I recently shared a talk that I very much enjoyed at last years Collaborate event in Bristol by Joshua Marshall with the Nudge team, called ‘Empathy as a core feature’, so I thought I would share the key takings we had from it with our lovely site viewers too.
The Definition Of Empathy
“Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person's frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another's shoes.”
Sir Tim Berners-Lee (he’s the inventor of the World Wide Web in case you didn’t know), once said “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of ability is an essential aspect.”
It is the responsibility of anyone working as makers on the internet to make sure it lives up to this ideal and that everything we publish is open to anyone as much as possible. It is also a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled users under the Disability Discrimination Act. This is something we take very seriously here at Nudge.
When we publish something, design something, develop it and put it in front of users, we should be able to prove that there is an actual user need behind it.
You shouldn't have to understand the structure of a business to interact with it: you should be able to go to a website, find what you want and get it done and leave with the minimum hassle or intrusion.
All users should be able to achieve this, regardless of any access needs they may have.
The accessibility of websites covers much more than just disabled access. It's also about giving people unhindered access to a website from various devices, users who have different screen sizes, browser types and settings, or those who do not have plug-ins such as Flash.
How Do UX And Accessibility Work Together?
Accessibility shouldn't be something that one person on the team takes care of and it definitely shouldn't be bolted on to the end of a project.
It is everyone's responsibility throughout regardless of your role. Whether it’s designing the perfect submit button, writing web friendly content or enhancing performance, we can all contribute to making things better.
What Will You Change?
How could you improve your web product for your users? There are lots of things we can do for accessibility that don't need big changes to designs or code.
Could you make it work better for a screen reader user? Could you fix your colour contrast so it’s more useable for those with visual impairments? Find out more about how to consider accessibility in digital.
Those fixes won’t be noticed by most users, but for those who rely on them being in place, you will be actively contributing to improving the quality of their lives. Who doesn’t want that for their users?