Introducing AccessibleUX.org

Welcome to AccessibleUX.org, a community of practice joining accessibility and user experience.

Why accessible UX?

Our focus is on people with disabilities and doing what we can to create successful digital experiences for as many people as possible regardless of disability.

The benefits of accessible UX design are felt more widely—people using mobile devices, people who experience situational impairments (for example due to a noisy environments or stress), people who have limited literacy in the language of the site or application, people using low-bandwidth connections.

A successful experience is ultimately what people with disabilities need and want, just like everyone else. Task completion, goal achievement—this goes beyond accessibility as an exercise in technical compliance (not that that isn’t a valuable goal to support accessible UX design).

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reminds us that information and communication technology has enormous potential to reduce the social and economic exclusion experienced by people with disabilities around the world, and allow them to participate more fully in society. All of us who work with digital resources have an opportunity—and the capability—to improve inclusion. But we also have the opportunity to increase exclusion, if we’re not careful.

Why the need for a community of practice?

For a long time, there has been an advocacy movement of people who are passionate about improving digital accessibility for people with disabilities. Thanks to their efforts, there are many resources out there to help spread the word and support efforts: guidelines, standards, web resources, books, social networks, evaluation tools, code libraries; there are organisations providing dedicated advice and support in digital accessibility. Many organisations have made significant steps towards improving accessibility…yet progress towards removing barriers to better experiences for people with disabilities is still frustratingly slow.

We believe that one thing we can do to improve progress is to recognise the need to widen responsibility for accessibility, to make it a shared concern and sustainable effort across organisations who create, procure and provide digital experiences. This includes stakeholder groups such as executives, project and product managers, procurement teams, designers, developers, quality assurance testers, content managers…anyone who has responsibility for affecting the organisation’s digital environment.

Some of these stakeholder groups may be unaware, or unconvinced about their role in assuring accessible UX, or may have an incomplete understanding of what’s needed. So, this community of practice is intended to help accessible UX advocates spread the load by connecting them with others in a similar situation, and to help influence change in organisations they work for, or with.

What are the plans for the site?

The site is a community effort, and while it was set up by three colleagues—Sarah Horton, David Sloan and Henny Swan, it isn’t owned by any one person or group.

We see this site as becoming a place to support people and organisations apply the principles expressed in the Manifesto for Accessible UX. We’ll gather and share resources, case studies, critiques…anything that can help support greater awareness and activity in accessible UX design. If you’d like to contribute, we’d love to hear from you. Add comments to content here, send your suggestions to accessible@gmail.com or connect on Twitter: @accessibleux .

Come and get involved!