06 March 2019

Accessibility, a powerful design tool

When given the choice between an accessible bathroom or a non-accessible one, many people would pick the accessible one: there’s more space, it’s more comfortable, it’s a no-brainer. Digital products are the same. When given the choice, people naturally prefer what’s easier for them to use, to read, or to understand.

But designers tend to be reluctant to follow accessibility standards — the design practices that help people with visual, motor, auditory, cognitive, or other disabilities make the most of a digital product. Accessibility is a complicated subject, and sticking to those standards is often perceived as a creativity inhibitor.

But accessible design helps everyone. It improves experiences not just for people with disabilities, but for people in temporary situations where their usual way of interacting with your product won’t work — say, if they’re outside and can’t see their screen well or if their mouse runs out of battery and they can only use their keyboard. Accessibility is not a constraint: It is a design philosophy that encourages you to make better choices for your users, and helps you focus on what really matters. Simplicity will always be the most difficult target to reach in a design, and accessibility can be one of the best tools to get you there.Accessibility, a powerful design tool

From Hubert Florin, a designer at Slack. One of the best and comprehendible explanations and motivations for accessibility that I’ve ever seen. Accessibility is not a constraint, it’s a tool to reach simplicity. And simplicity is what’s best for everyone.