Blog six of an eight-part series on the tenets of a powerful user or audience experience.
As the sixth post in the series, it’s probably evident by now there are many aspects that shape and build an experience. So far in this series, we’ve talked about five tenets of creating powerful experiences: useful, usable, findable, credible, and desirable. In this post, I want to discuss the sixth tenet: accessible.
Building on our public transportation metaphor, you found the bus or metro:
- Useful because it gets you from point A to point B and it gets you there fast
- Usable because you were able to easily purchase a ticket or card online and add money to it for fare
- Findable because you could easily navigate the routes and stops
- Credible because you had not heard of any accidents or major delays
- Desirable because the sitting areas were clean and spacious
Now it’s important to ask, is it accessible? Accessible is defined as easy to approach, reach, understand, enter, speak with, or use. As a result, accessible can mean a lot of different things to different people.
When thinking about accessibility, you might ask:
- Will I be able to reach the first stop or easily get on?
- Is it suitable for people with disabilities to reach, enter, or use?
- Does the signage use simple, easy-to-understand language that a young person or non-native English-speaking person can understand?
- Do the stops or pricing isolate populations and communities who are traditionally impacted by social determinants like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, or employment?
While tenets like usefulness, credibility, and desirability can often be the distinguishing factors that keep users and audiences coming back to your site, products, or materials, poor accessibility can easily be the aspect that ensures your users or audience never return.
It’s important to note the direct tie accessibility has to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). You cannot have good accessibility without intentionally considering DEI, and there can be no DEI without good accessibility. Being accessible is about making sure all individuals, no matter their lived experiences and circumstances, are comfortable in your brand’s space and are empowered to use your products or services as they are. Making designs and products more welcoming and inclusive for everyone increases the number of potential users and return users.
Coming in a wide-range of formats, accessibility could mean making sure the words you use on a one-pager are culturally appropriate and unoffensive. If a portion of your user base is non-native English-speaking people, it could mean having an alternative language option for your site. Accessibility could even mean ensuring your website is color-friendly for those who are unable to perceive differences between some colors. In fact, color blindness affects about five to eight percent of males (approximately 10.5 million), which could be larger portion of your user base than you think.
In short, accessibility is about meeting people where and how they are.
To enhance or find where your accessibility is lacking, or any other experience design needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.