Zooming in on accessibility
Interacting with digital solutions is not a cakewalk for everyone. Meet Pernille in this real-life interview where we talk about what her functional impairment means for her digital engagement.
Real insights on accessibility
Functional impairment can occur from birth or at any given age during our lives. And we’re living longer. According to Danmarks Statistik the age group 80 and above will grow with 59% (up from 57% as spoken in the video series) before we reach the year 2030. That also means there’s a greater likelihood that many of us will experience some kind of disability or functional impairment at some point in our lives.
A functional impairment can have many different characteristics, and is not only limited to the well-known “blindness” or “cerebral palsy”.
Today, you get to meet Pernille whose central vision has been gradually blurring since she was born - a functional impairment the majority of us would not notice unless articulated by her. Watch her explain what it’s like for her to make way in a world where we are increasingly using digital screens for all daily purposes, and what that means for the way she interacts with screens. We also discuss the general level of accessibility in today’s digital solutions.
In reality, are we getting better or worse at creating digital design and user experiences that accommodates people with functional impairments? Cathrine Tavs Andersen, Senior UX Designer at Adapt conducts this interview to learn more.
Working with accessibility and inclusive design is something that’s close to our heart and it’s an area we keep exploring and work with in practice when we design and develop digital solutions for the future. This piece is a testament to how important that work really is.
Don’t forget to visit the key takeaways section further below for some valuable tips.
We have created a condensed version of the video series which sum up the key takeaways so even you with limited time at your disposal have a chance to retrieve something valuable from this. For the full version, keep scrolling down.
Part 1: Living with an eyesight impairment in today’s digital world
In the first part of three in this video series you get Pernille’s background story and insights into what her eyesight impairment means for her everyday life that’s becoming increasingly rooted in digital interaction for the majority of us.
Part 2: Interacting with screens
Has the usage of and engagement with screens changed as Pernille’s eyesight has gradually gotten worse? Find out in the second part of the video series.
Part 3: The level of accessibility in digital products we design
In the third and last part of the video series, we discuss the level of accessibility in today’s digital products and in what areas we can improve in designing digital solutions and future user experiences that are more accessible for everyone.
Key takeaways and areas for improvement
When you design an app, website or other digital solution remember to include a zoom feature.
Text enlargement will make the reading experience better and more readable for visually impaired.
Make sure the user experience still makes sense and the user’s overview remains coherent when the two above features are available to the user.
Audio is an underrated, but quite valuable feature for functionally impaired, however, don’t forget to add subtitles for hearing impairments.
Your phone itself, whether Android or iPhone, has accessibility settings which can improve the experience of your native phone apps, but not necessarily third party apps. Don’t forget to enable them when you’re developing solutions.
Accessibility is important for several types of users; the intended users, naturally, but also backend users, and administrators or editors of content.
Remember to include functionally impaired when you’re conducting user tests on a digital solution.
WCAG compliance by 2025 for the private sector
In EU today, there are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) established to make web and app content more accessible to people with disabilities and in reality, everyone. In Denmark, public organizations have already been met with certain demands to WCAG compliance, but by 2025 a wide range of private companies will also meet the same fate. We find this promising, as this will undoubtely help spread the importance of the topic and allow us to work more with accessible designs in the future.
The newest version, WCAG 2.1, consists of four key principles for accessible design, sometimes referred to by the acronym POUR. These are:
Perceivable: can a user sense the web content in question?
Operable: can a user navigate, input data, or otherwise interact with the web content?
Understandable: can a user process and comprehend the web content presented to them?
Robust: is the web content available in the intended way across a suitably wide range of browsing environments, including legacy and emerging browsing environments?
These principles are valuable to follow if you're considering accessibility features for your future solution. We have applied these principles in our work with The Royal Danish Theatre as well as the Finnish Opera. Right now, we are actually working on accessibility features on the Andel Energi app, as we, based on review, have found improvement areas that will make the app more accessible for everyone. Please don't hesitate to reach our if you have questions or would like to discuss accessibility for your digital solution.
There's enough insights on accessibility to keep you hanging around for a bit. Have a look at this