Designer Role Specific Information
According to the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), the Designer should:
- Ensure needs for low-vision and colorblind users and users with cognitive issues are included in visual elements.
The IAAP uses a narrow role description focused on visual design. Please refer to the User Experience (UX) page and the Marketing (and content authoring) page for more design-related information.
A style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents.
Mobile Accessibility Guidelines
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) mobile accessibility guidelines are available on the web. The BBC describes their standards as “a set of technology agnostic best practices for mobile web content, hybrid and native apps”.
I am particularly fond of the summary which categorizes the guidelines into audio & video, editorial, focus, and so forth.
Designing with Accessibility in Mind
It’s never too early to discuss accessibility issues. Here are a variety of articles regarding design and wireframing from an accessibility perspective.
- Dos and Don’ts on designing for accessibility, by Karwai Pun. (2016, September 2; Gov.UK) The United Kingdom (UK) Government Digital Service put together these posters to explain how to cater to users with: low vision, deaf or hard of hearing, dyslexia, motor disabilities, users on the autistic spectrum, and users of screen readers.
- Start with accessibility. (2014; W3C.) The W3C’s Education and Outreach Working Group put together this wiki that explains how to include a11y at all stages of your web design projects.
- Early prevention of accessibility issues, by Aidan Tierney. (2016, October 29; SlideShare.) Covers how a11y annotations can be made on wireframes.
- Designing wireframes keeping accessibility guidelines in mind. (2013, July 1; UX Stack Exchange.) Scroll down to read the responses from Henny Swan (a leading accessibility expert) and Matt Obee.
- Five things UX and visual designers can do to get started with accessibility, by Caitlin Geier. (2016, May 10; Deque.) #1 is specify heading levels, #2 write alt text, #3 design skip links, #4 choose fonts wisely, #5 check your color contrast.
- Creating wireframes (PDF, 7 pages). (date unknown; usability.gov) These are the Federal government’s guidelines for wireframes. Note the extensive use of annotations.
- Wireframing – the perfectionist’s guide, by Edric Lapniramai. (2016, November 22; Smashing Magazine.) Not specific to a11y, but contains a lot of good general advice about wireframing.
- Accessibility originates with UX: A BBC iPlayer case study, by Henny Swan. (2015, February 23; Smashing Magazine.) Henny Swan is a leading accessibility expert and this article describes how she re-designed a video player to be more accessible.
- Designing and Testing Mobile Apps — note slide #17, “Alt Text: written for all images” and “Title attributes: written for images that prompt the user to action”
- Designing for inclusivity: how and why to get started, by Allison Shaw. (2018, April 30; invision blog.) Advice on how to design for clarity, invisibility, and color.
- Low-Contrast Text is Not the Answer, by Katie Sherwin. (2018 June 7.) Nielsen Norman Group. Low-contrast text may be trendy, but it is also illegible, undiscoverable, and inaccessible. Instead, consider more usable alternatives.
- Stop Designing for Only 85% of Users: Nailing Accessibility in Design, by Tom Graham and Andre Goncalves. (2017 October 23.) Smashing Magazine. Poor visual design can be a barrier to a good user experience. Whereas disability advocacy has long focused on ways to help the user adapt to the situation, we have reached a point where users expect products to be optimized for a broad range of needs.
Brad Frost created atomic design as “a methodology for creating design systems.” As he puts it, “interfaces are made up of smaller components. This means we can break entire interfaces down into fundamental building blocks and work up from there. That’s the basic gist of atomic design.”
This doesn’t directly relate to accessibility but it’s still good information.