Products that are accessible can bring people together, whereas those that are inaccessible can limit their independence, create frustration, confusion, and often exclude users.
By designing products with accessibility in mind, we can make the world a little easier to navigate for everyone.
However, building truly inclusive and accessible products requires careful consideration of the users needs. It's essential to make accessibility a key part of product strategy rather than an afterthought.
It is estimated that approximately one billion people worldwide, which accounts for 15% of the global population, live with some form of disability. Moreover, the purchasing power of working-age adults with disabilities is around $490 billion.
In this online panel discussion with experts in design and accessibility from Lego and Newgen KnowledgeWorks, we will be talking about the significance of accessibility in product design, the challenges that come with its incorrect implementation, and how product teams can create genuinely inclusive and accessible digital products and experiences.
Watch the replay on demand now:
Meet the panel
Divyen Sanganee, Digital Product Design Manager, LEGO Group
Divyen is a Digital Product Design Manager at the LEGO Group, working to build a design team that delivers high-quality, playful, and inclusive digital experiences to shoppers and colleagues.
Divyen's previous experience comes from retail and e-commerce, ranging from large corporates to start-ups.
Will Awad, Director of Digital Accessibility, Newgen Knowledgeworks
Will has background in the Academic Publishing information technology and publishing services industries and is a W3C member. He has in-depth skills and expertise in a number of different areas including, EPUB, XML, HTML, W3C Accessibility, WCAG and accessibility regulation.
Will works as an accessibility consultant for NewGen where he pioneered their digital accessibility division, expanding business development and securing contracts with publishing houses across various business sectors.
He advises on digital accessibility compliance per W3C/WCAG guidelines – and oversees access audits and remediation of digital documents (i.e., EPUBs and PDFs) ensuring they meet the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the European Accessibility Act (EAA).
Erin Weigel, Senior Product Design Manager, Deliveroo
Erin Weigel has led Design Systems & Accessibility previously at Booking.com and currently Deliveroo.
She believes that scaling good design means baking accessibility into every aspect of the product design and development process. Her experience running accessibility experiments at Booking.com provided her with quantifiable data that accessible UI is good for both people and for business.
Karl Randay, Head of Design, 383 Project
Karl is a specialist in Human Centred Design and creative strategy, with over 20 years of experience in interaction design, design psychology, creative direction and typography.
As Head of Design at 383, he leads the team in creating engaging, user-centred experiences through strategic planning & creative thinking across a broad range of different areas from service and product design to digital applications, print & physical installations.
[00:00:00] Hello, good morning. Welcome to Byte, the latest in our series of events, diving into Digital Products. I'm Karl Head of Design at 383 and Canvas conference, and I'll be your host this morning as we explore accessible design and what that means for you and your digital products and services. So, technology is continuing to grow and play an increasingly significant role in all of our lives.
So it's crucial to ensure that everybody, regardless of their abilities, can easily use the things that we're designing and making. Around 1 billion people, and that's 15% of the global population, are living with some form of disability. And by embracing accessible design through the product development process, we can better support all of our users.
So in this panel, we're gonna explore the importance of accessibility in product design, share insights and best practices, and discuss how we can work together to create more accessible products for everybody. So we've got a lovely panel of people here who are gonna bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table.
So I'm really excited to have them and have a bit of a natter and go through their expertise. So first up, we have Divyen with previous experience from retail and e-commerce ranging from large corporates startups. Divyen now works as a digital product design manager at Lego Group, working to create inclusive digital experiences for shoppers and colleagues.
Good morning Divyen and thank you for joining us today.
Hey, good morning. Happy to be here.
Awesome. Okay. We also have Will with us.
Will works as an accessibility consultant for Newgen, where he pioneered their digital accessibility division, advises on digital accessibility, compliance, and overseas access audits and remediation of digital documents.
Good morning Will. How are you today?
Morning. Thanks. All good. Good to be here today.
Awesome. Right, and fact, last but not least, we have Erin. Erin is a seasoned product design leader who knows how to create impactful user-centric products with a background in customer service and extensive experience at booking.com and Deliveroo, she specialises in conversion design and building experimentation cultures. How are you doing this morning, Erin?
Top notch. Couldn't be better. Thanks Karl.
Awesome, right, epic. So we're delighted to have you all today with us. We'd also love our audience to get involved in the discussion this morning as well.
So at the bottom of your screen, you'll see a little react button where you can share emoji responses to the things that we're wittering on about. There's also a questions tab on the right.
So if there's anything you'd like to ask any of us, please do drop your questions into the chat and upvote the things that you particularly like or you want to hear us ask at the end of the session, and we'll have some time to go through them.
There will not be a fire drill as well, so hopefully, everything will go smoothly. So with all of our housekeeping done, let's kick things off. Divyen, I'm gonna start with you.
So my first question is really, you know, what do you think are the fundamental elements of accessibility that should be considered in digital product design?
So, a really big wide question to get started. What, what are your thoughts there?
Yeah, huge, huge question. I think immediately what jumps to mind, especially if you are quite new to accessibility in your organisation, is the web content accessibility guidelines, WCAG, which I imagine a lot of people are probably familiar with.
You've probably read about them at the very least. But I think it's a great place to start. There's a wealth of resources available there. Go and have a read of that, get some understanding about it, get into the detail, and then maybe think about doing something like an accessibility audit.
So I've done a few of those in the past or products that I've worked on, product teams that I've worked on. They're hugely valuable just to get an expert opinion on how your product is doing and the space of accessibility.
I think once you've got some of those basics in place, then it's worth thinking a little bit more about things like assistive tech. So exactly how are people with disabilities interacting with your digital product experiences?
Chances are they're gonna be using things like screen readers, magnifiers, speech recognition software, speech input software. So how do your products actually work with all of those different types of assistive tech? What level of maturity would you rate your product at against all of those different types of assistive tech? And then also having a little bit of think about the different platforms, so, both web and native apps. And they'll have different accessibility requirements for each different way that they're supported.
On native apps, when you're dealing with ecosystems like Android and iOS, they'll have native, accessibility functionality built into those platforms. So how to utilise those to the greatest extent. And then I also think lastly, just it's worth thinking about how much empathy you're building as well.
So think about the last time that you spoke to someone with a disability about your product. When was the last time you did usability testing, with someone who has a disability of your product? And then maybe think about that on a maturity scale as well. How much empathy do you as a designer have, but how much empathy do your engineers have and your product managers and your stakeholders have with people with disabilities, and how could you look to increase that as well?
So yeah, a few different things to get us started in thinking about that.
Awesome. Thank you. Has anybody got anything they wanna add to that?
I've just been popping all kinds of links, hot links are dropping in the comments there. It's a great place to start. Like you said, you mentioned the WCA guidelines, but there's also equally great guidelines, specifically for iOS as well as Android, that I highly recommend that you take a look at
So I dropped them in the chat box.
Epic. Thanks, Erin. I think it can feel a little bit like an uphill struggle with the amount of things that are out. And even just reading the WCAG guidelines, there's a lot and I think it's the same as we do with our products, right?
Test and iterate. See what works for you. Start slow and just pay attention and ask questions. Right. So, awesome. Erin, I'm gonna move to you now.
How do you think accessible design contributes to the overall success of a digital product? And why should it be a priority for product designers and managers from the very start process?
Good design has such a profound impact on customer experience, which then ties into the actual business impact of good design. I really think it should be baked in from the beginning because accessibility for me is really just the other side of the usability coin, if that makes any sense. Like if you can't access it, then you can't use it.
So like it's really the ground, the base level of usability and good design. I truly believe that if your product is not accessible, then it's not a good product and it's also not designed well. So for me, accessibility is like literally the ground to create something that's good. So you can have something that's beautiful and looks fantastic, but if people can't use it, it's basically worthless.
So that's my general thought. Another thing that I've seen, because I love experimentation, I've always really thought about how do we measure the impact of the design changes that we make. And I've had the incredible experience of running a lot of different accessibility experiments, at a company called booking.com.
They do like hotel and accommodation booking, online bookings online. And we actually found when we ran experiments that were driven by accessibility, like again, making our product baseline good and easy for people, drove things like, An improvement in SEO, which reduced the cost of our marketing spend.
So for example, we had a machine learning team that worked on identifying and tagging and writing alt text for all of the images that properties would upload onto our platform. And having that robust content that allowed people using screen readers to consume that content, actually gave the company a really huge boost in organic SEO.
As well as other things like unblocking, you know, any conversion flows through keyboard usage. People that have impairments for their hand coordination. Motor, different types of motor impairments, fine motor impairments, just on blocking conversion flow is making sure that the tab order is correct.
It seems so basic and so simple, but when you have the ability to detect the business impact and an experiment, it really drives home. 'Just let people use your product.' Accessibility is the baseline. It's like the least you can offer people. So I hope that answers your question, if it does.
Yeah, hundred percent.
Is there anything else that anybody else wants to add to that?
I think, Erin is correct by talking about mobility issues. Because if you think in the old days, when you opened a restaurant or you had a hotel, you had to build a ramp for a wheelchair. And if you just think about digital accessibility in this age, it's just the same thing.
You need to make a door for these people to be able to access the site. Accessibility, visibility go hand in hand, when it comes to this.
Awesome. What you kind of mentioned towards the start there and as well, we resonate in terms of if we aren't considering access accessibility as part of that, user experience design process. It's not designed at all, right? We have a design principle which is 'design for failure'.
And imagine this thing that you're creating at its worst and all of the things like situational, ergonomic, even for able-bodied people, you could be sat on the train, you would get complicated tasks, you've got a small screen and like spotty WiFi.
Even in all of those able bodied situations, there are still restrictions and constraints for how this thing needs to operate. And it gets exponentially kind of more considerate when you really think about how you are designing accessibility on the top so it's really, really critical. So those are some really cool points there.
Yeah, I think, sorry, just to build on that, like you said, accessibility really impacts everybody at some point in their lives. I think what a lot of people misunderstand about the concept of accessibility is that there's so many different types of disabilities. There's permanent, there's temporary, there's situational.
So everybody at some time experiences an impairment of some kind, right? So you're really just not only helping people who have permanent, impairments, that are impaired by the environments or the products that we create, you're really also helping people, like you said, at the broad ends of the spectrums of maybe the situations that they're in are not ideal to enable them to use the thing at that moment.
Yeah. It's not a binary status, right? It's not like you have it or you don't. There are degrees and it affects us all at some point. So Yeah, for sure. Will, being at director level, how do you ensure accessibility is prioritised and given the right attention at the highest level within your organisation?
And once accessibility has been prioritised, what's some of the benefits that you see in your organisation can gain both in terms of the user experience, but also the business outcomes?
As Erin and Divyen mentioned, user experience is very important, but you have to have the whole business on board when you come about accessibility.
So you have to start from the top, the whole management, the leadership should actually commit to accessibility.
Because if you look at any business website, they say diversity, equality and inclusive, but also they should be accessible. And that comes from the top of any organisation and a lot of organisations, they're just waking up for accessibility now.
So they need to start building a team and training team within the organisation that will understand accessibility and what they need to do about it. And whether it's training, whether it's hiring people with some kind of disability also just to be able to test the product before it goes into the market.
That's very important, so it is the hierarchy, it's building a team, it's making it inclusive for everybody in the business. And also maybe hiring someone or talking to an expert in accessibility.
One of the things I realise nowadays is from talking to somebody who studied technology about 15 years ago, 20 years ago, accessibility wasn't that big, but they said, well, we don't know.
But now you have to look for people in this area, expertise, discuss it with them.
If you make your product or design, your content accessible to everyone, this way you increase your reach to this 20% of the people around the world that might have some kind of disability or hidden disability, because there's a lot of hidden disability that we don't see.
When I ask somebody 'What is disability?' They tell you, somebody who cannot see, needs braille or audio. But there's mobility, there's colour blindness, low vision. There's a lot of these kinds of things that we need to consider. So having a user experience, having a website for the accessible and content accessible can reach everyone.
So that 20% of the world that we didn't cater for before, will have access to this room, and it would increase the reputation of any business. Your reputation is very important, so if you have a good design and good product and it's accessible, that would increase your reputation in the marketplace.
Also, we don't have the reputation like we have in the US. You get sued every day if there's something not accessible. So by making sure you're compliant with the requirement of the work accessibility guideline and the national legislation, also you're protecting yourself from any legal action.
So this is something really important for you. And also the return on investment in the future would be good because you, this 20% that you never cater for, now you're getting business out of this 20%. Even if you gain 1% that is good for any business.
We all work for businesses that appreciate accessibility.
There might be people out there in the audience who maybe they've just joined a team or, or a business where it's not quite as prevalent. What recommendations might you have for that situation to kind of take it to the top of the business and get it on the table and discussed?
You know, accessibility is a journey.
You need to start by talking to people, by building this in, in the business. Hiring the right person in accessibility, or hiring a consultant from outside that will start the journey. We all suffered during the pandemic, but without the digital age, we would suffer more, and there was more increase for digital accessibility during the pandemic than we had before.
I realised that I have more requests during pandemic to advise and consult on accessibility and on digital content because people want to access it.
Cool. Okay. Thanks Will.
I hope that answers your question.
Yeah. Hundred percent. I like it. That was great. Anything anybody wants to add?
Yeah, I would just add to that, just trying to almost sell accessibility within the business. One of the things I've found to be quite helpful is to actually show leaders, show leadership in your organisation what the experience is like for someone, trying to use some of your digital products, and seeing them get stuck.
So I used to work for a company where you would place grocery orders and then you could go pick them up in-store. And just seeing someone trying to use voice recognition software to navigate to the checkout screen and place an order, right? You're basically saying that 15% of your addressable market can't place an order that suddenly perks up a lot of ears in the organisation.
So, just getting to some of the bottom line harder metrics can sometimes do it as well.
I would say, I always like to take the 'show, don't tell approach' to getting things to move forward. I would say just do it. If you're a designer, just make sure what you design is accessible.
Make sure that you're testing it, put the documentation in there so that way engineers know what they have to do to, to make sure that your design is accessible when they implement it. If you're an engineer, just write good code. You should know all of the accessibility features of the different platforms that you design for.
That's standard practice of being a good engineer is knowing that, and standard practice of being a good designer is just doing these things as how you work, right? Another thing is if you're a product person or if you're a business person, you have the ability to just, work it into your roadmaps, right?
Build it into your timelines, build it into your company values, if you have that kind of level of influence in your organisation. Divyen was also saying another thing that's really powerful is to make sure that, I know that at Deliveroo we recently started a thing in our user research that every time we do user research, we always make sure that we have representation in the user research.
So people with different types of impairments must be represented, at least one or two of them in a panel of six people ,that test a new feature. So that's also a really great way, to make sure that you're addressing the needs of everybody and providing the, the highest quality experience.
That's perfect. Thank you, Erin. Show don't tell is also something that I really try and champion inside the business. I think people are sick of me saying that, but I think it's so, it's so important. And again, it's great. Kind of finding that representation is so, so important. Divyen, I wanna come to you now.
How do you ensure that everyone involved in the process, including designers, product managers and developers are trained in the, the principles behind accessibility and, and what are some of the things that you can do to make sure baked into the standard approach?
Yeah, great question. I think, we're all on a learning journey and I'm by no means, I would say by no means an expert in accessibility and none of the close people that I work with either, we're very, very early on in that kind of learning journey. I think the easiest place to start is probably with online learning, right? There's a wealth of resources out there.
There are a bunch of different training courses. If you are a medium to large, large organisation, you probably have access to some kind of learning platform like LinkedIn Learning or something like that.
Just go on there and see if there are any kind of starter courses, and just just do some of those right, and, and just get a, get a feel for things. But I think like we kind of hinted, earlier, taking that kind of show, don't tell mantra, I'm very much a big fan of learning by doing so. Are there ways that you could all learn together?
Your designers, your product managers, your developers, is there a way you could even try and make that a bit more interactive or fun? So for example, at Lego recently, one of our, one, well, a bunch of our engineers ran something, called the AI Olympics. And it was basically a day where there were a bunch of different challenges related to accessibility.
And people would come in and try to do them.
So, for example, try and navigate our website while using gloves, try and navigate our website blindfolded. And it was just to kind of garner more of an interest in accessibility and how difficult it actually can be if you don't design accessible experiences.
And I think people leave those types of events, those types of activities with a greater appreciation for what some of the challenges are. And then that kind of permeates throughout the different teams and the different product squads that you have at your organisation. In terms of baking it in, I would say, try and figure out where everyone is on their learning journey.
So if you're in a product squad, try and figure out where your designers are at. Do they use Figma plugins as an example in the design? Do they check colour contrasts? Do they check things like focus order? To what extent do they document their designs?
Do the engineers have things built into the pipeline that automatically check for accessibility? If not, can we implement some of those things? What is your QA and testing process? Does that need to change? What kinds of things related to accessibility need to be baked into, into that?
And then you can just start incrementally chipping away at, changing your process to, to include more of accessibility. And then I would just say the last thing as well, if you're doing a lot of these things already and you're actually stuck at the point where you're trying to maybe talk to some people with some disabilities, I would always just try and start internally, right?
If you work at a company, just put a post out there and see if there are people that use assistive tech within your own organisation. And I probably bet that you get at least a couple of people who are willing to help out. So, always worth trying to do something like that and then you can kind of build that into your user research and user testing processes.
That's great. Thank you Divyen. Does anybody wanna add to that one?
Okay, I'm gonna move on now, Erin, we're all designers at heart when we're considering UX, how would you balance the idea of accessibility requirements with some of the other design considerations such as brand and UI?
Again, I still think it's all the same thing. If you have a good brand, it's accessible. One of the things that we're doing with Deliveroo right now is the teal, highly recognisable teal colour that we have for our logo is really not that accessible.
So what we're doing now is working on finding different ways of putting the logo on top of the brand colour to make it more visible.
You know, not only in the product, but also hopefully in the street, as well. I really feel like if the brand language is designed to be highly visible, highly eye-catching, and if it really stands for, if it represents visually what the company stands for internally in terms of values about, you know, valuing diversity and inclusion and all that kind of stuff, then it should be expressed through the product, the UI, the brand itself.
It's all connected, it's all the same thing. So if your brand is not accessible, that says something about, again, what the company actually values. If the UI is not accessible, again, that means the company doesn't value design, accessibility, and inclusion. I think it's all the same thing.
No. Agreed. I think we're championing the idea of, of challenge, right? As Divyen has already pointed out, if it's part of our baked-in process and as we're designing, we're using Figma plugins to discover these things. I think, early discovery and flagging them within an organisation, especially at, at the prime level, I think is, it's critical, right?
Yeah, one of the things, cuz I'm a design system nerd, everything I do is about how do you scale quality in the UI? How do you make sure that the brand can be expressed through the UI within the product? How do you scale that cohesion throughout? How do you repeat patterns so people don't have to constantly relearn things?
How do you create reusable code? And throughout that entire process of systems thinking, and designing tools and processes that people follow, and documentation that people read, it's accessibility is just baked into that. So even in our branding guidelines at Deliveroo, as we're working on, growing and getting better in this area, we have parts about how to use the brand in an accessible manner, both in, in person, in advertisement, as well as in the product itself.
Awesome. That's really good. Thank you.
Will, I've got a question for you now, regarding digital accessibility, when it comes to legal and ethical considerations that organisations should be aware of, what are some of the ways that they can ensure they're compliant with standards and guidelines while also continuously improving in these important areas?
Okay, that's a good question. And the first thing I would say is this. We have international standard guidelines for accessibility. Whether you are based in America, Australia, or Africa, in the Middle East or Europe, it's the same standards. So first you have to make sure that you check the standard and you make sure you follow them.
Secondly, we need to check your regional standards, your national regulations. Because at the moment, that's a question that I get asked a lot for the last few months is with the European Accessibility Act that's coming to force by June 2025, which mandates that if you have a product or service to the EU, that that product or service must be accessible.
Otherwise, you cannot use it even if you are not an entity within the EU. So imagine you're in the US, selling your e-book in in Germany and that book is not accessible.
You can't. So check your national legislation as well. You know, in the UK we have the Equality Act, and in the US they have the American Disability Act.
In Europe we have the Open Accessibility Act. In Canada, they have similar, different, but they all follow the same guideline, which is the web content and accessibility guideline, and it's worldwide. So everybody should double check this one to make sure that you're compliant.
Secondly, as Divyen mentioned earlier on, make sure that you have regular audits and assessment for your product, for your website that makes you, it's fully accessible and follows the guidelines.
The one thing I would say to anyone now, if you don't have a statement in your website, accessibility statement, just go and add one. It doesn't matter if your website accessible or not accessible, just do that first step because you know, tell everyone we are aware the website is not accessible.
You're doing something about it. If you see something and you need any help, please email us. Just make it simple. That's fine. Go ahead and do that.
I think just to add to that point actually, cuz it's super relevant, accessibility statements are so, so valuable I feel, and we've been talking recently at at Lego as well about having a contributory model from all of our product teams to an accessibility statement to say, we know that these specific things don't work and we're working on them.
Almost going to the level of detail of: on this specific page, we know that these specific links don't work right now.
And calling it out I think is really important.
I think one thing we were already discussing before we got on the call is even the platform that we're using here for this, for this live stream, we don't have automated captions. And I think putting that there saying, we recognise the thing isn't working, we're on it.
That's good. Erin, I think you had a point there?
Yeah, totally. So we talked a lot about laws and regulations, which is like the stick end of the carrot in the stick. But what's really interesting about laws and regulations is that there are first shifts in evolutions in the ethics of how people think and how society views, inclusion and disability and impairments and all that kind of stuff.
So one of the things that I would say is if you wanna be on the cutting edge, which you should want to, cuz it's super cool, look how cool we are, you should care about this stuff. It's awesome. Is there's so many awesome communities out there.
There's disability Twitter, there's threads on Reddit about people's lived experiences with different types of impairments or different types of brains - ADHD brains, autism brains - they're writing books. They're sharing their everyday experiences with us, which I think is such a huge gift.
So we should go out there and proactively, try to understand what it is to be like in these communities so that way we can build better products for them. So, like I said, laws follow ethics, care about ethics to be on the cutting edge of where things are going to go. That way you're never having to worry about the laws because that's punitive after you've already messed up.
If you care about people and you wanna know more about them and you wanna do a good job and you do a good job, you won't have to worry about the law.
I think it's easy to forget as well how long this stuff's been around and how hugely collaborative it is.
We were talking about the fact that these are global standards and I've been doing this now for 25 years. And I remember following Jeffrey Zelman and the work he was doing in WASP with all of that contributing stuff and the hugely collaborative factor of this stuff that these guidelines have got now and where it's come from.
I would like to add a point here about how long it's been, because if you look at the American Disability Act, it’s from 1990, so that is the act that they're currently using for the digital accessibility cases in the US so they haven't made a new act.
They're still using the same act, but we follow the web content and accessibility guideline because that act talks about accessibility, about disability and, why should we just create a new act just for digital accessibility?
We should use the same thing. So from the 1990s we have this information available.
If we follow that, then we will build the ethic, as Erin mentioned. We follow the ethic, the right guideline and the right path to deliver accessible content for everyone.
So this leads us nicely into the last question that I've got for you before we dive into the ones from the audience.
So we're talking a lot about a broad view of regulations and guidelines that should live across everything.
So this is an open question for everyone. So, dive in. We're obviously focused here on accessibility, but what about inclusivity? How does the process of design differ from considering human diversity beyond accessibility?
Who wants to take that first? That's a big one to end on. I'm sorry.
I can go first. So I think inclusivity is huge, right? I think in digital product design, Historically, we have been used to, at least, in the countries that I've worked in, which have been the UK, Canada, and mainly Europe, we're used to designing for experiences in products that mainly work in countries with good internet connections.
Countries with good transport infrastructure, and easy ways to send money to one another, and all these little things that we kind of take for granted a lot of the time. So it's worth thinking about a few of those things I feel.
What countries does your product operate in? How do users typically interact with digital experiences in those countries? What kind of internet speeds do they have?
And you need to change the type of language that you use on your products and make it more inclusive, because there might be something that's very specific, like a UK turn of phrase that you might use in your product that might not make sense when it's translated into a different country's language.
And then also thinking a little bit about, and this is a kind of big one for me, but, content and copy that is understood by all. Working at Lego, we design for children as well as adults.
And you have to find a balance between making things accessible to children and making things accessible to adults and that takes a lot of work. And, also just biases and trends that you might inherently bake into your design process as a designer. So like a good example of this is I'm going to a gig this weekend and I needed tickets transferred from my wife's uncle to me.
And he is slightly older. And the process by which to do this is to go into your ticket app, hit the share button. Put in my email address and then it will send me an email and I can download the app, put in my email address, and the ticket will be on my app.
Relatively easy, easy process for someone probably in this group to understand, but it took many phone calls, many screen sharing exercises to actually get that process done, which is probably not what the original designer of that flow intended.
So, I think there's a lot of things like that as well where you automatically assume that someone will just know how to use something like a share button, but it's possibly not that intuitive until you kind of do that.
Yeah. Context is relative, right?
Context is so relative. Exactly. And the last thing I would just say is just thinking about the entire service you're offering. So, I think from my experience, especially working in e-commerce there's the point which I normally work on, which is, selling the product and allowing someone to purchase it.
But then there's a whole thing that happens afterwards, which is actually getting the product. Is it gonna be shipped to you? Are you gonna pick it up from somewhere? And just thinking about the entire service and thinking about all the touch points that someone might have to say, go into a store or go to a pickup locker.
All those types of things. And how do those experiences in those touch points actually work as well? And are they inclusive to all?
Thank you Divyen. Anyone want to add anything? Erin?
Can I just say I love Lego? I don't know if y'all can see this up here, but this is one of those Lego, really my God.
Yeah, it's the rocket thingy. Yeah, you probably can't see the moon landing thing, but that's up there as well. It's like on this side, that's the moon rover.
One of the things I love about Lego is that, talking about how do you make it accessible for children at the same time as adults?
That little tool that you get with every Lego kit that helps you take pieces on and on and all that, that is like the most brilliant, perfect piece of inclusive design ever because it really talks about like fine motor skills and everybody at some point uses it.
But I think it's just an often overlooked brilliant thing that Lego has done from, it seems like since the beginning, that is like everybody uses, but you don't know that you need it until you see it in there and you're like, what is this thing? And then you're like, wow, it's so good.
I have so much Lego. I have like a tower of those things lying around.
They're, they're good. They're useful.
Awesome. Okay. We've got a couple of minutes left. So what I wanna try and do now is go through some of the audience questions cause we've got a good stack of them.
First one is from Ollie and his question is, what is the best example of accessible design you have ever seen and why?
Who wants to take that?
I would say, the UK government website, they have great accessible design. I visited the home office website recently and it's really amazing.
It has everything you need and it's improving every single day. They have the best design so far that I have seen.
Yeah, I think we were quite lucky many years ago, in an early version of Canvas conference, we had someone from the GS team come and talk.
And, it's surprising how long they've been doing that and pioneering accessibility. And you know, people, they don't think it's very sexy cuz it's not about visual design, but the amount of work that's gone into that and the stuff that it can do is just amazing.
I have one. Okay. I'm also simultaneously trying to find this on my LinkedIn page because it blew my mind.
I went to Singapore to talk at a conference, an iOS conference back in, I think May. And I was just walking through the airport, in Singapore and I was just like, 'Ooh, I better go to the bathroom, to refill my coffee cup.'
I went to find a bathroom and this was the most wonderfully designed bathroom I have ever seen in my entire life.
It was so inclusive. And here's why. There are small details, and I have written a LinkedIn post about it actually as well. You walk in, there's no door. They have those little zigzag paths, so there's nothing to inhibit your entry.
The entryways were wide enough that people in wheelchairs or different types of mobility devices could go in and out easily without having to open or close anything. When you got in there, they had a selection of different kinds of sinks. They had a short one for little people like children or people, you know, who were smaller in stature.
They had just normal standard height sinks for people. They had paper towels for people that might have auditory or sensory issues that hate hand dryers. My daughter hates the sound of hand dryers, so I'm always so pleased when I see that you have the less climate friendly option of having paper towels.
And then I had my little coffee cup there that I was getting ready to wash out and bring on the plane with me. And then I was looking around, I was like, 'I gotta check out the rest of this thing.'
So I opened the door to one of the stalls and they had a baby seat in one of them where you could flip it down and put your toddler to sit in.
And anybody who has a child or has ever looked after a child? Yes! You know how painful it is. What do you do with your child? What do you do with your luggage when you're travelling with them in an airport? You just plop them in that little seat. Just drop 'em in. They're safe.
It's perfect. They also had a place where you could put your keys, your coffee cup, your phone, cause that's yucky, you're in a toilet. You don't wanna have that stuff picked up with all the stuff. Then they also had squatting toilets, regular sitting toilets and accessible toilet, and it blew my ever-loving mind.
So that is my favourite bathroom on the face of the planet that I'm aware of thus far. It is in the Singapore Airport. If anybody knows the designer there, tell them that I love them and that their attention to detail has not gone unnoticed.
I mean, Singapore airport is like going into the future, to be perfectly honest.
It's pretty impressive. It's so good. I posted about it on my LinkedIn. I'll see if I can find it.
Yeah, that'd be good. Actually. We'll share a load of links after this session. Cause I think there's so many resources that we can dig through.
And next question, I'm gonna pick on Divyen for this one.
Do you have any tips for ensuring that accessibility standards do not limit creativity when designing products?
That's a big theme, right? I think there's an inherent assumption that by baking in accessibility standards, you're somehow going to have a worse experience or something that's not going to be as interactive or is going to inhibit your interaction, design-ability, your emotional design-ability.
I think it's all worth probably relishing the challenge of how you can do that. I was gonna think about an example here. But if you think about some of the most complicated systems in the world, I would say one of them is probably transport networks and TFL in London and probably transport networks globally have done an amazing job at being, accessible, inclusive, but also still having a brand and experiences that work really well.
So it's an iconic brand. Everyone knows it, everyone recognises the shapes, the logos, the colours, the map, the colours of the lines. But at the same time, you can look at a map and you can see, as someone who uses a wheelchair, this is how I can get from A to B with step free access. It's very easy to request someone to be on the platform to help you on and off.
And those are probably all requirements at some point that a designer saw it and said, 'oh no, I need to, I need to figure out how this map is gonna incorporate step free access.'
But they managed to solve it. And I think it's worth thinking about it in the same ways, kind of thinking about it as a challenge that you relish to solve rather than something that's gonna get in the way.
I think it was just last week I saw somebody tweet something about the accessible design for the Elizabeth line, and it's one of the most recent additions to TFL, but they've really pushed it out. And it's just so dramatically different too.
A lot of the legacy stuff is inherited over the various centuries. But it's impressive to see.
I think we've got time just for one more question. So Stephanie has asked, and this is a good one, are there any networks or resources you can recommend that would help us reach groups of people with accessibility needs for things like user testing and research?
So again, we've already talked this morning about the idea of involving people, various different levels of ability, internally that can be a really easy way of trying to access people that meet those sorts of requirements. But where else would you go?
What would you recommend?
I'm happy to share some links, but because I concentrate more on the content side of things, and not the website development, it would be more about how to make sure your content is fully accessible.
Whether it's your PDF document, whether it's a Word document or spreadsheet, or it is your edoc that you're gonna put there, the tools that you can use, and some links for webinars and, that would be useful as well.
Awesome. That would be useful. Thank you. Anybody else got any other thoughts? Erin?
So I think depending on what your industry is and what kind of product you have, you can do your own like gorilla research to find, the people that have different impairments or different experience, lived experiences, like on those platforms, like I've already said, Reddit, internet, they're on the internet.
They're talking about your product. So just go and find where they are. When I worked at booking.com, we also specifically reached out to different organisations that were spearheading, like making things more accessible and travel.
There was a really great company called Wheel the World that we ended up collaborating with as well, all about making the world a more friendly travel experience for people, for wheelchair users, or people with limited types of gross motor skills, or mobility.
As well as there's an app called Be My Eyes as well, so people that are out in the world, you can actually help them. They'll say, hey, what did the signs say?
So there's all sorts of really great tools out there that you can figure out. How can you partner with people that either run these platforms or programmes?
And I believe, and you can tell me if I'm wrong, if anybody knows the answer, but I'm pretty sure that on like usertesting.com or some of these remote testing platforms, you're able to filter or specifically request testing for different types of impairment so you can kind of select the market or the target user that you're trying to find.
So I think if they self-identify or self-select as having a certain type of identifying with a certain type of disability, you can actually select and say, I need to see it from this person's perspective. And it's really wonderful because people get paid then as well too for the service that they're actually providing us.
To tell us what their lived experience is, that's a compensation for their time and effort is also a really important thing. And I like to read, I like to watch videos as well. So there are a lot of people that write books about their lived experiences that are really interesting and also YouTube channels.
There's tons of resources out there, but those are some internet things that I like to do.
Thank you. What we'll do after these sessions, we're gonna share all the links that we can extract from everybody in the panel. We've got a stack as well of some of these resources.
There's so much stuff out there.
So that brings us to the end of our panel today. Unfortunately, we've run out of time.
I think this is another one of those subjects, where we could just witter on for hours about it, cuz it's just so important. It's really fascinating. Really, really deep as well.
Anybody out there in the audience has got any more questions that they really want answered by the panel or anything else that they really want to dig into with us as well, then please reach out to any of us. Find us on Twitter or LinkedIn, you're very welcome to ask us questions and pick up this subject, offline.
I think it's a brilliant one to really chat about more. So unfortunately that brings us to the end of our panel today.
I really wanna say a massive thank you to Divyen, Will and Erin for taking time out of the day to chat to me this morning. And also to our audience for joining us and submitting your questions.
I hope you've enjoyed watching this session as much as I've enjoyed hosting it. Lookout for the replay in your inbox, later on today, our next Byte event will be coming up in August.
Finally you can also catch up on past Byte events, hear more about our upcoming cameras conference and lots more digital product thinking from the 383 and Canvas blogs at 383project.com and canvasconference.co.uk.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of you your day and I'll see you at the next Byte. Thank you very much. Take care. Thank you!
Useful links from the chat:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines:
Apple Development Documentation:
Canvas Conference What3Words Keynote: