Accessible design is about considering all a range of people, and every ability level. Accessibility takes into account visual, motor, hearing or cognitive disabilities, while also taking into account the needs of the elderly, those with a temporary disability, and the able-bodied. When a design is truly accessible, it can greatly improve the quality of life of the consumer.
Whether you are a business owner, web developer or marketer, it is important that you consider how people of all ability levels will interact with what you create. Here are some examples to learn from.
Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller
Microsoft recently celebrated its efforts towards inclusivity. In partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, The AbleGamers Charity, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged, Microsoft developed and tested an adaptive controller for Xbox. Easily customized with a number of control inputs, which are plugged into the rear of the product, this modified controller features two large pads that act as the A and B buttons and allow those who may not be able to utilize the standard controller to play alongside other gamers.
Microsoft’s adaptive controller is more than a mere piece of equipment. Accessible design allows kids and adults to be equal to their friends and online communities, fostering inclusivity and connection.
Moreover, Microsoft went one step further by creating an easy-to-open box with long pull-tabs for an accessible unboxing experience. By thinking deliberately about the design of both the product and it’s packaging, businesses have the opportunity to win the loyalty of deserving consumers.
One feature that has the potential to positively impact a large number of people is voice command or no-touch features. Products like Alexa have the ability to impact the daily lives of consumers with voice command technology, especially where they come equipped with customizable features for customers with accessibility needs related to vision, hearing, mobility and speech impairments.
For example, people who suffer from arthritis, dyslexia or visual impairment can seriously benefit from voice dictation; using tools such as these allows them to communicate with the rest of the world without relying on a keyboard. Voice commands are also hugely beneficial for individuals who have issues with dexterity and mobility.
One simple — and often overlooked — aspect of accessibility is your website’s design. If you run a website for your business, make sure your website meets online accessibility guidelines. Relying on difficult to read colors or fonts often makes your website inaccessible for those with visual impairments.
Fortunately, there is a free Web Accessibility tool where you can enter your URL and determine if your website complies with online accessibility guidelines and best practices.
Friendly Packaging Design
Consider that your product packaging may, in fact, be preventing a differently-abled consumer from opening and utilizing your product. While there are many strict child-resistant packaging requirements, this does not necessarily mean your packaging needs to require serious downward force or significant dexterity to open.
With careful planning, engineering and creativity, everyone has the capacity to create a product that is accessible to those who need it.