Accessibility and Design: UX Crunch Manchester

Accessibility and Design UX Crunch Manchester

Is Accessibility important? Is it worth the investment? Accessibility was the topic for our speakers from the BBC, Anaplan and AbilityNet at UX Crunch Manchester. Why is it important? Because accessible users make up a much bigger proportion of your users than you think and only 3 in 10 websites are accessible (there’s an opportunity for you right there!).

Accessibility is not just disabilities. It can include older people, people who wear glasses, eye conditions, dyslexia, reading and writing difficulties, and lots more.

Key Takeaways

Here are key takeaways that our speakers recommend to make your User Experiences more accessible and inclusive:

BBC (Emma Pratt Richens)

Colour accessibility

– Put people first

– Use familiarity

– Give control

– Offer choice

– Add value


AbilityNet (Abi James)

How would your users feel?

– Create an accessible colour palette and pattern library

– Include accessibility in your requirements for interactive elements

– Consider now discoverability and affordances will be experienced through different modes and senses

– Include disabled people in your user research (if you need user research, get in touch with @keepitusable)

– Ensure projects set clear responsibilities and expectations for accessibility as well as champions


Anaplan (Mark Boyes-Smith)

Personas accessibility considerations for your users

– Identify ways you can brig accessibility discussions in line with UX

– Get to know your users, their impairments, their environments

– Build personas so that everyone can understand your users

– Create a single source of truth for colour palettes, typography, layouts, interaction states and affordance patters.

Keep It Usable would also add:

Keep It Usable - sponsors of UX Crunch Manchester

– Include accessible users in the design-research process so you walk in their shoes

– Test your designs in the user’s environment (at-home ethnographic user testing is your friend for this)

– Test your designs with the user’s own technology rather than using a lab with an unfamiliar setup

– If you don’t have any budget to test with users use tools that are openly available (screen readers, Sketch plug-in, impairment glasses, etc)

Try out these challenges!

It’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day tomorrow (Thursday 16th May), so here are a couple of challenges for you:

– Use your website with only your keyboard. Can you do it? 

– Imagine you have poor eyesight and zoom into your website. How does it look? Can you still use it?

– Try out a screen reader on your site. What is the experience like?

Lisa’s BBC Radio Appearance

bbc radio manchester

If you were up early this morning and listening to BBC Radio Manchester, you’ll have heard Lisa Duddington of Keep It Usable chatting with Allan Beswick.

Lisa was invited to appear on Allan’s show following her recent success at being shortlisted for 2 women in business awards, the award ceremony of which will be held next week.

The topic of focus for the interview was today’s news as well of course as some discussion of usability, research, tech and women in business.

Allan told Lisa of his own frustrations with websites:
“If I had control of the world… I would require all websites to operate the same way, because when you’re looking for something, looking for a product or a service or whatever, you go to one website, you’ve got to spend ten minutes, quarter of an hour trying to navigate it, you go to another one – it’s entirely different! What’s the point of that?…So many of them are counterintuitive”.
Lisa and Allan also discussed the importance of research, prototyping and usability in a world where you don’t get second chances with customers:
“Lisa: A lot of companies underestimate the amount of research and testing and prototyping that you need to do on anything, be it a hard product or a website or an iPhone app. You really do just need to spend quite a bit of time testing it and researching it with real people, people like yourself, to make sure that it is easy to use and it is going to be a success and that it does meet people’s needs and their wants… What we would do is we would go in and do the research for them so as opposed to just launching something and hoping people like it. We would do research beforehand to make sure that they do like it before you spend all that money on launching a product.

Allan: Because a customer driven away is a customer that never comes back…

Lisa: Exactly! And not only do they not come back but they tell thousands of people on social media not to come back.”
If you missed the show, you can still listen to Allan and Lisa on BBC Radio Manchester’s Allan Beswick show. Just fast forward to 44:30 and 1:17:35 to hear Lisa’s parts.

BBC Home Page User Research and Redesign Slides

We recently took part in the BBC Connected Studios event to work on future home page design concepts.

As a User Experience (UX) and Usability agency, it won’t surprise you to know the first thing we did was to conduct user research. This enabled us to understand how people actually use the BBC home page at the moment, uncover their existing behaviours and context of use. We then used this information to inform our concept ideas for future BBC home page iterations. Once we had created wireframe concepts, we discussed these with a separate group of users in an audience focus group held at the BBC Media City office.

Below is an overview of our user research findings and concept design ideas.

BBC Home Page User Research by Keepitusable