Link June 2017 Vol 26 Issue 3 - Page 16

contributions everyone has disability Accessible design isn’t just designing for a minority group who identify as having a permanent ongoing impairment. Accessibility is about designing for diverse user needs and it benefits everyone, because everyone has disability, writes Heidi Laidler. With the increased awareness the same all of the time. People’s something permanent or ongoing. needs are fluid – and among many Disability can be the result of things, they can vary depending illness, environment or an activity. on each person’s surroundings, activities or illnesses. A user may be able to perform a task or migraine. Disability = Vision perceive information in a certain impairment, as unable to look way in one context, but not be at a screen. able to in another. To illustrate this point, here are some examples: Situation: Using your mobile phone while in the sun at the around user experience, most newly- beach. Disability = Reduced colour developed products, apps and vision due to sun glare. websites undergo usability testing throughout the design process. Yet, Temporary state: Broken arm. Disability = Mobility impairment as must rely on only one arm. Temporary state: Ear infection. Disability = Reduced hearing or hearing loss. Situation: Making a phone call there is a significant limitation to while driving. Disability = Vision Designing for accessibility allows this testing, if it’s not done across a impairment as you must pay users to overcome these contextual diverse range of people. attention to your surroundings and and temporary limitations through cannot look at your phone. allowing them to interact with Generally, usability testing is Disability = Mobility impairment, as products, applications and websites conducted in a testing environment you must use both hands to drive in flexible ways. – usually a small, quiet space with and cannot touch your phone. chairs and maybe a desk. Each user is able to focus on performing the required tasks without contextual For helpful advice and information Situation: Using your phone while standing on a busy bus or train. on how to ensure that your online apps and digital communications variables – and in this environment, Disability = Mobility impairment, are accessible to people of all the needs of users are fixed. as one arm is required to hold on abilities, visit , to keep balance. an organisation dedicated to web and digital access for those with a However, outside of testing disability. environments, user needs are not And here are some examples of fixed, they’re not the same for temporary disabilities – which every person, they’re not the same serve to demonstrate that the term Heidi Laidler is a former User Experience in every context, and they’re not ‘disability’ doesn’t always refer to Designer with Media Access Australia. Send your letters and contributions to Link Editor, Inprint Design, 1B Laffer Drive, Bedford Park SA 5042 or email it to Please include your postal address (not for publication). Letters should be a maximum of 200 words and may be edited for brevity and clarity. 14 Temporary state: Light sensitive contributions By contributing a letter you authorise Link to publish it in the magazine or Letters may be edited for length and clarity. All published contributions earn the author a free copy of the magazine, containing the letter (or current subscribers may specify that they would prefer their free magazine as an extension of their current subscription), provided a postal address is included with the original letter. Your name, suburb and state will be published with your letter unless you specify otherwise.