industrial environment. Humans—who help manufacture the goods we enjoy—must be productive and are no less deserving of experiences that make them more efficient, effective, and satisfied in their jobs.
In Part 1 of this series, I explained that industrial automation is more human facing than you might think. Then, I described how the industrial environment itself presents difficult challenges for UX designers to overcome when designing software for human-machine interfaces (HMIs), covering both plant-floor and control-room environments. Finally, I shared some key principles of effective HMI design that apply to both environments. Read More