Accessibility in Design, a matter of responsibility not only inclusivity.

Ideating and then designing with accessibility in mind it is a universal approach to take on any site or application I worked or will work on. 

A product that it is introduced to the market, a manufacturer facility, or a procedure will aim towards achieving a certification that proclaims it meets all the criteria for the industry standards.

“Design is the intermediary between information and understanding.”

Hans Hoffman, artist and teacher

Just like those will have its particular regulations, the WCAG 2.0 is an ISO stamp for a site (launched around 2012). It is no surprise that our field incorporates standardized elements based on the science of our collective experiences and perception catering for a universal audience and bridging any understanding variance gap.   

I have had the fortune to work for clients, companies and governmental canadian organizations that prioritize having an accessible platform under the standards of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 this makes content and imagery accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and/or combinations of these.

RGD Association of Registered Graphic Designers: “A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design

A great resource to explore within this topic came from RGD Association of Registered Graphic Designers, all members received a physical copy mailed to us and hear of the project also in the annual conference they held in a joint effort with The Graphic Designers of Canada organization in 2020, Design Thinkers – Vancouver, BC: the superbly beautifully crafted catalogue style book called “A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design” you could read the article that goes in detail about the project or download the free .pdf copy, I highly recommend keeping one of these digital copies near you.

It covers everything from typography to suggestions to consider in physical spaces, wayfinding design. I will say that as a designer it is my responsibility to know, investigate and propose better alternatives that are engraved inherently in the work I do. Accessibility it is far from adjusting colour and sizes, it is like crafting an ergonomic handle where we all intuitively know how to open the door to enter the room or at the very least we recognize as an entrance.

Inclusivity in the industry

Companies like Adobe also have their own resources to use when utilizing its tools, it has a growing body of instructional support for creating accessible media with Adobe products.

Another great example it is Microsoft’s methodology for Inclusive Design they also have several downloads and flash cards to keep on your bookmarks and favourites. At the bottom of the page of Inclusive Design there is a short film [Inclusive: The Film] that depicts and includes motivations and human design needs, to and see diversity differently: as a dynamic inspiration for creatives. The film includes verbatim (defined as an exact repetition of a portrayal of what it is appearing) describing characters, scenery and everything that appears in the motion picture, example of how people with a visual impairment can also be part of and enjoy this piece of media.

The Interaction Design Association created a video as a presentation to their project of inclusivity, presented 4 years ago, it win the best in the “Empowering” category for Interaction Awards 2017.